This Trick Will Help You Save Money On Rental Cars

Renting a car has always been expensive. Or, at least, renting a car is sometimes an avoidable expense until it's not. (The term expensive can be interpretive.) But during the pandemic, the cost of renting a car absolutely skyrocketed, and that rocket never really landed. When traveling, trying to cut down on costs is key, especially when those costs are sometimes avoidable and currently inflated.

Nerdwallet recently averaged car rental prices of the 10 largest U.S. airports. On the low end, the average weekly price to rent a car from Orlando International Airport was $517. If you drove away from Chicago O'Hare in a rental, you'd pay the most at $743 per week on average. The data does show that renting from these metro areas over airports will save you money. It really depends on what premium you put on initial convenience.

Like renting your car in town over the airport, there are a few other things you can do to lower rental costs. Don't ding it up, for starters. But besides that, there's one tip we often overlook that can actually save you a lot.

Bring your own extras when renting a car

Really, the overlooked way to save money on car rentals is to not overlook ways to save money on car rentals. Everything that your car rental features (or could feature), outside of four wheels and a steering wheel, will cost you money.

According to NBC News, a child's car seat from a rental car company may cost between $10 to $15 per day. That could mean an extra $100 per week. While carrying a child's car seat isn't the easiest haul through an airport, you'll have to weigh whether that inconvenience is worth $100 or not.

While a child's car seat may be cumbersome, we suspect you're already bringing your phone. Investopedia suggests that satellite radio in your rental car may cost an additional $3 per day. A rental with GPS also costs extra. Remember, you probably have some form of satellite radio on your phone, and unless you have a very outdated phone, you most certainly have a GPS.

A few extra tips ... on the house

Overall, simply bring your own stuff with you to avoid being charged any additional fees. But since car rental prices are so high, we'll throw in two extra tips free of charge. First, some people will suggest you need to rent your car way in advance, especially during peak seasons. Others contend that you'll find the best prices if you wait last minute to book your rental. Let's split the uprights.

Car rentals do not typically charge any upfront fees when you reserve a car, per CheapAir. To assure yourself a rental (without the unneeded gizmos, of course), simply reserve the car in advance. Then, if you find a better price, cancel your rental and rent a new one.

As far as the second freebie, yes, take a cab or train to rent your car in a metro area over the airport, especially if you'll have the car for a week or so. The convenience of renting from the airport comes with a lot of fees. Sorry, we understand we already divulged that tip. But, if we gave away too many extras, we'd need to charge.