Cheap Car Rental Last Minute

Find An Affordable Rental Car Company

TRAVEL TIPS: How to Find Last Minute Rental Car Deals

This is the most important step when looking for a nice rental deal. If youre urgently in need of a rental car, you dont want to just rush to any rental car company. We can classify rental car companies based on their affordability.

If youre looking for a great last-minute rental deal, a premium rental company may not be the best option. These are the biggest names in the rental car industry. Such companies include Avis, Hertz, Enterprise and a few others.

However, you get to save more with Thrifty, SIXT and Dollar rental companies. You may get an average daily rate that could be up to $10 cheaper than the premium companies.

Find The Best Cruise Deals

With countless cheap cruise deals to popular destinations, why not travel by sea for your next vacation adventure? Theres no need to spend hours combing through cruise websites Travelocity does all the hard work for you by finding cheap cruises to destinations all over the world. The only work youll need to do is figure out which activities youll participate in while on board. Theres no need to be jealous of your friends cheap vacations choose from Travelocitys cruise deals that cater to all sorts of budgets, and, before long, you too will find yourself sipping a cocktail on deck.

Use A Manual Tranny If You Can

Youve picked the most affordable, reliable and fuel-efficient car you could find. However, different variants of the same car can have different prices. Starting with the transmission, a manual transmission may cost slightly less than an automatic.

While the price difference wouldnt be much, it doesnt hurt to save a little extra since were considering costs. If driving a manual doesnt make a big difference to you, it is best you ask for a car with a manual tranny. Make sure they tell you just how much youre saving by opting for the manual vehicle.

This doesnt apply to just the transmission. A luxury trim for any vehicle would have higher rental costs than its base trim. If you want a car to only drive from point A to B, youre better off with a base trim.

Related: Are Rental Cars New Or Used?

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You Don’t Want To Risk Sold

With the shortage of cars, there is a definite risk that last-minute inquiries will yield no availability, Taylor says. That seems like a risky game in this environment.

You dont want to find yourself stuck in a city with no public transportation and limited availability of rideshare services only to realize rental cars are sold out. The bright side of booking now: You can lock in a rate that youre at least OK with, as its better than sold-out cars.

And while the data suggests that renting last minute is generally cheaper, thats not always the case. Especially in popular vacation destinations like Hawaii, there are horror stories of renters making last-minute bookings only to incur extra costs of over a thousand dollars.

Always Ask For Discounts

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So youve negotiated the best deal, have avoided excess options and have optimized costs. However, were not satisfied yet. There are still more discounts you can ask for.

Many rental car companies offer corporate discounts to customers.

This means theyd offer you a certain percentage off the full price youre supposed to pay. This discount is exclusive to members, employees, or affiliates of a particular company or organization.

If you are part of such an organization, you only need to present a means of identification to get the discount. However, since discount rates vary, youll have to compare different companies to know which offer the highest discount rates.

The discounts may include student discounts which are offered to students of a particular school. There are also discounts that apply to people living in a particular state.

Also popular is the military discount, which may also apply to war veterans. Companies may also offer discounts to hotels they partner with. So if you stay in any of these hotels, be sure to explore such discounts.

With so many discounts flying around, getting a deduction from a rental company might be easier than you think. You may or may not have to ask for these discounts first.

Cross check the long list of rental car companies and their affiliated companies. Thisll help you verify which discounts you qualify for. You can save as much as 25% on some of these discounts.

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Remember The Additional Expenses

Speaking of GPS systems and insurance, all of our experts stress that its crucial to consider all of the expenses youll incur from your rental car, and to do so before you get to the check-in counter.

Prices to check ahead of time include gas mileage for different classes of cars, extra fees for second drivers , charges for GPS systems, and more.

Car companies also thrive on selling travelers insurance they dont need, so be sure to see what your regular insurance policy and/or credit card already coversin fact, your existing coverage may require you to decline the insurance offered at the car rental desk. Remember: Those smiling faces behind the counter may be working on commission.

Some other key ways to cut miscellaneous costs:

Return your car with a full tank. That will always be less expensive than letting the rental car company fill the tank, even if you buy a pre-paid option for it.

Rent a toll pass. Some U.S. state highway departments allow cross-border use of the transponder or tag you might use in your car at home. Other states may offer passes you can borrow for short visits. But if you forget and accidentally go through a cashless tollbooth without making preparations, most rental car agencies tack on high fees to the price of tolls.

