3 Cost-Saving Tips For Long-Distance Car Rentals

There are many reasons for renting a car, from getting to work when your car is in the shop to opting for a more reliable ride for a long road trip. However, renting a car when driving long distances can differ slightly from renting for around-the-town trips. While the process is largely the same, there may be a few additional policies or considerations that you'll need to keep in mind.

If you're planning a big road trip and want to rent a car to do it, these three tips will help you save money and get a vehicle that's a perfect fit for your vacation plans.

1. Compare One-Way vs. Round-Trip Rentals

Most major rental companies offer the option for one-way rentals. These rentals are often necessary when the rental car is just one leg of your journey, such as when renting a car to travel to an airport. Sometimes, one-way rentals may also make sense if you're taking a long trip to an area where you won't need a car.

However, one-way rentals also typically cost more. If you're only going away for a few days or a week, renting one car for the round-trip may be more cost-effective and convenient than two one-way rentals. Make sure you carefully compare the one-way dropoff fees against the cost of a longer rental before making any decisions.

2. Consider Extending Your Rental

Weekly rates often catch many renters off guard. Different rental companies will have different policies on weekly or daily rates, but you'll often switch to a weekly rate, even if you're renting for less than seven days. Once your rate switches to weekly, the remaining days are free. In other words, you'll pay the same rate, even if you return the car before the full week ends.

Extending your rental over those extra few days won't cost you anything, so there's no harm in pushing it out by a few more days. For long trips, that extra time can mean less stress on your return trip or even having the freedom to stop at a midpoint hotel instead of driving home in one shot. Whenever you're renting for more than a couple of days, always ask when the weekly fee kicks in to maximize your rental time.

3. Pay Attention to Extras

While most modern vehicles have navigation systems as standard features, many rental companies will still charge a fee to enable GPS on their cars. If you plan on relying on your car's built-in navigation for your road trip, ask if it's enabled and, if not, how much it will cost to turn that feature on. While you might be able to activate the navigation later, asking at the desk can still be helpful.

Some automated toll systems are other common extras that rental companies offer. You may be able to activate this system in your rental car, allowing you to drive through automated toll booths instead of stopping and handing over cash. This feature can cost a little more, but it can be more convenient and allow you to access discounted toll rates on your trip.

For more information about car rentals, reach out to a local service.