Cheap car rental

As a location independent entrepreneur, I often rent cars as I travel the world. Over the years I have developed a system to always find the best deals for the most affordable cars and to NOT get ripped off by the car rental insurance. Below are my tips, with some links for countries I visit often.

Car rental insurance

First of all, the biggest savings you can achieve, no matter where you rent your car is by taking 2 minutes to arrange a continuous rental car insurance. Car rentals may offer cheap rental prices, but they usually compensate by charging ridiculous amounts of insurance per day. If a regular car insurance is around €100 per YEAR, then why would you pay €40 per DAY, just because it’s a rental car?

I have a year round rental car insurance that covers me all over the world for just €120 per year. If you rent cars for 4-5 days per year then this is already cheaper than paying by day.

With this insurance, when I rent a car, I pay only the rental basic fee (sometimes as low as €1 per day) and I don’t take the insurance offered by the car rental. My credit card gets blocked for the deposit, but if I get into an accident, my yearly insurance will reimburse me.

Cheap cars

Just like Booking.com for hotel rooms, there are sites where car rentals offer their ‘left over’ cars at very competitive rates.

There are international sites like Economybookings.com and holidayers.com. Both offer cars from reputable companies such as Europcar, Herz, Thrifty, Dollar, National, as well as local providers. Personally I prefer the sites specific for one country, because they have more local providers and knowledge. Just google for the country you will visit and ‘cheap car rental’ and usually these sites will pop up. These are the ones I use most:

Small print

Since these cheap car rentals don’t make any money on the rentals, they tend to have weird rules and fines that provide them some income. Here is how to often hidden expenses.

  • If you return the car more than an hour late, the rental company will charge you an extra day at the full price, not the discounted price you got through the ‘deal’ website.

  • Some will even charge you a ‘late pick up’ fee, which-of course- can be contested.

  • Choose full/full for the gas options, and return the car full of gas to avoid being charged a ridiculous ‘refuelling charge’.

  • Be aware that there are ’on airport’ car rentals and ‘off airport’ ones. The last ones require you to take a shuttle bus to the rental office to pick up your car.

  • No changes to your contract are allowed after booking.

  • Most of these websites have no (or very bad) customer service. The car rental where you pick up the car will refer you to the booking agent and they will be difficult to contact if you have a problem.

  • Having said that: if you only pay €10 or 20 for a weeks car rental, most of the time you can/should take these hiccups for granted.

Rent a wreck

Not interested in a shiny new car? Not embarrassed to be seen in older models? Not afraid of driving a car without air conditioning?

Many countries have car rentals offering old cars at very reasonable prices. No fuss over that extra scratch, or about some mud on the tires… 🙂

Google Rent-a-Wreck for the location you are visiting

In Curacao: Mazdeal.

Earn miles

If you always pay your rentals with the same creditcard, you may earn miles that can be used for more travel.

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