Car rental is a common part of a lot of our travel plans. It gives us the freedom and convenience to go wherever we choose and can offset expensive taxi fares and other transportation costs. Even when picking up from airport locations, which add a premium location fee, car rental costs over a week can be extremely cost-effective and lower than one may think. But, there are ways to ensure you get the best deal thanks to a common quirk in the booking process with most major car rental companies.
CAR RENTAL BOOKING TRICKS
When it comes time to book your car rental, book as far in advance as possible. But do not pre-pay for a restrictive rate. Most car rental companies allow booking to be made in advance with a pay on arrival option and no credit card required to secure your booking. Having something booked will give you the security of at least having a guaranteed booking whilst you use this trick I am about to share with you.
Car rental companies, like airlines and hotels run on inventory. As time progresses, prices generally come down as they do not want idle inventory which doesn’t produce revenue. Obviously in this case, a vehicle is the inventory.
So, what is this trick you may ask? Simple. As you have the piece of mind of a secured booking, it is time to do some more shopping around. As your pick up day approaches, keep looking! If you find a better price, simply cancel your previous booking and book the new one. As the car rental company does not have any credit card details, there is no cost involved in cancellation with no way to recover any costs from you. In effect, you don’t even really need to cancel but, it is good practice to be courteous and do so.
I also suggest to keep looking until the last-minute. You will be surprised at the deals you may get a day or to before pick up as vehicles look like remaining unsold. Car rental companies prefer to get at least something rather than nothing at all. You may book and cancel one, two or even three or more times before you get that awesome deal. The lack of security required in the form of credit cards to secure pay on arrival bookings make this trick possible.
A real world example is one which I did just last week. We had booked a car for pick up at an airport for three days. It was booked in advance with a low-cost car rental company. Two days before pick up, I found a deal which was $20 cheaper with a major car rental company. Why pay $20 more for so-called low-cost? $20 is $20. It is a half tank of fuel for an economy car or a meal at a nice eatery!
This trick should work most of the time. there is almost always a car rental company or two at the same location who are struggling to fill their inventory of rentals. Bare in mind though that it possibly will not work at busy peak times so, getting in early is suggested to secure something!