Will you be traveling for Christmas or the New Year? Join the club. The AAA estimated that over 102 million million Americans hit the roads to see friends and family over the holidays, which is twice the amount of traffic we see at Thanksgiving. The auto club is predicting that more than one-third of Americans will travel this holiday season, which will be a new record.
Snag the Best Car Rental Rate for the Holidays
Need a rental car for the holidays? You can expect that prices will be jacked up for season, but there's a lot you can do to find a reasonable price. Here are our tips:
Book early, especially if you need a large car. Rental car rates are dynamic and can actually change several times a day, depending on the company and location. Rental companies are constantly competing for your business, and this provides an opportunity for you to save as rates fluctuate. By booking early, you give yourself the best chance of being in the market when rates drop to a low point. Most booking sites don't require payment up front, and there's no penalty to cancel your reservation and rebook when opportunity knocks. When you ask AutoSlash to price track your reservation, we automate the rate-checking process and let you know when we find a better deal.
During high-volume periods, rental agencies may sell out earlier on larger vehicles such as minivans and full-size SUVs. We recommend booking a minimum of three weeks out and preferably even further in advance.Research car rental insurance options before you leave. Standing at the rental counter on the receiving end of the 'hard sell' on insurance is not the time to think about whether you have the coverage you need. Find out ahead of time if your personal auto insurance and/or credit card provides collision and comprehensive coverage. Buying the insurance offered by the rental company will provide peace of mind and a minimum of hassle should something happen, but it will come at a price.
Apply coupons and discount codes to lower your rate. When you ask AutoSlash for a quote, we always scour the Internet for discount codes from rental car companies and apply them to find the very best rate. You can find many discount codes on our site, but that's just a beginning. We can also apply other savings to which you may be entitled from your clubs and memberships. You can do the research yourself, or let us do it for you. Ask us for a quote and we'll send you the best rates within 15 minutes.
Consider prepaid rates. When renting during a peak season, our prepaid Slash Deals often yield better results compared to pay-later rates, which will be higher than usual.
Fill up the tank yourself for savings. Prepaying for a tank of gas may seem like a good idea, but you'll pay through the nose for the convenience. If you bring the car back with less than a full tank, the rental company will charge anywhere from $4 to $10 per gallon to refill the tank. Ouch! While the option to prepay for a tank of gas can seem handy, the reality is you would need to return the car completely empty for it to really pay off. Instead, plan ahead and don't prepay for fuel. Leave yourself enough time to fill up on the way back to the rental office, as this is always the least expensive option.
Check both on and off-airport locations. It's a myth that rental rates off-airport are always less expensive than at the airport. Sometimes a cab ride to an off-airport location makes sense, while other times the airport may actually be cheaper, so check both options to ensure you're getting the best possible deal.