If you followed my previous article on how to get a US Driver’s license and finally have it in hand, congratulations! You are now officially and legally allowed to drive in the US. You can also drive on an international DL.
But I don’t own a car.
Not to worry, car rentals exist for this very reason. Want to plan a weekend getaway and need to book a car but the prices are too high? Well you’re in the right place to understand how to go about finding the cheapest and best rates possible.
If you just want to rent for one-two hours, this make perfect sense. Fuel and basic insurance are included. You can pay for an additional insurance plan (walk-away if anything happens). Rates start at $8.5/hr.
Available across multiple locations on campus. Do the math and see if this makes sense or a rental does. Max distance = 180 miles. After that ¢50 per mile.
Apply as a student here (use promo code: “qnbsqfwg” to get free $25 driving credits).
Great, what do I have to do?
First and foremost, find out which Car rental companies (Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, etc…) are available in your area. Next, create a membership account with them – don’t worry it’s free – and it helps to make points with every rental towards getting a free day in the future.
Are you a student worker/employee at your University?
One of the perks of having an on-campus student jobs is that you get special deals/discounts towards rental rates which your University has agreed on with the rental companies.
Find out the employee discount codes for your University and book using the codes. Be careful though, if you are making a leisure trip, you DO NOT select Business trip (they offer included Collision Damage Waiver).
I recommend you remain honest about your booking as in a worst case scenario, if you are involved in an accident and by means of the police report, it is determined you lied, the university might take action against you.
But I don’t want to pay for Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)!
You don’t have to if you have a credit card that offers complimentary CDW coverage at no additional cost. There are many cards that offer this perk and it would be wise for you to call your bank and ask if they provide this perk on your card.
Great! But there must be cheaper rates too!
I personally always check out the Priceline.com mobile app as they tend to have good in-app exclusive offers. You can download it from Apple or Google Store for iOS and Android.
Skyscanner is another good place to check out for cheap deals on rentals.
Depending on the city you’re in and if it’s a weekend/weekday, rates can be as low as $5/day to as high as $100/day.
Airport rentals are more expensive
These while offered by the same company, can be relatively more expensive due to airport parking fees and other charges. You might want to try to find rental shops outside the airport. But if no other options exist, hard luck (rely on the employee discount)
If you are under the age of 25 then a young driver’s fee is generally applied to your bill ($25-27/day).
Create a free USAA account and show your account number at the desk to prevent the charge being placed on your account.
Happy driving, safe driving!