A Guide to Renting a Car While on Vacation

A Guide to Renting a Car While on Vacation

If you are staying on Siesta Key during your entire trip, there might not be a need to rent a car.  Ride-sharing companies can get you to and from the airport, as well as quick trips around Siesta Key.  However, there is so much to see and do around Sarasota, as well as the state of Florida, that renting a car makes sense to most.  Now, more than ever, travelers need every tip they can get renting a good car at a good price.  Here are our best tips for renting a car.

Avoid Airport Locations

Airport locations might have the best selection of rentals, but they usually don’t offer the best price.  This is because many car rental agencies charge supplemental daily fees at airport locations.  This can really add up if you are staying for more than a few days.  Do some price comparisons and see if another office nearby may offer the same rate (or lower) without the added fee.

Look Beyond the Daily Price

When price shopping, be aware that the price per day is offered at an attractive rate, but usually does not include taxes, fees, and other charges included with the rental.  Instead, you should always search for the total price.  There are a number of sites, like Expedia, that allow you to search by the total price rather than the price per day.

Understand Rental Car Insurance Before You Purchase

All rental car companies are going to try to get you to purchase their Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW).  This provides insurance for the car in case of an accident or damage to the vehicle.  Unfortunately, this coverage is really expensive.  In most cases, your personal auto insurance will cover the collision damage.  Check with your insurance company for full details.

Weekly Rates Can Be Less Expensive

Weekly rates are usually far better than daily rates if you are staying that long.  In fact, sometimes the weekly rate is better than if you rented for just five days.  If that’s the case, just return the car early and you will still save money unless there is a penalty for returning early.  Always check the fine print.

It Never Hurts to Ask About Discounts

Many times it’s advantageous to call the rental car company and inquire about discount programs before you book online.  Many car rental agencies partner with other companies such as airlines, hotel chains, insurance companies, and credit card issuers.  With inflation, the way it is, saving 15% to 25% or more can be a big deal to most travelers.  If your vacation is during the off-peak season, you may find that the discounts are more competitive than during the peak season.

Returning the Car

Rental car companies are notorious for stipulations many of us never think about.  In some cases, returning a car early could create penalty fees.  Of course, returning a car late will most assuredly ding you with added fees.  Always make sure you get the rental checked in on time.  It is also wise to avoid the prepaid gasoline plan.  Just give yourself time to gas up before you drop the car off, and try to avoid the gas stations near the airport – prices are always higher there.

Renting a vehicle while on vacation gives you the freedom to come and go as you, please.  While short trips can be accomplished with taxi cabs or ride-sharing companies, you probably wouldn’t want to take an Uber to Universal Studios and back if you are staying in Siesta Key.  Following these tips can make sure that you enjoy your rental vehicle and get the most for your money.

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