One-way car rental is great because it allows you to pick a car at one location and drop it off at a distinct location. It is a convenient way of traveling over long distances since you do not have to return the car to the rental office where you picked it. However, that minimized cost may mean paying much higher rental fees than someone taking a car on a round-trip.
Often, the car rental fees include a “drop-off fee” which significantly inflates the overall cost. Sometimes, the rental company may over-inflate the one-way fee compared to the case where you pick the car and drop it off at the exact location.
Luckily, you can get the cheapest one way car rental by taking specific steps. This article proposes several strategies to help you get the cheapest rates when renting a car one-way. Keep reading to learn everything necessary about one-way car rental.
The 12 Ways to Get the Cheapest One Way Car Rental
1. Take Time to Shop Around
Why would you want to make a booking with the first car rental you come across? Just because one company offers a $200 drop-off fee from San Diego to Los Angeles doesn’t mean it is the most affordable. By scouring the internet, you are likely to come across other companies with lower drop-off fees than big companies.
If you have no idea how to get the best deals, you can use comparison sites like Expedia to get the best deals anywhere. While at it, remember to compare other aspects of the company, like convenience and customer service, before booking with them. Otherwise, the cheaper car rental company might be offering bogus customer services.
2. Hunt for Discounts
You can drastically reduce car rental prices by applying a discount coupon or code while booking online. Most discount coupons significantly slash car rental prices, helping you pay the bare minimum. Still, several car rental companies offer attractive deals at a particular time of the year, especially during the holidays.
For example, on a long-distance drive between New York and Florida, you may end up paying only a fraction of the original cost. If you are renting a car from a city location to the airport, you may end up paying lower rates than even taking a taxi. So, it helps if you are always on the lookout for good deals and discounts.
3. Go for Prepaid Booking
Did you know that the best way to get the cheapest one-way car rental is to pay as you make the booking? Prepaid booking can help you save hundreds of dollars when renting a car from any location. It is cheaper than on-spot cooking, which could result in a tremendous escalation of the rental costs.
Besides, prepaid booking is convenient and can be done from virtually anywhere using an internet-connected device. Once you have booked the car, you can specify your pickup point so that the car is delivered to you. That means you do not have to make your way to the car rental office to pick the car. Can you find another convenient way to rent a one-way car?
4. Consider the Less-Known Rental Companies
The allure of the big-name car rental companies can lead you to pay escalated fees. That’s why you should consider getting a car from the smaller, less-known companies. But you won’t know which ones to look for without searching. For example, you could visit a home improvement store or repair shop, where you can access a pickup truck for rent.
The good thing with this option is that the pickup trucks go for fixed day rates and not the ever-changing pricing models in car rental companies. The price for this option may vary depending on the location of the car rental shop, so you should consider that.
5. Always Settle for the Cheapest Economy Car
It is excusable to rent a larger car if you’re traveling with a large group of friends or family members. However, if you’re alone, you can find the cheapest one way car rental by booking the cheapest available car option. Of course, the car rental company may entice you to upgrade to a bigger car at a higher fee.
Don’t fall for the trap! If you had prepaid for a cheaper car and arrived at the car rental to find only high-end models, you would end up with a better car. When that happens, the car rental company won’t ask you to pay an extra fee. If you get an economy car, then you can have one for which you had paid. And, it may cost you much less to fuel the car!
6. Get Membership Discount
If you have an AAA membership, you can enjoy affordable car rental deals, helping you reduce the cost of a one-way car. When you get a discount on account of your AAA membership, it is often together with any other deals from the company.
So, it does no harm to ask if you can enjoy a discount because of your membership. It could be anything from AAA, AARP, your employer, Groupon, military (veteran), hotel loyalty program, credit card, or airport loyalty program. You never can tell the kind of doors your membership can open.
7. Fill the Car Yourself
Most car rental companies require their clients to return the vehicle with a full tank of gas. If you fail to do that, the company may ask you to pay an exorbitant extra fee for fuel. So, why don’t you drive into a gas station and refuel the car before taking it to the designated drop-off point?
It is advisable to avoid fuelling at gas stations near the airport as they charge exorbitant prices. When you drop off the car, the company staff inspects the tank, and if they find it filled with fuel, they can exempt you from any extra charges.
