RENTAL CAR RATES
Someday in the not to distant future I hope to write a travel
referring to September 11. Terrorism crippled the airline
months and forced cruise lines, hotel chains and car rental
reevaluate the way they do business. And the news, when it
comes to car
rentals is not good for the consumer. The industry has found
ways to tack on fees and cut services to drive up prices.
Rental car prices decreased significantly in the immediate
September 11. Car rental companies downsized their fleet by
about 30 percent
as demand slowed to a trickle. Most rental-car firms have
yet to increase
the size of their fleets. As we enter the heavily traveled
season, simple supply and demand would suggest rates will
increase, and in
fact, they have already started to rise. If you've made travel
plans for the
summer and need to rent a car, make those reservations NOW.
When renting a car, make sure you ask about all the fees
and taxes before you
leave home. Most reservations agents will conveniently neglect
to tell you
about those nasty surcharges which could add as much as 50
percent to your
Here are just some of the fees and surcharges to look out
concession fees, licensing fees, sales taxes, stadium or convention
fees and transport fees. And if that wasn't bad enough, some
authorities have started to levy a security surcharge. This
surcharge is for
the cost of storing vehicles in off-airport locations. According
Reports, passengers flying into Jacksonville, Florida pay
an additional $2.70
per rental and those landing in Toledo, Ohio pay an additional
airports around the country are expected to follow suit.
You thought I was done mentioning fees. Well here's another
one that will
make you cringe. Most companies have minimum age requirements
to rent a car.
However, several states have laws on the books making it mandatory
vehicles to military members as young as 18, or where corporate
call for allowing any employee of a particular company to
rent a car provided
they have a legal drivers license. Avis charges a $110 daily
New York if they rent to anyone under the age of 25.
Here's one more for you, and I promise I'll stop: how about
fees. If you and your spouse plan to drive the car, it could
cost you an
additional $25 per day. Prices vary from company to company
and location to
location, so make sure you ask.
To save money do a little comparison-shopping before making
Rates for the same class of car for the same number of days
significantly from one company to the next. In a Consumer
travelers picking up a car at LAX on a three-day rental paid
Enterprise. The same class of vehicle through Alamo ran a
that's double the price. Make sure you include the Internet
in your search.
Often you can find web-only promotions that a reservations
clerk or your
travel agent might not have access to.
Other money saving tips include:
1. Catch a cab to your hotel and rent a car from a downtown
location instead of the airport.
2. If you belong to an organization such as AARP, AAA or
you're in the
military make sure to mention that when you make the reservation.
3. Find out if your personal auto insurance company, credit
homeowners insurance covers you for insurance purposes. If
so, decline the
coverage offered by the rental car company.
4. Do not under any circumstances allow the rental car company
your gas tank. Several companies now offer something called
prepurchase option" (FPO), where you buy the gas in advance
astronomically high price. Not only does your wallet take
a significant hit,
if you don't use all the gas, which by the way the rental
car company is
counting on, you've just purchased gas for the next renter
and made the
rental car company a nice little profit.
5. And lastly, make absolutely sure you fill-up the car before
Some companies have been known to charge two or three times
the market rate
for gas to fill-up a rented vehicle.