Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Baby You Can Drive My Car!

As many of you may know (and if you didn't know, now you do), I'm going to WDW in October for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend. There will be many firsts this trip. My first Food and Wine Festival, my first stay at a (well, 2) DVC properties...and my first time renting a car.

I thought about just using Disney transportation to get around, but quickly realized that wouldn't work so well. First, I will be visiting the resorts a lot this to have to wait for a bus to pick me up to take me one place only to have to transfer to another isn't the wisest idea. Plus, I plan on being out very late a few nights, what with the Food and Wine Finish Party Event and Mickey's Not So Scary and I don't want to wait for a bus to pick me up when I'm already gonna be EXHAUSTED. So with those things, plus a few others in mind, I figured, I should probably buck up the little extra money it's gonna cost me and be able to go where I want when I please.

So, therefore, this renting the car deal is one thing that I'm quite unskilled at. I've never needed to rent a car for myself, though we have rented a car for the family. I helped a bit when Brian rented a car the last time we were in Florida. But still, it's a whole different ballgame when it's you who's behind the wheel. I have researched all the other new things I will be experiencing with a frenzy, so I know a bit about them, but this renting a car business...I'm just so new. It makes me kinda nervous actually.

The good thing is that from researching from the last time the family got a rental car, I do have some tips that I want to pass along to you all!

First and foremost, I have noticed the two car companies that seem to have the better deals are almost always Alamo and Dollar. These two have consistently been lower every time I have tried running the numbers.

Which brings me to my second tip...keep running the numbers. My best advice is to get a price locked down, but then keep checking back. Car rental companies don't take your money up front (unless you decide to pay them up front so you can get a little bit of a discount) so you aren't locked in at your first go around. And in my estimation, the best time to recheck your car (if you don't want to do it all the time) is 6 weeks to a month before your trip. Often car companies will offer discounts for people in that time window. You also may want to check up to the week of your trip. I've noticed prices can go down even more then. But I still find the most significant discounts happen in that 4-6 week range.

Next, if the car rental company offers it, sign up for their car rental club. You can often get discounts and it's free to join in most cases. Also, sign up for their emails. They will alert you to any speicials that may be going on.

Which takes me to my final tip, to make sure you look for discounts. They are offered EVERYWHERE!!! You can check discounts that are running on each car rental company's website or my best suggestion is to get discount codes from either MouseSavers or The Magic For Less. Both often have great discount codes available that can really shave off the price. And you can often use more than one discount code per rental (barring in mind that they have to be a different type code...for example, you can use a corporate code and a coupon code and it will work, but you can't use two coupon codes.)

I hope these tips help you out in the case of ever needing a rental car. And while I'm confident I'm going to get the best deal...I know that I'm gonna be nervous the first time I sit my booty in that car and drive it off airport property.

Do you have any great tips for renting a car that I maybe missed? How have you gotten great deals? Make sure to let me know in the comments section.

As for my final tip...if you have a rental car, make sure you have change for tolls!


Tricia Furman said...

Another great source for discounts can be where you work. For instance, my husband travels for work & his company uses National exclusively so they have a great corporate rate. We are allowed to use this rate for our personal rentals so we pay what the "big guys" pay. It's a great price! Make sure this is okay with your company, though.

Hedy @ WDW Not Just for Kids said...

I'd suggest trying opaque bidding sites such as priceline and hotwire. While you don't know what brand you are getting until after you pay, and you can't cancel, you can save money.

Unknown said...

My last planned trip was scrapped because of the same transportation issues you are dealing with. The price of rentals have gone through the roof in the past couple of years. You could also try to find discounts through member based wholesale buying clubs such as BJ's or Sam's Club. And always make sure any vehicle damage is noted before you leave the rental lot!

Jessica @ Wanting Adventure said...

Those are really good ideas! I didn't realize you could possibly stack discount codes. Even though we usually use Disney transport, it's good to keep this in mind.

Unknown said...

Tricia: Thanks for the tip. That's a good one for sure!

Hedy: I was always worried I'd get like Cars R Us if I did something like that. Plus, I've found discounts that have made my car price (so far) cheaper than it would have been with one of those types of sites. And it allows me to rebook if I get it cheaper. So that's good. But it is a good tip for sure.

Shawn: I've noticed that car rental places are a little high, but I've found that the discounts are working to bring it to a more respectable level. And thanks for the reminder to check out the car for damage! I'll make sure to take pics and get everything recorded for sure!

Jessica: Yep. You can definitely stack discounts. Works like a charm for the most part. You just have to find the best discounts to stack.

Anonymous said...

Expedia and other companies like that will send you car rental specials. However, if you know the dates that you will be out late and visiting other resorts another idea would be to rent a car from WDW property for just the days you need it. When we visit, and we're going to Universal, we'll rent a car for the day instead of the entire week. It's cheaper than a cab for 5 people! I don't think there is a dollar rent a car, but do believe there is a Budget and Enterprise place on property.