How to Choose the Best Car Rental Deals – Tips and Tricks

Last Updated on 27/08/2023 by Edy Ragnoli

Learn what to look for and avoid when looking for the best car rental deals online. Discover my 12+ suggestions to find the cheapest rental car yet have a fast, easy, and reliable purchasing process with no surprise.

Travelling can give a long-lasting and memorable experience. Some people even choose to travel their whole life. The contemporary world offers you plenty of choices when it comes to transportation. Which one is better depends only on your taste, needs, and lifestyle. Are you a digital worker? Will you do a family or adventure holiday?

Whatever type of journey you are looking for, a comfortable way to move is a rental car. But there are countless offers on the market, and finding the right deal is challenging. So, learn how to choose the best car rental deals through these 12+ tips and tricks, and discover the best place to purchase your holiday travel car (either for a one-day or long-term holiday).

How to Find Good Car Rental Deals

1. Book Your Car Early

Like hotels, trains and airlines, car rental companies may offer lower prices and coupons at the beginning of the holiday season or in the first days of their promo campaign. But special offers and discounted tickets usually get sold very quickly. So, prices rise when you get closer to your date of departure.

The best way to find fare deals for your rental car is to book in advance. You don't need to worry because some car rentals offer free cancellation and modification. Sometimes, upfront payment too can grant a discount.

2. Find the Car Size That Works for You

Travels are all different. So ask yourself what kind of traveller you are. Are you on a work trip? Will you travel alone or with your family? Do you travel with companions and need 4-5 seats with four doors? Do you prefer a spacious car to make your trip more comfortable? How much space do you need for the car boot to store tour luggage or shopping bags?

These questions may sound obvious, but it's worth reflecting on them before booking your travel car. Whatever car rental you are looking for (budget, luxury, long-term, one-day, national, self-driving, etc.), your decision will influence both the comfort and renting costs.

3. Look Out for the Type of Gears You Are Familiar With

Are you used to driving cars with an automatic or manual transmission? If you prefer to stick with the first option, pay attention to the gear type as, in some countries, most cars available for renting have a manual transmission.

4. Find the Right Car Type for Your Travel

What's your travel destination? What kind of holiday will you have? Are you travelling with family or alone? Will you drive mainly on city roads or off-road during an adventure holiday? If you plan to stay in the city, a small car with an automatic transmission, such as a Mini Cooper, might be the right choice: it's easier to park and drive in the traffic.

Conversely, if you are leaving for a more adrenaline experience such as skiing, windsurfing, rock climbing or remote exotic countryside exploration, a 4X4 SUV model, such as a Jeep Grand Cherokee, is ideal for driving on rough roads. But first, check with the rental company whether you are allowed to take the car off-road.

5. Choose Car Rental Deals and Contracts With a Low Deposit

Look for rental companies that ask for the lowest security deposit. Such a deposit is refundable when you pick up the car. But always keep it in mind and make sure you have enough credit.

6. Pay Attention to the Mileage and Fuel Policy

One step to choosing the right rental car is discovering the included mileage and fuel policy:

  • Full to full. It's the most frequent fuel policy. Make sure you can fill up right before drop-off.
  • Pre-purchase. You pay for the fuel at picking up. It's ideal when you plan to drive a lot and drop the car off when the counter is closed.
  • Pre-purchase with a full refund. Contrary to the previous fuel policy, the company doesn't charge you any service fee.
  • Free tank. This is the best option ever. Unfortunately, it's rare. So, good luck.

A great way to find the best gas price anywhere is using a gas app such as GasBuddy.

You may be interested also in 14 Tips for Choosing the Right Hostel for Backpackers and Digital Nomads

7. Pick a Car Rental Company With a Score Above 8

Read the customer reviews to discover the rental company rate and clients' opinions. Search for them on the car rental website or customer reviews websites such as Trustpilot, Review Centre and social media.

