It is generally recommended to book a rental car at least two weeks in advance. This gives you the best chance of getting the car you want at the best possible price. However, that may not be enough if you’re travelling – especially if you’re flying abroad.
If you’re travelling, there are way too many things to think about, and the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not you’ve got a car. All that planning can be very stressful, so it’s always best to be as prepared as possible.
That’s why we’ve put together this series of questions that should help you make an informed decision about how far ahead of a trip should you book your rental. Let’s begin!
When are you travelling?
If you had to take a wild guess, when do you think is the best time to book your rental car?
The answer, of course, depends on when you’re travelling. If you’re planning a trip during the summer or winter holidays, it’s essential to book early. These are the busiest travel periods and rental companies know that demand will be high. They will often hike up prices and increase minimum rental periods.
So, if you’re planning a trip during the summer or winter, it’s best to book your rental car at least three months in advance. This will ensure you get the car you want at a reasonable price.
Where are you travelling to?
First and foremost, it’s not the same as renting a car in Argentina and Germany, so, you kind of have to tailor your research according to your destination.
For instance, in some countries, it is way more expensive to book a car at the last minute than in others. In Argentina, for example, car rental rates during high season can go up by as much as 30% if you don’t book in advance. On the other hand, Germany is known for being a bit more flexible when it comes to pricing, so you might not have to worry as much about booking ahead of time.
Which company are you interested in renting from?
We don’t know who needs to hear this, but not all rental companies are created equal. In fact, some of them are way more expensive than others, even if they’re offering the same service.
It’s always a good idea to compare prices from different rental companies through platforms like CarNgo before making a decision. This way, you can be sure you’re getting the best possible deal. It’s also worth checking if there are any discounts or promo codes available.
What’s the purpose of your trip?
Not exactly a deal breaker, but we feel it’s safe to say that a camping trip and a business trip aren’t the same and don’t require the same vehicle.
If you’re planning a road trip with your friends or family, you might want to consider renting an SUV or a van. These types of vehicles offer more space and can be more comfortable for long journeys. On the other hand, if you’re travelling for business, you might want to go for a smaller car that is easier to park or a luxury sedan if you want to leave a lasting impression.
Either way, any of these are worth booking in advance.
Do you need any extras?
This is where things can get a bit tricky. You see, when it comes to renting a car, the base price is only the beginning. In most cases, you will be charged extra for things like GPS, child seats, or insurance.
These extras can add up quickly and make your rental more expensive than you anticipated. So, it’s always a good idea to ask about them in advance and factor them into the price.
Do you want insurance?
This is probably something you won’t actually need – at least not from the rental company. You see, rental companies’ insurance policies aren’t the best deal out there. In most cases, your personal car insurance will cover rental cars and you’ll basically spend $50 or more on nothing. And, we really mean nothing. Some of these “policies” cover absolutely nothing. It’s just a way for rental companies to make some extra money.
Of course, we’re not saying you should never get insurance when renting a car. If you’re going to a country with high insurance rates or you’re planning to do something risky (like driving on an unpaved road), it might be a good idea to get some sort of coverage.
What is your budget for renting a car?
This is probably the most important factor when it comes to deciding whether or not to book in advance. You see, the earlier you book, the more likely you are to get a discount.
However, that doesn’t mean you should always book your rental car as early as possible.
However, in some cases, it might make more sense to wait until closer to your trip. For example, if you’re travelling during the low season, you might find better deals by waiting until closer to your trip.
Also, if you have some points on your credit card, you might be able to use them to get a big discount on a rental car.
So, what’s the best time to book your rental car?
As you just saw, it really depends on your situation.
However, if you really want to be sure, try to book as early as possible. Three to six months in advance is usually a good rule of thumb.
This way, you can take advantage of early bird discounts and have more time to compare prices.
Of course, booking your rental car too far in advance has its own risks. For example, you might have to pay a cancellation fee if your plans change or the price of your rental goes down.
So, it’s really up to you to decide whether or not to book in advance. Just make sure you weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.