Renting a car is important, especially for tourists and travelers who don’t have or would rather not use their personal cars. Thankfully, there are myriads of rental cars that allow customers to rent their choice cars for an agreed fee.
As we have mentioned before, tourists and interstate/international travelers are the major customers of car rental companies. In recognition of this, there are car rental companies at major airports who make things more convenient for renters.
However, while this is a good move, there have been complaints about the extra fees that characterize airport car rentals. This has led to questions on whether it is possible to avoid airport car rental fees. We are happy to answer in the affirmative.
To add to that, we will also provide some workable tips that can help you avoid as many fees associated with airport rentals as possible.
Table of Contents
1. Avoid Airport Rentals
Now, this is one heck of an obvious tip, right? Well, we needed to mention it. If you are looking to avoid the ridiculous airport car rental fees, a great option is patronizing off-airport companies. While airport rentals offer convenience, you have got to count the cost and determine if it’s worth it.
Avoiding airport rental companies will definitely save you some money you can splash on other important stuff.
So, the deal is, airports charge rental companies very high concession fees, security charges and shuttle bus dues. The rental companies, in turn, take it out on customers, raising the price by about 20%.
If you are worried about the stress of renting at an off-airport rental company, don’t be. You can just order an Uber or any other active cab. The cabs certainly won’t charge as much as 20% extra. You can even get free public transportation if you are not in a rush.
You’d be surprised at how much you can save just by doing that.
If you are going to do this, it’s not a decision you make on the spur of the moment. Decide whether you are renting at the airport before even getting on the plane. That way, you can make reservations online and get in early.
2. Inspect Your Choice Car for Any Damage
Imagine getting back to the lot, and you have the attendant adding the cost of damages to your already exorbitant bill. Not cool, right? Well, the way to avoid that ever happening is to inspect the rental car for any damage before taking it off the lot.
If you find any damage, take some pictures and notify the front office immediately. That way, you can be sure you won’t get slammed with such spurious charges upon return.
3. Cancel Satellite Radio Charges
If you are settling with airport rental companies, you want to avoid as many unnecessary charges as you can. One is the satellite radio charge. Companies charge as much as $6 for that.
Truth is, you can do without it, especially if you have a smartphone. Instead of paying tens of dollars for satellite radio charges, how about you use your phone, curate your playlists, and arrange your favorite podcasts?
You can even connect said phone to a larger screen if your rental car has Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
4. Avoid Toll Charges
Toll roads exist all over the world and each time you use them, you’d have to pay a particular fee. However, when it’s a rental car, not only will the toll fees be charged to your account, but you’ll also have to pay for the transponder.
Basically, the rental company will charge you for everyday you use their transponder on a toll road. They call it “convenience fees”.
Good news is you can opt out of the company’s toll collection system and handle the payment on your own. If there is a transponder in the car, keep it shielded and use your own, if you have one.
If you don’t have one, there is the option of using mapping apps to discover routes without tolls. If that doesn’t work, you could just find cash tolls in your location and pay in cash.
Basically, do whatever you have to do to avoid the toll charges, especially from the airport car rental companies that already charge way too much.
5. Fill the Tank Yourself
Usually, when you rent a car from an airport car rental company, the company expects you to fill the car upon returning the car. However, if for some reason you don’t, some companies will charge what is called a “refueling fee,” which is often higher than the normal gas fee.
To avoid this, find a gas station within 10 miles of the airport location and fill it up. After doing that, demand a receipt showing that you filled the tank, and you did at a not-so-far gas station. Mission accomplished.
6. Avoid Insurance Charges
The concept of insurance is absolutely necessary, but you have got to ask yourself if you really need it for a rental car. That line of self-questioning is important if you are only renting the car for a few days.
If you think you can do without insurance, you can save yourself money by canceling any such charges on the contract.
You can also get insurance through other sources because chances are the rental company will charge higher than they should. These sources include third-party insurance firms, AAA, Credit Card rental insurance, and trade unions’ car rental insurance, amongst others.
Third-party insurance firms like Rental Cover offer insurance fees that are almost 50% lower than airport car rental insurance charges.
7. Get Your Own Car Seat
If you have a child or children, it’s okay to want to bring them with you on your tour, vacation, or errand. In the same vein, it’s also important for the kids to have child car seats available in the rental cars for their protection.
However, we have noticed car rental companies charge a lot more than necessary for the child car seat add-on. If you are renting for a week, some companies will charge as you as much as a hundred bucks for that.
The best way to avoid that is by buying or renting a child car seat on your own. You can get one for as low as $60. The other obvious option is bringing a car seat from your house if you have one.
8. Use One Driver
Many airport car rental companies allow you to list more than one person as a driver. Admittedly, this is a soothing option, as driving miles upon miles across a city every single day can get really tiring for just one person.
However, as you would probably expect, with these options come charges. Companies charge a “second-driver fee.” So, before finalizing a deal with the airport car rental company, you may want to find out what the fee is and if you’re comfortable paying it.
Also, if you are using a single driver, make sure the person is over 25 years old. That’s because some companies deduct extra charges if the driver is under 25. That probably has something to do with the assumption that people in that age demographic are not experienced enough.
In conclusion, while renting a car at the airport is quite convenient, it may not be worth it if you are on a budget. So, you can avoid airport rental companies and settle for the ones at an off-airport location. However, if you choose to settle for an airport rental, be sure to avoid as many extra charges as you can.