Tricks to take the sting out of fifty% greater automobile rental costs

When making your journey price range, don’t assume that lodging and airfare will probably be your largest expense. Now, greater than ever, rental vehicles are shaping as much as be one of many largest — and stubbornly excessive — elements of individuals’s trip budgets.

Whereas airfare and lodging costs are definitely close to all-time highs, rental vehicles are among the many largest worth will increase of all journey bills. When evaluating costs for July 2022 versus July 2019 (the final regular summer season pre-pandemic), lodge costs are up 7% , based on the newest set of Client Worth Index information launched in August 2022. Airfares are up 16%. However rental vehicles are up a whopping 48%.


Like most journey prices, rental automobile costs sharply dropped in April and Could 2020 as individuals started calling off holidays to remain at house. However issues started to show round at first of 2021 when costs started rising each month, constructing as much as a report excessive set in July 2021.

Street journeys have been particularly sizzling that summer season (thus excessive demand), however different components — together with a worldwide semiconductor scarcity and tourism trade labor shortages — contributed to low provide. In truth, leisure and hospitality sector employment stays 7.8% beneath pre-pandemic ranges, based on an evaluation of Bureau of Labor Statistics information from the U.S. Journey Affiliation.

Costs have barely dipped from the July 2021 report, however they’re nonetheless far above pre-pandemic pricing.


NerdWallet performed an evaluation of 360 rental automobile reservations to raised perceive the most cost effective methods to lease. A few of the findings could assist you save in your subsequent rental automobile.

Among the many rental automobile corporations within the evaluation, Enterprise is often the most cost effective, whereas Nationwide is most costly. The evaluation additionally discovered that last-minute leases are usually cheaper than these booked months prematurely. And also you’ll nearly all the time save by reserving at an off-site rental automobile location versus on the airport.

That information may also help you higher perceive the most cost effective locations to guide, however typically reserving from a selected location or firm is likely to be non-negotiable with the character of your journey. These different methods can nonetheless assist you save:

— USE TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS: Some journey bank cards provide rental automobile insurance coverage as a part of their advantages, although it might exclude sure kinds of costly vehicles or leases in some international locations. When it’s relevant although, it could possibly prevent cash on the additional insurance coverage you may need in any other case signed up for on the counter.

— JOIN RENTAL CAR LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Advantages range based mostly in your stage of elite standing, although some ranges can embody free upgrades and waived charges. You would possibly even get computerized standing by a bank card. But even the entry-level, free-to-join tiers can embody perks like precedence traces.

— RESERVE NOW AND PAY AT THE COUNTER: Many rental automobile corporations provide the choice to pay on the counter. Paying upon pickup has two main advantages versus paying upfront: First, ought to you want to cancel your journey, you take away the headache of making an attempt to get a refund because you received’t have put down any cash anyway. Second, if charges drop, you’ll be able to all the time cancel and rebook at a decrease fee.


Throw in excessive gasoline costs, and highway journeys is likely to be one of the crucial costly methods to journey lately. Listed below are some methods to chop again on prices.

— USE APPS TO FIND CHEAP GAS: Apps like GasBuddy monitor native gasoline costs and may also help you discover the most cost effective gasoline stations alongside your route.

— CONSIDER AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE: With an electrical automobile, you’ll keep away from paying for gasoline totally. Whereas you should still need to pay to cost it, some resorts provide free electrical automobile charging as a visitor profit.

— PLAN A BUDGET-FRIENDLY ROUTE: When you’re open-minded to location, contemplate driving by states with decrease gasoline costs. Over the last week of July, the three states with the bottom gasoline costs have been Georgia, South Carolina and Texas, based on AAA information.


Earlier than you get too caught up within the pleasure of a highway journey, ensure you can afford it. With costs a lot greater than they have been two years in the past, you don’t wish to get caught off guard. Maintain off on reserving your flights or resorts till you’ve in contrast rental automobile costs and included it in your journey price range.


This text was offered to The Related Press by the non-public finance web site NerdWallet. Sally French is a author at NerdWallet. E-mail: [email protected]


NerdWallet: Journey Worth Tracker


NerdWallet performed an evaluation of 360 rental automobile costs (together with taxes and costs) to raised perceive rental automobile pricing tendencies. The evaluation regarded on the worth of a weeklong rental throughout eight main rental automobile corporations based mostly on the corporate’s lowest-priced out there automobile (usually a small sedan). Information was gathered for 20 areas, and it lined each the associated fee to lease from an airport location versus the identical firm’s close by downtown counterparts.

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