Home Personal Finance My Experience in Trying to Find a Rental Car

My Experience in Trying to Find a Rental Car

by My Journey to Millions

Bugbati Convertible The Wife and I are traveling to Florida next month and we are going to part of Florida where it is recommended that we rent a car.  Despite being 28 years old I have never rented a car before, it probably has more to do with my undeniable thirst on vacation rather than a question of need.  Since I have never done it before I figured I would catalog my adventure.

Where to Start Looking for a Rental Car?

Aggregate Travel Sites

Since I had no clue how much a rental car would cost I decided to go to a travel aggregate site, kayak.com and just start my research. It was really easy, all I did was put where I was going and the dates I was looking for:

Kayak Rental Car Results

About 20 seconds later I had hundreds of options! But I was really only interested in a convertible, I mean come on…I am going  Florida, if I am not getting a convertible there where would I?

Kayak Rental Car Results Conv

I am still at over 100 choices, but at least I know my low point of $98/day.  Way more than what I was expecting to pay.

Rent a Car Through Your Credit Card Company

I have always heard people getting car rental deals and car insurance through their credit card company, but I had no idea how to go about that.  So I pulled out my Credit Card Book, and started calling.  The first card I called was my Citi Card.  They were very helpful and told me they worked with Hertz, but couldn’t offer any deals.  The Wife tried her American Express Card, and they didn’t have anything!  They offered her $100 gift certificates for 10,000 points! NO WAY.

The Wife and I don’t have a concierge credit card since we refuse to pay a credit card annual fee, so that may make a difference.

Visit the Actual Car Rental Sites

I was shocked but upon searching the various car rental sites…they had the worst prices!

What We Decided to Do About our Car Rental

Since we are going to be in the Country (with a computer and phone) we are going to wait until we get down to Florida.  If I found a crazy deal I would have booked it tonight.

Anyone have any great tips?

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Investor Junkie 05/25/2010 - 1:58 am

AAA member?

Evan 05/25/2010 - 8:17 am

Nope. I had intentions of joining, but didn’t follow through because I think my insurance (AllState) covers towing, but I should check that out. It might kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

Nunja 05/25/2010 - 7:11 am

Go to Hotwire. Cheap rates but not refundable. Your age might have an effect on your rates,youngster.

Evan 05/25/2010 - 8:18 am

When I did Kayak they didn’t ask my age which leads to questions of whether those were firm offers. 28 is a youngster! I am like an old man in the world of these personal finance bloggers lol

Kevin M 05/25/2010 - 8:34 am

Second the Hotwire recommmendation, I used it when we went to Boston last summer and got a good deal. Plus we ended up getting upgraded to a Prius when we picked it up.

That being said, you’re probably not going to pay less than $100 for a convertible unless you get lucky and they have an extra one sitting around that day.

I did a quick search for June 16th-23th in the same area and Hotwire starts at $47/day.

Geoff 05/25/2010 - 9:57 am

Try Priceline, you may get lucky.

Also, do a general rental car coupon search before searching your date/location. Just about every rental agency has some promo going on at all times.

Stephan 05/25/2010 - 10:38 am

ya im with kevin, i dont think youll find a convertible for less than you found, and i hope your plan of doing it last minute doesnt force you to accept a much higher price. I say forced, because once your down there, youll need a car pretty much as soon as you arrive. if the convertible is 150, will you just downgrade?

Bucksome Boomer 05/25/2010 - 9:09 pm

You can look up rates on hotwire and then bid about 15-20% lower on Priceline.

FinEngr 05/26/2010 - 3:27 pm

Check your professional affiliations. Given your lawyery job – there may be some group discount for a specific rental agency.

I get two different discounts – one through my credit union and one through an engineering society.

Have fun – enjoy the trip!

Peak Personal Finance 05/28/2010 - 12:19 am

I’d be a bit hesitant to wait until you get there to rent a car — for both price and availability concerns. Not sure how long you are going to be renting the car from, but you may want to really consider whether it would be worth it for you to rent a convertible versus another type of car — if you are going to be there for a while, the price difference can really add up.

Also, in general you might see about renting from an office that is not right at the airport. Airport rental locations tend to charge more and/or have extra airport fees added on. I often have good luck finding deals with Enterprise, and as their ads say they will pick you up. Not as convenient, but again, if you are going to be there for 2 weeks the difference could add up.



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