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question re. renting a car


Kevin Slater
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So I'm looking to rent a car for an upcoming five day trip. On expedia and the like, if I look for May 10 to 15, it quotes me the weekly rate of $300, twice as much as two separate rentals (from the same rental company and location) for May 10 to 14 ($126) and May 14 to 15 ($39). It's not like I'm going to drive the car back and go thru the hassle or returning and checking back out, but what gives?

 

Kevin Slater

NYC (Times Square)

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I've observed rental car rates fluctuate wildly from the same company/same dates so, if it's more than a couple of weeks out, I make a reservation with the cheapest rate I can find on several sites and re-check every few days and rebook a new reservation if a lower rate pops up... right up to the moment I step off the airplane in my destination city. (I like Skyscanner and Google travel). Sometimes the best rate I've gotten has been 2 months out and sometimes 2 hours. I assume it's pure projected supply and demand. Setting an alert on a couple of sites like Kayak helps but can feel spammy.

Checking nearby cities can pay off... like PBI/FLL/MIA in South Fla.

On the downside I've begun seeing 'non-refundable' car rental reservations pop up (as with hotels).

it's coming.

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Pricing is like airlines and hotels. Hard to figure out. Pays to shop. There was one time I rented a car, I only expected to need it for a week, but circumstances changed, and I needed to stay an additional week. Hertz (go figure) had the best rate on the initial rental, more than Avis, but when I called to extend another week, almost double the price. Called Avis, got the next week for less than the Hertz's initial price. Well worth the time to drive back to the airport, return the car, walk over the Avis counter, and get in their car. I'll bet, if you check at different times, you'll get different rates.

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I've seen incredibly cheaper rates if I set the actual pick-up time for, say, after noon or so on a Friday (if I can manage that pick-up time).....weekend rates start about then and are often less expensive in business-oriented locations.....need to play around with the times......

 

and you may realize already that the rate will default to the weekly rate even at five days because of the cheaper weekly rate vs. 5 x daily.....

 

like airlines and hotels, car rental rates are an utter mystery

.

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Pronouns: me, me, me

 

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Try going direct to the rental car company... not through third parties like expedia.

 

Search online for coupons. Explore your memberships. I get offers from AAA, and from my credit card carriers.

I wonder what conclusions will be drawn by 22nd Century anthropologists and social scientists who study early 21st Century social media.

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Like hotels and airlines, car hire company rates are impenetrable. Decide the band of what you are prepared to pay, if you find a rate at the bottom of your range, buy it, if it's at the top of your range consider buying or waiting for a better deal. Once you have bought, only look at the rates to assess whether you made the right decision for future reference, DON'T worry about the decision itself. You won't outsmart their algorithms, accept the decision you made. I've tracked airfares for a trip I was planning to take and seen the fares track above and below what I eventually paid. I curse that I missed the best rate but never regret not taking it. Life is too short.

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I normally go on carrentals.com and see the prices for various companies. If say Avis has the best deal then I will go to Avis website to try to book for better price or just to book direct. Whether it be hotel or car rental better to book direct but use third party more to do a search. There is fine print in third party sites that a hotel can cancel your reservation without notice.

 

Also, the time of pick up matters greatly. Add 1 hour and you may find the price change. When. I went to Boston I needed a car around 6am. I put in 7 am and my rental for the week was $100 more than putting 6am. My guess is 7am starts the peak pick up time. Off peak pick up hours seems to matter.

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I’m aware of some instances where foreign visitors have gotten some very good rates.

Car rental booked overseas, from an overseas IP address, and paid for in foreign currency.

 

Don’t forget the “add-on’s”. Especially insurance. Check to see if your credit card might cover some of them.

 

And a week rate might actually be cheaper than a 5 day rate.

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If you’re a Costco member, use their travel site. The US fees are amazingly low. I’ve had a full-sized car in OC, for example, for $89/week all-in.

 

Most premium cards, like Amex Platinum, offer comprehensive coverage. In Europe, you usually need to get the insurance. I just saw an Audi A3 on Europcar in Austria for $100 for 4 full days with all insurance only $65 more.

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I’m aware of some instances where foreign visitors have gotten some very good rates.

Car rental booked overseas, from an overseas IP address, and paid for in foreign currency.

 

Don’t forget the “add-on’s”. Especially insurance. Check to see if your credit card might cover some of them.

 

And a week rate might actually be cheaper than a 5 day rate.

Yep, in Rome I upgraded to a Jag at the Hertz counter for an extra 10 EUR/day.

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I've had good luck with: https://www.carrentals.com/ . Beware of upgrades, and if the person on the counter wants to put you in a different car class, decline; sometimes that means they don't have the one you requested, so they'll bump you at no additional cost if you've declined the 'offer'. Bring your car insurance verification with you as well.

Edited by Kufrol
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where r u renting from? Be careful and watch the address, like in Ft Lauderdale airport, cheaper rates pop up , but they are offsite airport, so u have to take extra shuttle to get to the car rental location, Also if someone else is going to be driving with you Join Alamo insider,it free and then extra driver over 25 is free , I check Kayak, for rates, but the book direct with the company

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where r u renting from? Be careful and watch the address, like in Ft Lauderdale airport, cheaper rates pop up , but they are offsite airport, so u have to take extra shuttle to get to the car rental location, Also if someone else is going to be driving with you Join Alamo insider,it free and then extra driver over 25 is free , I check Kayak, for rates, but the book direct with the company

Yes! I was burned once renting at MIA from what turned out to be a place several miles away - I was stupid and didn’t check the pickup location. Once they got me there it turned into a fiasco of delays and upsells and I couldn’t easily walk away. It’s very much worth it there to drive out of the deck at the rental center.

it's coming.

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Yes! I was burned once renting at MIA from what turned out to be a place several miles away - I was stupid and didn’t check the pickup location. Once they got me there it turned into a fiasco of delays and upsells and I couldn’t easily walk away. It’s very much worth it there to drive out of the deck at the rental center.

 

I had trouble with a Florida rental once. I think it was at Miami. But it might have been Fort Lauderdale. It was not a name brand place. The flight ended up being delayed for like three hours. I didn’t get to the car rental place until around midnight. I think they were open 24 hours a day. I had put down my flight number. I figured they would know the flight was delayed. Instead when I got there, they thought I wasn’t going to show up I was so late.

 

Gman

Gman

 

In brightest day, in blackest night, No evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil's might, Beware my power, The Great Gazoo is always right!!!!

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I agree that memberships and special offers can save you a lot of money. I find that BJ's wholesale club's travel portal saves me a lot on car rentals. They have lots of special coupons and things in addition to their special rates. Costco should have similar offers. AAA also has coupons. I used to find the best deals using the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal that's linked to one of my credit cards, but their rates aren't as good as they used to be.

 

I just paid $180 for a week renting at Tampa airport using Hertz. Joining the car company frequent renter programs can be useful too. I was able to skip the line and go right to my car. You can skip all of the insurance and add-on hard sell that way.

 

Another way to save money is to use a location that is not located at or near the airport. That way you don't have to pay all of the airport-related fees that municipalities charge tourists. You'd just need to factor in cab or Lyft fares to and from.

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