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Want to avoid spending money on taxis or having to rely on public transportation on your next vacation? Consider renting a car. You’ll save money and be able to go where you want when you want on your well-earned holiday.

Whether you’ve rented cars before or you’re new to the process, there are a few things you should know about car rental. With the following tips, accepting a car rental will be a great experience with no surprises.

Review the payment policies

Most agencies make renting a car super easy. But read the fine print when it comes to payment policies. If you use a debit card, not only are you charged an authorization amount, but you might also have a significant hold placed on your account. The hold can be hundreds of dollars. If the funds for your trip are in that account, you may not have access to them for a few days which could be disastrous.

With debit cards, some rental car companies check your credit score to ensure you’ll pay all charges and fees. So if using a debit card is your preference, be sure to review the company’s payment policies before proceeding.

Many credit cards offer rental car insurance

If you have auto insurance already, it will take precedence before any additional auto coverage. Know the details before you rent a car.

If you use a credit card to rent the car, it may include some level of rental car coverage. To use that, you have to pay for the entire rental on the credit card and you must decline all insurance offered at the rental counter. For those of you who don’t own cars, it’s a great feature. Sometimes it can even stand as primary insurance so long as no other coverage is in place.

You pay more for each driver

Keep the number of drivers on your trip to a minimum. Sure, you’d want to share driving responsibilities if you’re going on a long road trip or an outing with friends. Just know that some car rental companies charge an extra fee for each additional driver even if they don’t drive at all.

Some companies might waive such fees for business rentals or for spouses or partners. Check out the policies of any rental company you’re considering first before signing the contract. That way you’ll know exactly how much the rental will cost you.

It costs more for younger people to drive too 

Many don’t realize that most car rental companies require you to be 20 or 21 years old to even rent a car. And if you’re under the age of 25, it will cost more for the rental. It doesn’t even matter if the young adult has a clean driving record. To avoid that fee, don’t add them as an additional driver and don’t let them drive on the trip. 

Where not to rent a car

Where to rent a car is an important decision. Yes, you can rent cars at the airport and that’s convenient, right? It is, but it will cost more. The airports charge rental car companies fees to do business there and that charge gets passed along to you. You might save money by grabbing a taxi or Uber and going to the nearest rental shop that’s not on the airport grounds.

Bring your own extras

Car rental companies are happy to provide you with the extras you might need for your trip. If you want to save the convenience fees though, you might want to handle any extras yourself if possible.

For example, you can pay extra to rent a GPS from the car rental counter. But you might consider using a highly-rated map app on your phone instead for navigation. Satellite radio might be nice but you can also get an auxiliary cable and use your phone to listen to your Spotify playlist.

Many of the extra conveniences you can rent from the rental company charge a daily fee regardless of whether you used it or not. Read the fine print and see what you might have available for free first.