As the colder months are here, some of us at The Weimer Group are planning trips to an Island for sun, fun and the beach. Others are looking too, to the warmer lower 48 states for choice of destination. When being away, you don’t always want to stay within the parameters of your hotel, so it’s often that you will book a car rental.
Did you know, the average price of a car booked on Hotwire last year, according to the NY Times, was about $27 per day, down 3 percent compared with 2011. Despite more consolidation in the car rental industry – Hertz purchased Dollar and Thrifty last fall and Avis Budget Group is buying Zipcar –consumers may not get hit with the higher prices that often accompany these deals. The trade publication Auto Rental News recently predicted “a ground war on rates” in 2013 as the major car rental companies compete with independent brands like Sixt and Advantage, especially for airport rentals.
It is suggested that you recheck your rate often, but book early. When booking early most car rental sites are placing your reservation on hold, so that there isn’t a transaction posted to your credit card immediately. And you will usually have up until 48-24 hours prior to your rental date to cancel the reservation. Therefore, shopping around is feasible and you can often obtain a lower rate. Kayak.com is a great search tool, because it has recently added a “map view” option that will make it easier to locate various neighborhood dealers and the airport to determine if it worth traveling farther from you home or hotel to pick up a cheaper car.
It has been found that Hotwire tends to have the best deals, while CarRentals.com displays more of the independent companies others don’t always include in their results, like Ace, Advantage, Fox, Payless and Sixt. According to the NY Times, most travel sites don’t work with all of these companies, and some don’t even include all the major brands. For instance, Orbitz doesn’t show results for Enterprise, National or Alamo, while Expedia doesn’t include Avis or Budget, so don’t assume you are seeing all of your options if you search only one site.