When To Book A Rental Car To Lock In A Low Rate

Picture this: your bags are packed, your flight is booked, and your itinerary is jam-packed with exciting adventures. However, you quickly realize you're still missing one thing ... the rental car. From hidden fees to surge prices, limited availability, and pages upon pages of contracts, renting a car right before your trip often feels like you're signing away your peace of mind — and then some. 

So, what's the secret? According to data collected by Rhino Car Hire, the magic really happens when the calendar hits the four- to six-month mark before your trip. Varying according to supply and demand, prices generally tend to hit their lowest point during this time, meaning you'll have a better chance of snagging a good deal and still choosing the vehicle of your choice.

With a little strategic planning, you can secure a stellar deal on your rental car, ensuring a smooth and cost-friendly journey that won't hit the brakes on your upcoming travels.

Is it cheaper to rent a car in advance or last minute?

When renting a car, the earlier you book, the better. However, although some companies allow you to scout for car rental prices as early as a year in advance, booking this far ahead won't always get you the best deal. Why? With a whole 365 days to successfully rent out their entire fleet, rental companies don't have to worry about competition yet — which means they're more likely to hike up their prices. Whatever you do, though, don't be tempted to put off renting your car until the last minute! As pickup dates approach, prices are more likely to increase rather than decrease, and vehicles are more likely to run out, making early bird bookings a better (and safer) bet.

The post-pandemic world has reshaped the travel landscape and, by extension, car rental services. When the world came to an abrupt pause in 2020, rental agencies offloaded hundreds of thousands of vehicles for liquid assets and to sustain business processes amidst strict guidelines, travel restrictions, and consumer disinterest in the industry. Today, with fewer cars in its arsenal and high demand for vehicles, rental agencies have resorted to increased prices as a solution.

Finding the right rental car company

With plenty of competitive sites and companies, picking the right rental car company is about savvy navigation and prioritization. First, consider their cancellation policy. In a world of ever-changing travel plans, flexibility is gold. Look for companies that offer free cancellation or rescheduling close to your pickup date, and make sure to peruse the details of their refund policy. Not all companies have the same cancellation policy, and understanding these nuances can prevent surprises down the line.

The ideal rental company will also have various vehicles to meet different needs and preferences. Whether you need a compact car for city navigation or a spacious SUV for a family road trip, find a rental company that will have you covered in terms of needs, wants, and likes when the time comes to pick the right rental car for your trip.

Lastly, don't forget to scrutinize their insurance details, especially if you're under 25 and looking to lessen car rental fees. Ensure that the company provides comprehensive insurance that covers most scenarios — from minor accidents to major mishaps — and ask for a clear, all-inclusive quote that includes taxes, fees, and insurance costs. This way, you'll know exactly what you're paying for.