Check multiple car rental companies, as well as Turo, to find the most affordable option for your travels.
INDIANAPOLIS — Money is being left on the table if you’re not shopping around for your next rental car.
While prices are down year over year, NerdWallet travel expert Sally French said they are up from pre-pandemic prices.
“Expect to pay more than 50% more than you did in 2019 for that rental car,” French said.
French added that booking your car last-minute might actually save you money.
“Rental cars that are booked one week in advance tend to be 13% cheaper, on average, than rental cars booked three months in advance,” French said.
When it comes to shopping around, compare websites, credit cards and memberships.
Traveler Kristy Gladfelter found that her credit card offered the best deal.
“About $40 I saved doing it through American Express,” Gladfelter said.
WTHR compared the price of a rental minivan with Budget over the Fourth of July weekend, picking it up and dropping it off at Orlando International Airport.
The lowest price we found at the time was through Costco Travel at $356.
On the higher end, AAA’s website had a minivan for $458.
In between those price points, the Budget site was $403, AARP was $379 and American Express was $366 to rent a minivan.
Keep in mind, you can buy an AARP membership at any age for the discounts.
If you have already booked a rental car, sites like Autoslash can track prices for you.
Enter your reservation information on their site and they’ll send you a note if the price drops.
Most times, you can rebook the same reservation at no extra cost.
It is wise to regularly check prices, as they can fluctuate daily.
It may also save you money to pick up the car at a location separate from an airport.
As for car insurance, your personal policy or travel credit card may cover the vehicle.
But rental car companies aren’t the only game in town if you need to get around.
Turo lets you rent cars from everyday people like Grant Thompson.
“For the most part, everybody’s largely respectful of my vehicles,” Thompson said.
Thompson, who lives in Indianapolis, bought and listed four cars on Turo as a side hustle.
“Something outside of my traditional nine-to-five job that allows me to showcase my talents and abilities outside of the workforce,” Thompson said.
In April, Thompson told us he grossed $3,638 on all four cars.
After his car payments, insurance and other expenses, Thompson said he pocketed about half of that money.
“I’ve never come out-of-pocket one time for a payment,” Thompson said.
We ran that same Fourth of July weekend in Orlando through Turo, and the price with all of the fees came to $188 — which is about half of the price of the cheapest rental car company at that time.
However, in other situations, we found Turo to be more expensive.
We’re here to help you know what options exist so you can make the best decision for your travel needs.
Based in New York, Stephen Freeman is a Senior Editor at Trending Insurance News. Previously he has worked for Forbes and The Huffington Post. Steven is a graduate of Risk Management at the University of New York.