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Five Tips To Remember For Rental Cars

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While some prefer to travel by plane or train and merely use a rental car to get around, others enjoy a relaxing drive out to a (nearby) fun filled and exciting location.  But when dealing with rental cars and more importantly with the rental agency, remember these important tips.

1. The best rates are online!
While many people already know about online discounts, not everyone does.  In fact, most people still rent cars the old fashioned way by just calling ahead of time or walking inside the rental agency office.  But by booking your car rentals online you can save some money.    Furthermore, searching online lets you review all the details of your car, the schedule and the rate within an instant and compare it with alternate plans.

2. Reserve your car in advance!
Preparation pays in this instance and you usually are entitled to a small discount from the regular listed price if you book at least a week in advance.  Also, aim for a weekly rate rather than a daily rate.  Sometimes special deals give you weekends for free or for a much lower daily cost than if you just rent by the day.

3. Check your insurance plan and the rental contract!
Are you paying for extra car rental insurance that is already covered by your regular auto insurance?  Insurance for rental cars can be pricey-up to $20.00 a day or more.  So be sure you're not paying for something you already have under your current insurance policy. 

4. Use your brain!
While these few tips seem like common sense, it's easy to see why people can forget-and how car rental agencies can take advantage of the situation.  (1) Remember to ask for a spare key if possible.  Whatever you do, don't lock yourself out of the car.  (2) Fill up the car with gas after your trip; otherwise, the agency could charge you extra.  (3) Very carefully check the condition of the car and note anything unusual to the salesperson.  If the agency can blame some dent or knack on the car on you...and you honestly can't remember or made no previous note in the conversation...then you might have to pay. 

5. Know where you're going! 
Bring a map, a PDA system with mapping ability, and talk to someone who's been to the destination before.  Knowing where you're going ahead of time saves time, gasoline and money by ensuring an on-time return.  Cruise on and be safe!

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