During summer holidays such as Memorial Day or Independence Day, many U.S. travelers tend to hit the road in what amounts to peak driving season.
According to the American Automobile Association, a record number of Americans traveled during these holidays, while spending larger sums of money to rent cars, despite decreasing airfare costs. AAA’s Leisure Travel Index tells us that an average round-trip flight costs $171 along the top 40 domestic routes.
Yet, when it comes to renting a car, travelers have to deal with an average daily cost of $66, equating to a 2% increase compared to last year. To make matters worse, if you’re not careful, your costs can skyrocket even more thanks to hidden fees and extra charges.
As CNBC points out, one of the things you can do in order to avoid paying more, is to immediately opt out of any unnecessary coverage such as “collision damage” or “loss damage waiver”. In reality, most insurance policies already have you covered when it comes to the temporary use of a rental vehicle, especially in the U.S.
You could also be covered by your credit car, where some cards provide you with global auto rental coverage, while covering issues like theft, accidents and towing costs. Even on the off chance you’re not covered by your own car insurance or credit card, you could still buy an insurance policy for less than what the rental car company charges, way less.
Another good idea is to choose a non-airport location for picking up your rental car. For example, a short Uber trip might end up costing you less than the airport surcharge.
Then, consider either forgoing or bringing your own e-toll transponder, since rental car companies can charge $4 to $5 per day for an EZ-Pass, regardless of whether or not you actually go through any tolls. Just make sure you don’t cruise through a cashless toll without a transponder, because the $100 fine will definitely upset any savings you might have pulled off.
Finally, don’t forget to ask for a discount, because members of certain organizations like AAA, AARP, USAA or Costco can sometimes benefit from lower rental fees. Alternatively, browse around for discount coupon codes, since those can also help bring your holiday costs down.
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