8. Forfeit the Insurance
Before accepting a car rental deal, you should ask if the car rental company includes insurance in the price. If you accept their insurance, you may end up paying extra to rent the car. So, instead of falling into the insurance trap, check if your credit card includes the required insurance cover.
You can get the cover you need by using the card to pay for the car if it does. Sometimes, your usual car insurance extends coverage to a rented car if you are driving. By avoiding the insurance cover from the rental company, you may end up saving a lot on the rental fee.
9. Skip the Company’s Upgrade Offers
Apart from offering to give you a better vehicle at an extra fee, the car rental company may present several add-ons. Unfortunately, each of the upgrades you take is likely to increase the car rental fee even further.
Therefore, you should pay attention to the offers at hand and decline those you can. Some of the standard upgrades you may get from a car rental company include GPS and frequent flier miles.
Why would you want to pay for a GPS when you can use the one on your phone? If you choose to use your phone, you only need a charger since GPS, and other internet-operated features tend to consume the battery too fast. If you want to avoid exorbitant data charges, pick a paper map and get going.
10. Pay Toll Pass in Cash
Cars in cities with many highway tolls come with passes on the windshield. When the car passes the toll booth, a machine automatically reads the pass, saving the driver time. Vehicles at the car rental company often have toll passes too.
However, using the toll pass option means paying much more in tolls than if you had just driven the car and paid in cash or with your credit. Some car rental companies even have a daily toll fee regardless of whether or not you use the pass. So, it helps if you decline that option and offer to pay the tolls out of your pocket.
11. Carry Your Baby Car Seat
Did you know that car rental companies treat baby car seats as extras? If you show up at a car rental office with your baby without a car seat, the company would want you to pay an extra fee. Why do that when you’re looking around for the cheapest one-way car rental? If you cannot bring a car seat from home, buy one. You are likely to find a more affordable used car seat, thus helping you save on car rental costs.
12. Take Photos of Dents When You See Them
When you arrive at the designated drop-off point, the car rental company takes time to inspect the car for any dents. Therefore, before driving off with the car, be sure to take photos of all the existing dents, scratches, and cosmetic flaws.
When you return the car, these photos can prove that you weren’t the cause of the imperfections on the car. If you drive off with the car without taking the photos, the company may pin all the damage on you and ask you to meet the repair cost. On top of the car rental fees, you might have to pay a lot of money.
Benefits of One-Way Car Rentals
One of the best ways to rent a car when traveling long distances is to take the one-way option. You can enjoy several benefits once you find a reliable, legitimate, and affordable car rental company.
It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling for work or pleasure a one-way car rental is one of the best ways to travel. With this option, you have a convenient way to travel, without having to come back to the office where you picked the car. The following are the benefits of one-way car rental:
One of the top benefits of one-way car rental is convenience. First, you get to pick the car yourself or receive it from the company’s driver. You then drive it to your destination without worrying about airline delays or flight cancellations, and other issues. When traveling between New York and Florida, you can pull up anywhere along the road and relax.
Besides, you get to enjoy the sights and sounds of all the places you pass along the way. You can quickly and conveniently take the car to the designated drop-off point when you arrive at your destination.
With a one-way car, you have one of the most effective forms of flexible transportation. That’s because of how it allows you to leave the car at the designated drop-off point and not where you picked it.
One-way car rental is so flexible that it makes it possible for you to enjoy your holiday with family or friends once you drop the car where you agreed with the rental company.
Pricing is one of the most significant factors when choosing a rental car. Compared to taking a flight to your destination, a one-way car rental is highly affordable.
If you take advantage of the different ways of getting a rental car discussed above, you can enjoy cheaper rates. In the end, you might discover that renting a one-way car is cheaper than one in which you make a round-trip.
4. Saving Time
Imagine how inconvenient it would be to drive to your destination and return the car to the pickup point. Since you won’t have to do that with a one-way car rental, you can save time by a great deal. With a one-way car, you don’t have to stick to a strict route. You can detour to any destination you want if you return the car to the intended drop-off point.
Now that you know how to get the cheapest one-way car rental using the methods above, what are you waiting for? By hunting for the best deals online, opting to pre-book, choosing less-known car rental companies, or settling for the cheapest economy cars, you can enjoy the best prices.
You can also get membership discounts, fill the car yourself, forfeit insurance, skip upgrades, or pay toll passes in cash. Other options include carrying your baby car seat or taking photos of dents on the car before driving off.