How to find Car Rental Deals
How to find car rental deals might be overwhelming. There are many companies offering similar services and it’s hard to quickly understand which one is the best. I have travelled a lot in the last ten years, moreover I love technology so I have got a good deal of experience in finding good deals online especially when it’s related to travelling. Recently I just had to book a rental car for some friends who are coming to visit me to Europe from Usa and I caught the opportunity to write this updated guide on how to find the best car rental deal online.
Side note: I have just found a return ticket Milano-Miami (Italy-Usa) for 350$ return! Pretty good isn’t it?
Please notice that none of the website I mention sponsors me. What you’re going to read is the result of my personal research and years of extensive traveling.
How to find car rental deals?
1 – Use Car Rental Search Engines and Online Car Rental Companies
These websites work pretty much in the same way the famous search engines website for airplane tickets as Kayak, Skyscanner, Expedia, Momondo etc. do. Actually, some of the latter ones now also offer the possibility to book rental cars at competitive prices while others are expensive. Below you will find them compared and my personal tips on the matter on how to find the best car rental deal.
2 – Avoid last-minute car rentals at the airports
Renting a car it’s always so much more expensive when you book it last-minute especially at the airport. Never ever you’ll get a better deal than the one you might find online. And if the salesperson is good, you might end up buying some complementary services that you might not really need, but they make you believe you do.
3 – Ask with your own insurance company if it covers your travels and rental cars already.
If you have a good insurance, you might discover that it covers already your travels abroad and maybe even your car rentals. This is the perfect situation because and you don’t need to buy an extra one from the car rental company and yet drive your car in total freedom and peace of mind. When you buy a service from a non-specialized reseller, it’s always more expensive. So remember to ask you insurance company, you might have a good surprise!
4 – Think about where will you use the car, what will you use it for, and how many people will get in?
This is important if you want to squeeze a few extra bucks or quids out of your deal. When you will sign the papers before picking the key of your car, often the salesperson at the desk will try to convince to buy some extra complementary services, as a Kasko insurance or navigator, etc. Some of this, like the navigator in 99% of the cases, we don’t need them.
Read here how to use any smartphone, even an old one, into the ultimate updated navigator, even abroad.
Remember that by law, in most of the countries (for sure in Europe) the car that you are renting already includes a basic insurance cover. Also notice that a damage caused by someone else’s fault will be covered by the other driver’s insurance company. You company in turn, will cover damages caused by you to others, or those damages there’s nobody to blame and there’s no way you can prove it wasn’t your fault: for example a scratch on your doors while the car as parked.
So if you drive safely, respecting all the driving rules of the country you are in, or if it’s a quiet area, or a small town where there aren’t car thieves or vandals, most likely you don’t need that extra insurance cover they will offer you to buy at the desk. Thus, before you rent a car address your situation, so you will select the best option and deal that fits your condition and location. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Will I have to park the car in dangerous areas?
- Will I have to park the car in an area where there’s a lot of traffic or little parking space? If yes, is there a high risk that it’ll be scratched by other drivers while parking?
- Am I a responsible and calm driver? (Be honest with yourself!)
- Am I often distracted while driving?
- Do I use my mobile phone while driving? (Do remember that in some countries like Italy for example, texting, calling and holding your phone or other similar device in your hands (even food or a water bottle is illegal and officers can give you a ticket).
- What will I use the car for? Will I have to load stuff on it or will I use for commuting?
- Is the city/area I will visit an area with a high rate of car accidents or of car damaging? Is it well known for bad driving?
5 – Choose the same location for pickup and dropoff
If possible, choose the same location for pickup and drop off. Picking up a rental car in one location and dropping off at another one it’s more expensive. Do it only if you can’t do otherwise.
Remember that even when you book online and choose the airport as pick up point for your car rental, most likely you’ll be picked by a shuttle or a small van and you’ll be brought to the actual pickup point probably few minutes drive from the airport terminals, where the rental company has its own parking area or headquarter. So make sure to communicate them your arrival time and flight number (in case of delays) and have their phone number in case you will have to call them.
Which car rental company is best?
I selected some of the most famous and better reviewed online car rental companies and car rental search engines and tested them. I pretended I would land in Italy at Milan Malpensa Airport and that I need a car for an entire week. 7 full days and dropping it early on the morning of the 8th day.
Dates: 14 July 12pm – 21 July 2019 9pm
This way I had the opportunity to notice if I’ll be charged for the 8th day, which I shouldn’t most likely. Usually the company charges you an additional day when one drops off the car after 10am or 12pm. It’s the same policy applied by most hotels when you book a room: if you check out too late you’ll be charged an extra full day.
Location: Pickup and drop off at Milan Malpensa Airport.
Type of car: I did my test selecting compact cars and city cars, which are the most requested for short rentals by tourists or business travellers.
Currency: Euro. Few website though where not allowing another currency, in those cases I provided the currency exchange, based on google average market exchange rate.
It’s now time to discover which car rental company is best.
How to find a cheap car rental?
- Use an online car hire search engine.
- Ask your insurance company if it covers your car rentals too.
- Know what you need the car for and learn about where about the place you will drive around.
- Select the same location for pickup and dropoff
- discover which is the best car rental company: read the conclusion.