How To Get a Low Rental Car Rate

How To Get a Low Rental Car Rate

If you’re getting ready to reserve a car rental for your next trip, then you’re probably already thinking about the cost. Just how much are you going to pay for it? How will it fit into your trip’s budget? 

There are so many price factors that go into determining your cost. Some things are within your control when it comes to affecting your cost, and some are not. First, it’s important that you choose a good car rental company that fits your budget and still meets your needs. Next, you’ll want to consider the different variables that influence price and see what you can do to get yourself the price you want to pay.

The average base cost of renting a car is about $30 per day, but you will find out quickly that many factors can cause that price to increase. 

You can learn what to expect before you commit to your rental choice. If you can adjust aspects of your trip to make it more cost-effective, then you can let the price guide you to a more affordable trip. 

Remember that the key to a smooth trip, whether it’s for business or leisure, is preparation, and one of the aspects that you want to be prepared for the most is cost. No one likes the feeling of writing a blank check for a trip. So, let’s explore the price factors for your next car rental.

Price Factors

Many things impact the price of your rental car. You can almost think through them with the 5 Ws and H. That is the who, what, when, where, why, and how of writing, and it is so helpful with the car rental process.

Rental Demand

If it’s a busy time of year for travel, like a holiday, you can expect demand to be high pretty much everywhere. If you’re traveling to a tourist destination at a popular time, there will probably be many other renters.

When many people are renting at the same destination simultaneously, you can expect that as the demand exceeds the supply, prices will increase. So, it matters who else is renting.

The Type of Car

The type of car you choose to rent can make the price higher or lower. If you opt for an economy car or compact car, you’re likely to pay less than if you need a luxury car for your rental. 

Sometimes, you just need a bigger vehicle, and larger vehicles, like a minivan or a larger SUV, can be higher in cost. If you have a specific need, there are still ways to save money and be mindful of cost.

When You Rent

When you need to rent a car can impact the cost of the rental. This ties back to who is renting at the same time as you. If you’re planning a trip that requires you to grab a rental car on a Friday, you may be in direct competition with every other weekend tourist that starts their trip on Friday. This impacts the supply and demand for the day, and it can cause the price to fluctuate. 

If you have any flexibility with the dates you can travel, it may pay off to play around with your dates weeks in advance to find the best price for your trip. Maybe bumping your trip to arrive on Thursday can save you money. 

So, you will need to know your travel dates to get an accurate rate for your trip’s pricing. 

Additionally, if you need your rental car for 5-6 days, you might check the price for a week’s rental (seven days). It could result in a lower daily rate. Just be sure that the company has no penalty fee for turning the car in early.

Where You Rent

If you have ever looked at buying a car, you know that where you buy your car can impact the cost of your car for reasons like local taxes, the price of gasoline, and the cost of insurance premiums. Car rentals are no different. The average cost of renting a car can vary from city to city, so your destination can impact your car rental rates.

When it comes to car rentals, local events can drive up the demand for car rentals, and the price is likely to follow. For example, if you’re traveling during the Labor Day weekend, you can expect a decent amount of traveling in any tourist attraction area because it’s the home stretch for summer tourism. However, you may have more events to contend with in certain locations at that time.

Atlanta’s Labor Day weekend is a busy time, even in comparison with other tourist destinations. Atlanta hosts the annual Dragon*Con convention, an opening weekend college football game, a jazz festival, tennis championships, a Pride event, and more, all in a three-day weekend. Prices are likely to be higher there than in other locations. So, it’s important to shop around for a good rental car company.

Since location can play such an essential role in the cost of your rental rates, it is imperative to note that rates can vary dramatically from location to location, even within the same company. So, be sure to verify the rate for your location and shop around for the rate and availability that is right for you.

Car Rental Add-Ons

You can incur additional fees for a variety of reasons. If you add a second driver, there can be a fee. There might also be prepaid fuel or GPS service fees. The location you return the car can also add unforeseen costs. 

If you’re not 25 yet, many companies will still let you rent a car, but it can cost you a bit more because you are in a riskier age group. So, if you’re adding your age factor to your rental, it can affect the cost.

Your payment method can cause you to pay a higher price too. Car rental companies prefer that you pay with a credit card, but if you choose to add the option to pay with a debit card, the car rental company is bearing a greater risk on the car rental. You will likely pay a higher deposit and pay for the full estimated price of the car rental upfront. 

Parking fees, tolls, and traffic violations can also affect your cost. This is even more true when you are in a rental car. So, it’s best to be aware of traffic laws to save yourself money for your trip. If you’re adding these up during your trip, it can affect the cost of your rental.

If you want to add a separate drop-off location, that can affect the cost. If you want to add a car seat or other add-ons to the car to make your travel easier, it can also change the overall price.

Insurance Coverage

It is never fun to think about insurance, but it is necessary to think about it and have it. You will most likely be required to purchase a collision damage waiver, and you’ll want to ask if the cost is included in the quoted price of your rental. It actually relieves you of responsibility for damage to the vehicle. Your own insurance might extend to cover the rental car, but you’ll want to check. If you don’t have the collision damage waiver or personal auto insurance covering you, you could be responsible for the vehicle’s full price if something happens.

You may be upsold a more comprehensive insurance policy at the time of pick-up. Just be sure to get as much information on the insurance costs as you can in advance as you do your travel research.


When you’re planning a trip and need to rent a car, planning ahead is essential. Remember to do your research on the location. Know what’s going on and how many other people might be trying to do the same thing when you’re planning to go. Understand the factors that cause prices to fluctuate, and be willing to play around with your dates if you can to get yourself the best daily rate. A little homework can help you make the best choice when it comes to choosing a rental car company.


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