I’m currently full-time traveling by flying everywhere while my car is parked in a snow bank in Alaska. When I fly into a new destination I either call on Uber or Lyft to get me where I need to go. When I’m in locations where my family or friends are they usually will pick me up. I do work with car manufacturers and have had Mitsubishi, Kia, and Nissan hook me up with cars this year to review. More often than not though, I need a rental car.
For most people this is an easy task, they jump onto Kayak or Expedia and put a car on hold. Well, I used to do that and thought finding rates that were $25-40 a day was a good deal. I don’t have a credit card and pay for all of my travels with cash and my trusty debit card. Did you know that when you use your debit card, that companies will place an additional $100-350 hold on your card? Guess when they release those funds? The tiny print says it can take up to 21 days! Also, a little known fact is in some states (like Arizona) if you rent a car and have a residence within 50 miles that they can, and will, charge you an additional $100 fee. I kid you not.
I stumbled on CarRentals.com one day as I was researching rental cars for when I was headed home to Phoenix. I was shocked to see cars coming in at $5-10 A DAY! A week’s rental would cost less than $100! I thought it was a fluke and opened up an Ingonito Window and searched again and the same prices came up. I changed the search to increase a day and the prices jumped to $15 a day. I lowered the days and the prices jumped again. I repeated this same search but on different cities.
The algorithm was based on the length of rental, location, and time of year. I found that 3-5 days was the sweet spot to keep the rental under $10. Going direct to the car rental website does not usually give the same results. They have given CarRentals a certain number of cars each day to rent for super reduced prices – you just have to find them! I’ve done this with large rental companies like Alamo and smaller companies like Fox and Sixt.
Make sure to check out each rental companies policies before you rent! You can reserve a car without putting down a credit card, so do that. Just note though that if you are arriving late at night that they could be out of cars. Also, if you prepay for a car making changes to that reservation is kinda impossible, but the Pay Now Special prices sometimes can’t be beat.
This wasn’t a sponsored post, just my experience the last few months renting cars all over the US. Hope the info helps you to find a great deal on a car!