Roadtrips have become more popular again in the last few years, but with rising gas prices, you may want to use these tips to save some money!
1. Book Early
We’ve all been hearing about the supply chain issues and rental car companies are no exception. Shortages in Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and Wyoming have made headlines with sky high rates. Secure your car first by booking early, then use trackers like AutoSlash to help you rebook if the prices drop later.
2. Car Sharing
If rental car companies are short cars, check alternatives like Turo where you rent directly from a person, much like Airbnb but for cars. You can rent at a daily rate or even as short as 30 minutes. You will need to pick up and return it to the same location, and be a good car guest by tidying up after yourself.
3. Book Directly
Sites like Kayak, Priceline and Cheapcarrental.com are great for easily comparing prices and cars to narrow down the best option, but after that go directly to the car rental company’s site and you may find an even better discount with “Pay Now” options. Just keep in mind that ones paid in advanced are usually nonrefundable so be sure to check the terms.
4. Skip the airport
While convenient if you’re flying in, renting at an airport means paying a premium to airport surcharges usually billed as a “Customer Facility Charge” which can be a fixed price or a percentage of your overall amount. If you will be coming in through the airport, compare the rental prices at the airport to the cost of renting one in the city plus the cost of a taxi or Lyft to the rental location to see which is worth it.
5. Membership Perks
If you have a Costco membership, you can usually get a good deal and add an additional driver for free - a perk that USAA, AARP, and AAA also offers. AAA also provides discounts for Hertz, and has no underage driver fees if you’re a member between ages 20-24. Frequent fliers also may have discounts, like American Airlines gives AAdvantage members 35% off Budget and Avis for airport rentals.
6. Save on Insurance
In most cases you can use your personal drivers insurance rather than purchasing through the rental company. Many credit cards also include basic insurance coverage if you use the card to pay for your rental.
7. Find Cheap Gas
With gas prices peaking in late summer, use apps to find the best prices in your location. Search “Gas” on Google Maps to pull up nearby stations with prices. GasBuddy and Waze has similar features.
8. Go Electric
EVs are gaining popularity and while still a small percentage of cars you’ll find at rental companies, you can find them in many major cities as well as on Turo. You may worry about how far you can road trip with an EV but many major hotels like Hilton and Marriott offer charging amenities so you can fuel up overnight, and Tesla has a network of charging stations where you can drive cross country with stations all along the way. Non-Teslas can use apps like PlugShare and ChargeHub EV Map to route where to charge on your trip.
Are you going on a road trip this year? We would love to hear if you used any tips! And when you go, try out our free travel planner to make the trip extra smooth.