Car hire is a fantastic option for exploring the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand but it can be pricey. You have to shop around and, with this simple tips, you can slash hundreds of dollars off the cost of your next car hire. Give them a try!
1. Book from Overseas Websites
If you’re booking a car hire it’s often much cheaper to book it from an overseas website rather than using one in country. I find the UK-based companies return the best results. Use a comparison site to search for cheap car hire across multiple car hire companies. Or search the .co.uk version of the international company you want to book with. We saved over $800 on our three week car hire in the US when we took a road trip around the South Western states by booking with the .co.uk version of the Dollar website instead of the .com version.
2. Don’t Rent a GPS
Depending on how long your trip is, it could actually be cheaper to buy a GPS unit than to rent one along with the car. We purchased a new GPS off Amazon while in the US for $80 and saved $10 on what it would have cost to rent a unit for the duration of our trip…. plus we got to keep the GPS. Alternatively, buy a local sim with data and use your smartphone.
3. Bring Your Own Car Seats
Hiring car seats through rental companies can be really pricey and cost up to $12 a day per car seat. If you’re not travelling long term or backpacking around, just bring your own car seat. For more tips on taking a road trip with kids check out this post.
4. Book Small
Book the smallest, cheapest car you think you can manage with and then ask for a free upgrade when you pick up. Nine times out of ten you’ll be able to talk your way into an upgrade. Quite often car hire companies rent cars they don’t actually have on premises that day so you’ll end up with a better car than you paid for.
5. Look for Coupons
Always Google for a coupon before you book anything online! Car hire is no exception. You might get 10-15% off across the rental or save a day on a week long rental. It literally pays to check.
6. Don’t Hire Straight from the Airport
Huge surcharges are applied to companies that have an in-airport kiosk and parking. You can save a tonne by going through a company that is based near, but not in, the airport. We did this recently in Australia. Prices from Brisbane airport were astronomical and we saved a over $250 by using an off-airport company. Sure it take a little longer as you have to shuttle to their premises but the savings are worth it. The company we used in Brisbane charged less than half what the standard companies charged for additional items like GPS and car seats. Big savings all around!