With the influx of travel booking websites, it’s easier than ever to find the best deal. However, while it might be counterintuitive since rental cars are traditionally more expensive than flying, sometimes it’s cheaper. Depending on how far you’re going, if your airfare starts to reach prohibitive prices, the weekly rate to rent a car might be far lower than you first expect. If you’re not traveling particularly far, this is especially true. Here are a few tips about how renting a car can potentially save you money.
Weekly Versus Daily Rental Rates
The biggest price gouge for rental cars is the daily rate. While certain car rental companies will give decent daily rates, unless you’re driving a long distance on a day trip, often the daily rate isn’t worth it. You have to measure the time and convenience of using the car for a day, too. It might be more expensive and tiresome to take public transportation somewhere, whereas the car can get you there faster. These are two factors that need to be weighed. If you’re looking to rent a car for more than a day, though, you might consider a weekly rate. Weekly rates are useful for people that will be traveling for more than a few days, but also have some time to spare. Don’t forget to also compare different car rental companies, because their prices vary widely.
When Gas Is and Isn’t Included
Many hourly car rental companies, like Zipcar, offer the convenience of an hourly rate. While this might work if you just need a car to do grocery shopping for an hour and a taxi would cost the same, this isn’t as effective for more than few hours at a time. Shared car systems of this kind usually have a daily rate, too. These rates are very high, but the perk is that gas is paid for. Therefore, if you’re looking to rent a car for three days and it’s cheaper than flying, the daily rate is going to be higher. On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about gas. This is another scenario where you need to weight the perks and drawbacks based on what your own, personal needs are.
How Many States Away Is Your Destination
If you’re going beyond the tristate area with a rental car, you’ll need to carefully review what mileage is included. Once your destination starts to become further away than a few hours-long plane ride, renting a car might be more expensive than flying. There’s often a charge per mile if you go out of state boundaries and exceed a certain amount of mileage per day or week, depending on your rate. If you’re looking to make a 14 hour drive, check out how many “free” miles you get per day or per week. You’ll find that past a certain amount, you’ll start paying a fee per mile, which gets extremely expensive very quickly. How you deal with an exorbitantly priced airfare should be based on how urgent it is to travel and how much time you’re able to take. It’s all a matter of your personal needs, but options do exist besides shelling out for the full airfare.