You can usually get a much better price by renting well in advance of your trip, especially if you reserve in a low season and travel in a high season
Airfare sites often have very good deals on rental cars--also places like PriceLine and Hotwire (without the kinds of risks involved in using them for airfare or hotel)
Rent the smallest car you can fit into; sometimes you'll get a free upgrade, and you'll always save on the price
A full week is often cheaper than five days
Be careful to coordinate pick-up and return times so as not to be charged for an extra day
Often, the Collision Damage Waiver is redundant with your regular car insurance. Check before you rent, and save up to $10 per day if you don't need it
Price several companies; the rates often vary quite a bit
Ask about AAA, AARP, student, or other discounts
About The Author: Shel Horowitz, author of the renowned e-book The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook, has published a new Monthly Frugal Fun Tip every month for seven years. This article was originally published as one of those tips, and is used with permission. Shel is also an expert on frugal, ethical, and effective marketing. Please visit Shel's site at http://www.frugalfun.com for hundreds of articles on living cheaply and well.
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By syd (Guest Post)
Awhile back, I noticed if you asked about adding the extra driver (even though it was a spouse) they would say it was so much extra per day. When you say, is it correct that the spouse is free ... they say yes! No extra charge.
So watch it ... car rentals are looking out for their revenue!