Booking In Advance Could Still Be A Good Idea

While it may look as if booking a rental car at the last minute could be the answer, thats not always the case. By waiting until the last minute to book a car, you run the risk of it being sold out. However, if you book ahead of time, you can lock in a reservation rate and ensure that you have a car to rent.

One strategy that Nasdaq recommends is reserving a car ahead of time and then periodically checking the rate as your trip nears. When you see that the rate dipped below what you initially locked it in for, cancel it, then re-book the rental car at the lower rate. Of course, that may be a hassle for some renters.

If anything, book your rental cars when its convenient for you. But its nice to know that even if its a last-minute deal, that may not be a bad thing.

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Dos And Donts For Avoiding A Last

Do book your car as soon as youre thinking of a trip.

In an ideal world, you should book a rental car as far in advance as possible. These days, its smart to aim for at least a month ahead. The U.S. has a rental car shortage right now. The earlier you book, the more likely you are to find vehicle availability. Booking early also allows time for AutoSlash to track your car rental reservation and watch for an even better deal. In these volatile times, be sure to book the Pay Later rate so you wont be charged until you pick up the car.

Ask AutoSlash for a Quote on a Cheap Car Rental

Dont walk up to the counter without a reservation.

Walk-up rates are rarely going to be a good deal, but nowadays you are likely to be shut out of a car altogether. Or, if there are cars available, you could end up paying an exorbitant nosebleed rate.

Online rates are typically set by number crunchers whose sole job is to make sure rates are competitive. Walk-up rates, on the other hand, are typically set each day by the rental offices local managers. They dont spend nearly as much effort on being competitive. Unless theyre nearly sold out, typically choose a middle-of-the-road rate that is usually higher than what the reservations department has set. Even if you book online just a few minutes before showing up at the counter, youll almost certainly get a better rate than if you arrive without a reservation.

Do use AutoSlash to help you find discounts and availability.


Book On The Right Day Of The Week

Last-minute travel hacks to save you money | ABC7 Chicago

“Check your rates on Tuesdays, if you can,” advises Mark Mannell, CEO of Car Rental Savers. “The car rental agencies have some last-minute rates that they tend to upload on Tuesdays for the coming week, which can save you some money.”

If your travel falls around holidays, note that some days will be far more expensive than others for picking up a car. “Prices and crowds tend to be lower for pick-ups that start on the Friday or Saturday before Thanksgiving, says Nisreene Atassi, Global Head of PR and Social for Expedia.

He notes that rentals starting the Wednesday before the Thanksgiving holiday tend to cost 30% more. For Christmas, he says that those who start rentals on December 25 tend to pay the highest rates.

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Pick Up And Drop Off At The Right Hour

Car rentals are done in 24 hour chunks, says Hopper’s Corwin, so you’ll pay the least when you pick up and drop off the car at the exact same time of day. If you input times that are mismatched by a few hours, you risk being charged for an entire additional day.

She notes that most agencies have a grace period, and you can use that to avoid paying for an extra day. If your desired pick-up and drop-off times fall within the same few hours and your drop-off time is the later of the two, reserve a pick-up time that’s for the same hour as your expected drop off. You can usually show up an hour or two ahead of your reservation time without a penalty or higher rates.

Get The Best Hotel Deals

If youre looking for exclusive vacation deals, youre in the right place. Travelocity offers one-of-a-kind hotel deals and discounts that match every budget. Whether booking your accommodation for 1 night or 1 week, for a romantic getaway or a family fun trip, youll find a variety of discount hotels at your fingertips. Use the extra cash you saved on lodging to splurge on sightseeing: view local landmarks, taste authentic cuisine and experience the cultural sites now that youve saved big on your hotel.

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Book Now Change Or Cancel Later

Prices can go up as the pick-up date gets closer. If youre holding off booking because youre not 100% sure about your trip yet, check the cancellation policy. If you can change or cancel for free, its usually worth booking straight away to lock in a lower price. Just find out whether theres a time limit on that free cancellation

Book Top Vacation Packages

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Enjoy a worry-free trip when you book your vacation package on Travelocity. Find fantastic seasonal travel dealssuch as cruise and flight deals or last-minute travel dealsthat will keep your wallet and your adventurous spirit full. Discover how to bundle your flight and hotel or perhaps your flight and rental car there is no shortage of cheap vacation packages. Why dont you explore cheap vacations for two to surprise your special someone? No matter what your vacation goals are, theres sure to be a package within your budget so you can get the best travel deals out there.

