It’s always nice to save money, especially if it’s on something that can be very expensive. Hiring a car is the perfect example. Have you ever wondered how you can cut costs on car hire? Who hasn’t?! Some rental car companies will charge you over a $100 per day. That’s a significant expense on any holiday or business trip. But with a little research and planning you can significantly reduce your expenses.


Getting the best deal on a car rental is not as complicated as you might think. It’s a matter of you knowing how car rental agencies might charge you and figuring out how to avoid unnecessary costs. Here are our top ten tips to help you save money:


1. The first step is to check out the websites of rental car companies, where you can compare rates. If the website lacks the information you seek, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone to call the company. Don’t be afraid to match one company against the other, they will often drop prices to secure your business.


2. Car hire agencies often offer discount rates weekly, especially on weekends. You can find them online or find them due to association with your insurance company (think travel) or if you’re a member of AA (Automobile Association).


3. Be extremely wary of incredibly cheap rates. There are always caveats. Upfront charges may seem cheaper only to have extra charges tacked onto the end. There may also be restrictions on where you can take the car with extra charges levied if you break these restrictions.


4. Read the fine print very very carefully. There may an unexpected term or two in the agreement, and you must be forewarned about them. Did you know that not all companies offer unlimited mileage, and some actually charge you for returning the car too early? Well, now you do.


5. Check your car insurance policy, if you have one. Any damages due to accidents might already be covered, and you can confidently turn down the car hire agency’s request to pay extra for insurance.


6. Always ask for a car that satisfies you needs. Rental agencies would naturally want to encourage you to choose bigger, more expensive models. Just stick to your needs, and since agencies often run out of more economical models due to high demand, you might be lucky enough to bargain for a larger car at lower rates!


7. One little thing that might skip your mind is that car rental agencies will charge you for fuel if the car tank is empty when you return it, and their rates are significantly higher than the market price. Remember to fill up the tank before you return the car.


8. Be punctual while returning the car. Agencies will charge you extra for lateness. You may have to pay higher-than-normal rates for a full day. If you have good reason for being late, call them to explain.


9. Renting cars from airports are usually more expensive than other locations, due to additional costs such as taxes levied by local authorities and extra airport charges. To avoid these costs, try renting from the city and taking a shuttle from the airport. This can often be more cost effective.


10. And lastly, look for more ways to cut unnecessary costs. For example, if you are travelling with kids and have child safety seats of your own, you don’t need to rent one from the agency.


Renting a car is still a convenient and comfortable form of transport. It can give you the freedom that you may not have had otherwise in places far from home. Just keep in mind our tips and hopefully renting a car won’t break the bank!


Here’s a great list of the car rental agencies in popular NZ cities including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.

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