Rental cars can be quite pricey and vacations are already wallet suckers, so let’s try and find the best deals around. Like anything in travel, timing can be everything, especially when booking a rental car. We spoke with some industry insiders and got the lowdown on the car rental business so you won’t get overcharged for a crappy rental car.

Let’s examine the best ways to save big on car rentals and certain times when renting a car isn’t even needed.

 

Rental Car Yes or No?

First lets determine if you even need a rental car or if you can get around on public transportation alone. Avoiding a rental car all together will save you some scratch and make your vacation much easier. Dealing with rental cars, parking and driving in foreign countries can all be nightmares that can be avoided by not renting a car in the first place.

What kind of vacation are you going on? Are you staying in one location or traveling around to multiple destinations? How close are you staying to town and does your hotel offer free shuttles?

If you are staying at an all-inclusive resort, you won’t need a rental car. Same if your hotel offers free shuttles to attractions. Your best bet is to do some research and figure this one out first.

Sometimes renting a car is your best bet so in that case, follow these simple few hacks to get the best deals.

 

Smaller Sites

The actual site of a car rental site will never have the best deals; instead look at aggregator sites like Costco travel or AAA.com. These sites offer great deals because you already pay for their services so you are getting an inside deal. You are paying for the memberships already so why not take advantage of their deals. I almost exclusively book through these two sites and constantly save big on bookings.

Smaller sites and companies will offer lower prices to compete with the big dogs of the industry. Hertz will never have the same deals as a small service like Fox rental cars has. You may not get the frills with these small companies but you won’t pay a premium either.

 

Get the compact

Stop acting like a nice rental car will make or break your vacation. Rental car companies make their money on upselling you, so stop it and chose the cheapest car. Think about how often you will be in this car, now think about if paying upwards of $50 more a day is worth it, most likely its not.

  

Insurance?

Stop buying the rental car’s insurance. If you have your own car or book with a major credit card, you are already insured. This is the biggest scam in all of car rentals. Stop paying upwards of $25-50 a day in insurance when you are already covered. Just say no!

 

Fees to avoid

Other than insurance, there are countless other bullshit fees they try and charge you. Toll transponders can cost a few dollars a day, same as GPS devices. Stop it, your smart phone has a better map system anyway, so use that and save big. Satellite radio? Are you serious, bring an IPod or some CDs and call it a day.

Save huge by renting off airport property and avoid the stupid fees they charge. Never rent on-site again. I find the site that is at least 20 minutes form the airport and you will have zero lines and pay close to half the price of on-site rental places.