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Never Show Up Without A Reservation

“Walk-up rates are typically set each day by the rental office’s local managers,” says AutoSlash’s Weinberg. “Unless they’re nearly sold out, they will choose a middle-of-the-road rate that is usually higher than what the reservations department has set.”

Hopper’s Corwin notes that the prices for optional add-ons such as rentable GPS systems and insurance tend to be cheaper online, too.

Why Is It Cheaper To Wait Until The Last Minute

The supply chain shortage has affected car rental agencies as a lack of inventory has driven up demand and pricing. Michael Taylor, a travel intelligence lead for J.D. Power, told NerdWallet that the cheaper last-minute rental rates arent too surprising.

Rental car pricing algorithms have gone through a period of unexpected change, Taylor said. The surging demand, coupled with the lack of rental cars available system-wide, has seemingly caused pricing models to fluctuate more than in the past.

Theres also the case of rental agencies repositioning their fleets. More specifically, when travelers rent a car for one-way travel and return it to another rental car office location, rental agencies take note of this data and may offer deals for those traveling in the reverse direction. In essence, the cheap last-minute deal could lure renters into returning a car to an office in need of more rental cars.

Additionally, some rental car companies may set high prices normally and then bring them down when theres a larger amount of inventory at any given time.

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Last Minute Specials At Participating Locations

  • Search a location to see if any specials are available. Blackout dates may apply.
  • Specials for daily, weekend and weekly rentals at participating locations.
  • Last Minute Specials daily rates require a 1-day minimum rental with a 4-day maximum.
  • Weekend rentals must begin after 9:00 AM on Thursday and before 11:59 PM on Saturday with a Saturday overnight keep. Vehicle must be returned Monday at same time as pick-up.
  • Weekly rentals require 5-day minimum with a Saturday overnight keep required. 14-day maximum rental applies.

Consider A Costco Membership

Rental Cars: How to Get the Best Deal

The above tips will help you save a great deal of money even though you dont book the car early. There are other options that also help you save, including Costco.

Costco provides you with discount prices while renting a car for a small membership fee. The yearly fee can either be $60 for the gold plan or $120 for the executive plan.

Other than the discount prices, renting a car via Costco eliminates many additional fees. Such fees include but arent limited to the extra driver fee and cancellation fees.

Costco partners with rental car companies, such as Alamo, Avis, Budget and Enterprise.

Other platforms, such as AutoSlash and AAA, offer competitive prices. Hence, dont limit yourself to Costco. Always compare the best platforms to make use of when looking for the most affordable prices.

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Best Rental Car Deals

Put yourself in the driver’s seat when you rent a car with Travelocity. Find a discount car rental from major car providers so youre in control of getting where you want, when you want. Whether youre reserving a car for a longer road trip or looking for rental car deals for the weekend, simply pick your style, load up your bags and head out onto the open road. Its as easy as that! Score a cheap discount on a rental car and youll be on your way in no time.

Lock In Our Best Rates When You Pay Now

Pay for your car rental now so you have one less thing to worry about for your last-minute trip. Youll save up to 35% and get our best rates available when you select Pay Now.

How: Submit your rental dates into the form above and find your desired vehicle, then choose to Pay Now.

Can I rent a car last minute?

Yes, Avis offers last-minute car rentals and travel deals, depending on availability. You can call our customer service representatives at the location you plan to rent a car, or show up during business hours and see whats available.

Can you get a rental car same day?

Yes, you can get a rental car the same day as making a reservation. However, there may not be any rental cars available, or the vehicle selection may be limited. Fill out the form above to see the current rates and availability for same-day car rentals and for the best last-minute travel deals.

Tip: To get a last-minute car rental the same day as making a reservation, you do need to set your pickup time at least one hour ahead of the current time.

Is it cheaper to rent a car last minute?

Sometimes it can be cheaper to reserve a last-minute car rental, but you are always taking the chance that there wont be any rentals available. Rental prices also fluctuate and can be influenced by the day of the week, holidays, and availability. If getting the best deal is your goal, you dont need to wait until the last minute. When you book ahead and choose Pay Now you get a discount on your rental rate.

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You Might Be Able To Reserve A Car Now And Rebook The Same One Later At A Discount

Heres a strategy that might get you the best of both worlds: the guarantee of a reservation and the possibility of a cheaper reservation. Reserve your rental car as soon as possible, and select the option that allows you to lock in your rate but pay at the counter .

Ahead of your trip, periodically check your booked rental price. If the price dips lower than what you initially paid, cancel and rebook. If you didnt prepay for your reservation, most rental car companies won’t charge you a cancellation fee.

JT Genter contributed to this report.

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