Under 25? Here's How To Lessen (And Sometimes Waive) Those Car Rental Fees

Traveling when you're young can be such an exciting period in your life. You're discovering the world and yourself, with your experiences also shaping who you are, all at the same time. What's not as exciting is being faced with the reality that money isn't infinite and travel is expensive. While being under 25 can sometimes save you money on train tickets and entry to historical sites and monuments (depending on what country you're in) it can also incur extra costs — especially if you want to rent a car to have more freedom while you travel.

You can be the best driver in the world, with no accidents on your record and rental car companies will still charge you extra for being under 25. This is called a young driver fee. Why? It's simply because younger drivers carry more risk. To offset this risk, companies charge an extra fee.

These fees can range anywhere between $10 to $35 dollars per day of your rental car reservation. This is not an insignificant added cost, especially when you're on a budget. So, is there a way to waive or reduce these fees?

How you can waive rental car young driver fees

If you're under 25, planning to travel within the U.S., and you need to rent a car, you'll want to sign up to become a member of AAA (American Automobile Association). AAA partners with Hertz, one of the largest rental car companies in the world. Through this partnership, AAA members will have the young driver fee waived as long as you have a valid driver's license and a debit or credit card.

By signing up to become a member with AAA you'll need to pay an annual membership fee — which can range between $40 to $135 depending on your location and the level of coverage you want — but you can cancel it any time. While it might seem counterintuitive to pay to save, the benefits outweigh the costs as you likely won't spend less on young driver fees. Additionally, you also get all the benefits of being a AAA member including 24/7 roadside assistance and even discounts at a number of major hotel brands.

If you're a member of the USAA (United Services Automobile Association) you may also be able to get those pesky young driver fees waived. The main caveat there is that you need to be enrolled in some form of military schooling and the fee waiver only applies to participating rental car companies. However, this list includes most of the major companies like Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, and Budget.

Youth-friendly rental car companies and other alternatives

If you're wanting to rent a car in the U.S. but don't want the hassle of signing up for AAA, there are a few car rental companies that have a reduced young driver fee or none at all. Getaround is available in the U.S. and the U.K. and offers a tiered young driver fee system in the U.S. This progressively reduces the burden on drivers as they age — a fairer system than a blanket fee application.

If you're 22 or older and want to rent in style, you can also consider booking a car with Silvercar by Audi. They are available in 55 locations around the U.S. While their base models run at higher daily rate than other rental car services, young drivers can enjoy zero fees which may save you money in the long run anyways.

Another way you can avoid paying young driver fees is simply by not renting a car at all. While ride sharing trips can add up, you might be able to cover these through credit card perks. American Express offers two types of cards that have monthly credits you can apply towards Uber rides and food.

Lastly, there's always good ol' public transport such as Amtrak which is easily accessible across the West and East Coasts and buses. If you're traveling throughout Europe, definitely try out the robust rail system first, before you rent a car, and see if it suits your needs.