Rent a car…without getting ripped off

Consumer Reports has the key to unlock the best approaches in renting a car.

In 2016, Jon Linkov of Consumer Reports wrote the best take on renting vehicles that I’ve ever read. It still holds up today. His highlights:

* SHOP ONLINE.

Not the big auto rental companies, but instead, shop the travel sites Orbitz, Expedia and Kayak. Linkov also said you should consider CarRentals.com.

“Another choice you’ll see is to pre-pay with your booking or pay the day of pickup,” Linkov added. “Pre-paying can net a big discount, but check the cancellation terms. You want to be able to back out painlessly if your plans change—or you find a better deal.”

* SKIP THE AIRPORT.

“You might get a big break, perhaps as much as 50 percent off, by renting downtown, or in a suburb, rather than grabbing a car at the airport,” wrote Linkov. “One possible option, if you go for an off-airport deal, is to check out the cost of a one-way rental. This is where you drop the car off at the airport on the return leg. That may give you the best of both worlds.”

* JOIN THE CLUB…OR CHECK YOUR CREDIT CARD

Linkov said AAA and AARP offer discounted car rentals to their members. He also recommended checking with wholesale clubs like Costco and with your credit card issuer. Many consumers don’t realize their credit card companies may offer auto rental discounts as card benefits.

Linkov also wrote that weekend rates are typically the most competitive. Renting at a weekly rate may also cut the cost.

Again, for Linkov’s full post, please click here.

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