8. Choose Car Rental Deals With Proper Assistance

When you travel by car, make sure you can receive support regardless of your location and time. Therefore, choose a car rental that offers 24/7 multilingual customer service.

9. Pay Attention to the Car Rental Places

When you need to pick up and drop off the car, make sure the location (either the airport or the city centre) is easy to reach and compatible with your travel schedule.

10. Minimise the Fees

The rental cost may look convenient at first sight. But always keep in mind the other expenses you may have in case of upgrades and add-ons (GPS, car seat, additional driver, frequent flyer miles programme, toll pass, insurance), changes, car accidents and theft.

For this reason, I suggest you get a car rental deal that includes free cancellation and modification, unlimited mileage, the airport surcharge, location fee, theft protection, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), Third-Party Liability (TPL).

11. Discover Whether the Car Rental Offers a Membership Discount

Like many people, you may already have a membership (or more than one). Sometimes, these memberships benefit from a partnership with car rental companies and offer coupons, discounts, and exclusive deals.

12. Check if There Are any Hidden Fees

Here again, you can get clues from reading the customer reviews, rental conditions and contracts.

13. Compare Car Rental Rates

Sometimes, you may find a more convenient deal if you book a car for a week rather than a few days. Sometimes, the price can change depending on the pick-up day and place.

Doing all these checks is chaotic and time-consuming. But there's a fast and efficient way: a car rental platform that does everything for you (from searching to comparison and purchase) and helps you save up to 70%.

You may be interested also in discovering How To Find Cheap Travel Accommodation in 2022

Finding the Best Car Rental Deal on Discovercars.com

There are many places and companies where you can rent a car for your journey (whether for holiday, work, or nomad life). My best choice for car rental deals is Discovercars.com because it gives me information about every listing worldwide while making it easy to compare every car and rental company.

Discovercars.com offers car rental deals from 145 countries, 21,800 locations, and over 500 partners (Hertz, Europcar, Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Sixt, to mention a few). The company speaks 17 languages so that you are never left alone.

Discovercars.com is not just an aggregator and rental deals comparison site. It's also a car rental reservation platform for peace of mind. It negotiates prices for large-volume orders so that it can secure lower prices.

Discovercars.com shows all information about the car rental deals to avoid any surprise:

  • Fees and extra costs
  • Car features (seats, bags, doors, transmission type, Air Con)
  • Fuel policy
  • Pick-up and drop-off location, instructions, and maps
  • Prepayment
  • The rental company, ratings, and rental conditions
  • Available optional extras such as GPS, additional driver, booster seat, and child seat.

In the last three years, Discovercars.com won 10 awards, such as the World Travel Awards, 2021 FT 1000, Inc. 5000 Europe, and Trustpilot – Top 10 Car Rental Agencies. I'm not surprised the company is a leader in online car rental.

When you search for a holiday car on Discovercars.com, the website shows you the detailed ratings for each deal. In particular, you can know about:

  • Overall value for money of your rental car
  • Ease of finding a rental desk or representative
  • The efficiency of the car rental agents
  • Time spent picking up the car
  • Time spent dropping off the car
  • Car cleanliness
  • Overall condition of the car.

At the date of writing, there are 232,000 reviews in total.

What the Customers Think About Discovercars.com

Travellers who used Discover Cars find it easy to navigate the website thanks to a good UX. Furthermore, booking a car is fast and efficient: you get plenty of offers and competitive prices compared to dealing with alternative brokers or directly with car rental companies.

The staff is friendly and responds promptly to the enquiries with helpful advice and support when you need assistance with the local company, a car accident, a refund or cancellation request, or lost keys.

In summary, Discovercars.com customers find it a good value for money and would make a purchase again.

You may be interested also in learning How to Find the Cheapest Flights to Any Location

How do you like to move when you travel? Whatever your destination, renting a car for your holiday gives you freedom and comfort but can also be stressful and pricey. Applying these tips on the Discovercars.com platform can help you find the best car rental deal avoiding hidden fees and surprises.

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