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The Scoop on Saving More on Rental Cars


Photo: Rick Lovers

We’re all for smart spending when it comes to travel, and the Toronto Star‘s recent article on how to “avoid getting squished” on the road has some decent tips—and a couple head-scratchers.

We were horrified that the article recommended prepaying for gas in some cases. That is always a ripoff—car rental companies charge a premium for this. Don’t do it! Instead, ask the car-rental attendant the location of the nearest gas station and fill up yourself.

A tip that was missing is to play around with your pick-up and drop-off times when reserving online, to see if the price changes. We’ve saved more than $50 on a weekend rental just by picking up and dropping off one hour earlier.

Tips well worth following include checking with your rental company to find out what “compact” or “mid-size” really mean. Different car rental companies may rent the same exact car in different categories. And in some cases the difference may not be size at all, but features. We’ve rented a brand-new compact car that didn’t have automatic windows or locks (you needed to spring for a mid-size for those “perks”). Other features that may only come with higher grade vehicles include cruise control and auxiliary jacks.

See all the tips on cheaper (and smarter) car rentals.



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