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Renting A Car While On Vacation: 3 Tips To Avoid Paying More For The Same Services

When going on vacation, one of the easiest ways to save money and to have more freedom in traveling wherever you want and whenever you want is to rent a car. A rental car will allow you to come and go as you please, and you'll avoid hefty transit charges or even taxi fares. Although convenient, there's a science to renting cars. Here are 3 tips that can help you avoid paying more than others receiving the same services.

Book Ahead of Time with an Independent Car Rental Company

You'd be surprised at just how many people don't have any foresight and don't book their rental car ahead of time. If you're booking on the day that you arrive at the airport, you can expect to pay a higher premium, as the car rental company will need to clean and set aside a car for you on the spot. In addition, if you book a rental car at the airport, you can also expect to pay a premium, as there's going to be an airport surcharge.

You'll get a way better deal if you book your rental car ahead of time and from a rental company that is away from the airport. Shop around to find the best deals and to find a car rental company that offers shuttle services to and from the airport from the rental shop. The latter will prove to be a huge convenience and will also allow you to avoid any additional transit costs that you would've otherwise accumulated.

Refill the Tank Yourself

Before returning the rental car, your contract normally obliges you to refill the tank. Most car rental companies will give you two options. You can either refill the tank yourself at a gas station or you can return the car with the gas unfilled, and they'll charge you a premium for refilling the tank themselves. Be careful. You need to confirm whether that premium involves only paying for the gas or whether you'll also be charged service fees.

In general, the car rental company will charge a set amount for refilling the tank of gas. This set amount will normally be more than the cost of refilling the tank of gas yourself, so it's highly recommended to set aside some time before returning the rental to do it yourself. You should be able to find various gas stations with prices that are way cheaper than the price set by the rental company.

Avoid Paying for Extra and Unnecessary Insurance

Here's a fact that not necessarily everyone knows: if you own a credit card from one of the four major credit card networks, your credit card already provides you with some basic auto insurance coverage when renting a car. On top of that, any existing auto insurance policy you have under your name is transferrable to a rental car. This basically means that you're already insured and covered, and you don't necessarily have to purchase auto insurance from the car rental company. In general, more car rental companies will offer you the option to purchase additional auto insurance from them; however, the amount of insurance you have already from your credit card company and from any existing insurance plan will be more than enough.

Even if you don't have any existing auto insurance plan under your name, coverage from your credit card will usually be all that you need. Do take a look at what is covered by your credit card company to determine whether there is any additional coverage you might want to purchase separately; however, in most situations, this is absolutely unnecessary and will only add to your final bill.


Renting a car will give you all of the freedom that you need. Most car rental companies offer various models and makes for you to choose from. You can rent a van for the entire family or even a flashy, sports car if you want to make the most out of a trip with friends.