by Trish Williams
Renting a Car on a Budget
Sometimes you have to go out of town, but you know your old clunker of a car won’t make it. The brakes are getting bad. The car needs a new fuel pump, and it’s always overheating. After five minutes of thinking about it, you determine driving your car out of town is absolutely out of the question. What next? “How about one of those budget rentacar places?” You ask yourself.
If you’re on a budget, you might think that renting a car will cost too much, yet today’s budget-conscious consumer is discovering that places like Budget Rentacar, Avis, Alamo, Hertz and many other car rental services have good deals, especially with most major credit card companies. In fact, if you’ve checked your credit card bills lately, you may have even seen those coupons for car rental specials. For the sake of this article, I will use the term “budget rentacar” to refer to any rental car service.
Renting a vehicle to travel a few hours a way can bring peace of mind unlike anything else. Most budget rentacar centers offer daily or weekly specials. Some have special weekend getaway offers that can save you lots of money in comparison to flying, taking the greyhound, or the bus. Plus, when you rent your own car, you can travel at your own pace and stop at your convenience.
Most budget rentacar centers also offer coupons in the back of the yellow pages and in consumer coupon booklets. The best thing to do is shop around to see which place offers the best deals. You want to make sure they honor your coupon, if you have one. You want to ask if they have any specials. Be sure to ask a lot of questions to obtain the best deal. Compare the cost of a compact car to a midsize. For a few more dollars, you may be able to upgrade to something slightly classier, more comfortable, and roomy. Ask if they have special deals for nonsmokers, and if you’re a senior citizen, be sure to ask if they offer senior discounts. Speaking of senior citizens, AARP also provides its members with discounts on rental cars.
What are some of the rules, regulations or restrictions you might encounter when renting a budget rentacar? Some rates are based on a Saturday night overstay. If you’re renting a car for a weekend, you usually have to pick it up at noon on Thursday and must return the car by noon on Monday. Rates are usually non-discountable and cannot be combined with most coupons. There may be an age requirement (around 25) so be sure to check if you’re younger. Also, they may have high taxes, insurance and gas costs, so be sure to ask a lot of questions and read the contract.
Budget rentacar centers are conveniently located all over major cities. Some places will even deliver a car to your door. A great place to to obtain information online, on daily and weekly specials for major rentacar centers, is www.rentacar.com. This website features great deals and even provides the cost of car rental per city
Trish "Ariala" Williams is a freelance writer and marketing consultant who has published numerous articles in magazines and newspapers across the country. She also works on web design, web content, graphics, promotions and copywriting.