From the Magazine

How to Save Money on Car Rentals

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The cost of renting a car can add up fast — the average rate is nearly $40 per day. So FIRST asked travel pros to share their secrets to cut the bill by 50 percent or more.

How to Save Money on Car Rentals 

Renting a car has never been cheap, but this summer the prices are climbing even higher. Part of the reason? Car rental companies have undergone a great deal of consolidation. Right now, three companies account for 95 percent of the industry in the United States: Enterprise owns National and Alamo, Hertz owns Thrifty and Dollar, and Avis owns Budget and Payless. What’s more, car manufacturers are producing fewer cars, so rental agencies have less inventory. 

Still, you can get a deal — if you know the rules of the rental game. “You simply have to narrow down what your exact needs are,” says Laura Longwell, founder of Travel Addicts

Take a look at the chart below to determine your priorities and see how much you can save! 

how to find best car rental

(Photo Credit: First For Women)

Easy Ways to Avoid Sneaky Fees

Additional charges added to the rental-car agreements can drive up your bill. Here, three common hidden fees — and how to dodge them.     

Rental insurance: Adding insurance at the rental counter can add 60 percent to the bill— and most car owners are already covered under their own car insurance or credit card. Review your policy before you book or call your credit card to see if you’re covered. 

Damage charges: When returning the car, take photos of it and the rental agreement to prove that you brought the vehicle back damage- free. Then if the next renter incurs damage and claims they received the car like that, you have proof it wasn’t your fault. 

Fuel costs: If you’re given the option to prepay for gas, decline it. Most renters don’t use the entire tank, but end up paying extra for that gas. When you do fill up before returning the car, keep the receipt in case you are charged to refuel. 

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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