Renting a car is a great way to see more places in a shorter amount of time. Some of the most bucketlist-worthy US activities like the Miami to Key West drive along the overseas highway in Florida obviously require a car. Car hire can be expensive but it is possible not to spend a fortune on car rental if you are careful.
Never rent a car direct from the Airport terminal desks
On multiple occasions I’ve asked for the price of car rental at the terminal desk and it is always double if not triple the cost of booking online. In fact, just yesterday in Seattle airport (getting a car for a long road trip to visit Yellowstone) I asked firefly for the cost of car hire for 2 weeks and they quoted me $750.00 USD not including insurance. I went online and found car hire for $350.00 USD for a bigger car with insurance included! You can usually rent a car last minute too using the free internet provided in the airports to book. The only issue with this strategy is that they only let you book a car a few hours later than the actual time. This could mean you are sitting around the airport waiting for your car. In saying this, the car hire companies will *usually* let you take the car straight away and just adjust the return time accordingly.
Get Insurance included for the same price (*if you are NOT a US Resident)
Yes, surprisingly, it is possible to get insurance included for the same price! Using the website AutoEurope if you are a citizen of a country aside from the USA you can get insurance included in the cost of the car hire. This can effectively save you hundreds of dollars on car hire. The same principle applies when renting through Sixt Car Rental but it requires you to download an application called unlimited free RMN by better net.
Use our go-to Guide for shopping around for car hire
Make a list of websites or comparison sites that offer car hire. One site might provide the best deal on one occasion but another site can often provide a better deal for another location. Our top two go-to car rental sites are Hotwire and AutoEurope. These sites work when renting a car in the US but also abroad. We recently had a chance to rent a car in Cancun Mexico for only $10 per day include insurance!
Make sure you return the car on time to ensure you are not charged extra fees!
Upon occasion, for whatever reason, we have returned the car an hour or so late. Often, the car rental companies are nice and don’t charge you a penalty. However, this is not always the case & often they won’t even tell you if they charge you a penalty. Make sure you carefully note the time you picked up the car and be sure to return it at the same time on the day of return. Even for just an hour late, they can penalise you with a whole day car rental!