Ever had a bad rental care experience? They’re more common than you might think. Here are some car rental tips to help you have a flawless rental experience.

If you need to rent a car the next time you take a business trip or a vacation, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one. According to a recent study, there are more than 2 million rental cars in the U.S. today.

But before you step up to the car rental counter and ask to rent a vehicle, there are a few car rental tips that you should keep in mind. They’ll prevent you from spending more money than you should really have to in order to borrow a car, truck, or SUV for a few days.

Here are 7 car rental tips that will provide you with a flawless rental experience.

1. Shop Around Before You Book a Car Rental

If you know that you’re going to need to rent a car during a business trip or a vacation, the last thing you should do is wait until you arrive at your final destination to rent it.

Do your homework in advance and shop around for the best car rental rates in the place in which you’ll be staying. You wouldn’t show up at the airport and try to buy a ticket for a flight without researching prices first, so why do it with a rental car?

You could potentially save hundreds of dollars on a car rental by looking around online for the best rates. It’ll get your car rental experience off to a great start right from the very beginning.

2. Try Not to Rent a Car From an Airport

If you’re going to be flying into a city for a business trip or vacation, it might seem like it would make perfect sense to pick up the rental car that you need right at the airport. What’s the sense of going somewhere else to rent a car when there are tons of rental cars available at the airport?

Many people don’t realize this, but when you rent a car from an airport, you’re usually subjected to all kinds of airport surcharges. Those surcharges can add up quickly and force you to pay more than you should for your rental car.

Rather than renting a car from the airport, look for rental car companies that have lots nearby. More often than not, companies will have free shuttles that run from the airport to their lots so that you can pick up your car.

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It might be slightly more inconvenient to pick up a car like this. But it’ll be well worth it when you see how much money you can save.

3. Think Twice Before Paying For Insurance You Don’t Need

It’s always a good idea to make sure you have insurance before you start driving a rental car. But you should know that you don’t necessarily have to pay for insurance through a car rental company to get it.

Check with your auto insurance company and see if they provide protection for you if you’re in a rental car. If they don’t, see if one of your credit card companies offers insurance if you rent a car with their card.

You can usually get all the insurance you’ll need through either your auto insurance company or a credit card company and avoid paying anything extra for it.

4. Say “No” to Prepaying For Gas

There’s nothing worse than rushing back to the car rental lot at the end of your trip or vacation to return your vehicle…and realizing that you forgot to fill it up with gas. Car rental companies usually charge customers a fortune to fill up their tanks if they’re not filled before they’re returned.

With that in mind, some car rental companies have started to offer customers the chance to prepay for gas at the beginning of their rental. In theory, this is a good thing because it prevents people from overpaying for gas later if they return their rental car with only half a tank of gas.

But the problem is that, if you prepay for a full tank of gas, you’re going to be wasting quite a bit of money if you return the car with half a tank of gas left. It’ll mean that you’re essentially paying the rental car company what it would cost for a full tank for just half a tank.

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Instead of prepaying for gas, set a reminder for yourself on your phone to fill up your rental on the ride to the airport.

5. Say “No” to Renting a GPS, Too

You’re in a new city. You don’t want to get lost. So renting a GPS from your rental car company might sound like a slam dunk.

Don’t do it! Use your smartphone instead to keep your rental car costs low.

6. Pay Close Attention During a Rental Car Inspection

Before you peel out, er, drive very carefully out of your rental car company’s parking lot, you’ll be asked to inspect the vehicle you’re renting.

If you see a tiny dent or a small scratch in the car, point it out. Otherwise, you could be liable for it later when you return your rental car.

7. Make Sure You Return Your Rental Car on Time

One of the silliest mistakes people make when renting a car is returning it later than they’re supposed to. They think that returning the car 30 or 45 minutes late is no big deal.

It might not seem like a big deal to you. But your rental car company will likely charge you extra for bringing the car back late. Depending on how late it is, they could even charge you for an extra day and wipe out all the savings you’ve experienced thus far.

These Car Rental Tips Will Make Your Next Trip a Success

Renting a car during a business trip or vacation doesn’t have to be a big hassle. As long as you follow the car rental tips listed here, you should be able to find a car for a fair price and enjoy a few days with it.

Just make sure you’re careful when you’re driving the car. Treat it like your own car, and you won’t have to worry about anything bad happening to it.

Would you like to see some ways you can save money on a hotel during your next trip or vacation? Check out our blog to learn how to save on hotels.

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