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Publication: Travel Tips
Car Rental Tips

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Tips & Advice for the Seasoned and Armchair Traveler Alike! 

March 11, 2008 

When planning a trip, many folks devote most of their 
energy to getting off the ground.

When it comes to airfare, admittedly one of - if not THE -
biggest cost of travel, people are willing to invest the 
time to find the best deal

They do Internet research, bid in online auctions, make 
phone calls to airline customer service desks and run 
their best finds past acquaintances at the office coffee 
machine. ("Saaay, I found round-trip from Syracuse to Fort 
Lauderdale for $120. Is that about what it cost you last 

But when it comes to renting cars, those very same 
travelers often head to the airport kiosk of whatever 
outfit has the shortest line and take whatever they can 

This week's topics include:




P.S. If you're interested you can now post comments on this 
and recent issues on our forum at... Travel Tips Forum 

"I never have a piece of paper when I need it..." 

Last month I looked up the address of a restaurant I wanted 
to try on the Internet. Since I NEVER seem to have any paper 
when and where I need it I had to dig a receipt out of my 
wallet to write the address on. Well, I've solved that 
problem for ever. I just bought a couple Gopher Central 
Multi-Purpose Paper Mouse Pads. 

* Need to write down an important note? Tear off a sheet. 
* Surface getting dirty from too much use? Tear off a sheet.
* Phone numbers, addresses, recipes, anything? Tear off a 

Plus, each page is printed with a blank calendar you can 
fill in for your convenience. 40 heavy-duty sheets help 
you organize, and prioritize. Inexpensive and convenient, 
just $4.99 for one or SAVE on two (2) or more. 
VISIT: GopherCentral Mouse Pad

Renting a vehicle can be a major expense; and a major 
surprise if you aren’t careful. Here are some tips:

* Explore cyberspace

Shopping the Internet can be the quickest and best way 
to compare many rental car rates. 

Hit the websites of all the major agencies. You should 
also check out a couple of the brand-name consolidators 
like Orbitz or Expedia. They may have special deals 
not available to solitary keyboard punchers or clue you 
in to companies that you hadn’t thought of.

Remember, rental rates can vary DRAMATICALLY between 
agencies serving the same market. There can even be 
striking differences between different locations of the 
same rental agency in the same city, especially if one 
of its sites is at an airport.

While you're at it, if you are planning to buy extra 
items such as a damage waiver or insurance, you should 
also comparison shop those rates.

* Get there first

Book your ride as far in advance as you can. The law of 
supply and demand rules in the car rental biz, and rates 
tend to go up as the number of available vehicles dwindles. 

The hotter your travel destination, or the more popular 
your car choice - the earlier you need to book. If you 
wait until the day before your plane lands in Las Vegas, 
you're in for some serious sticker shock.

* Fee, fine, fume

When renting a car, the devil may indeed be hiding in the

Taxes, airport charges, drop fees and insurance are just 
a few of the things that can drastically increase the 
price of your rental car. Surcharges can to tack on as 
much as 30 percent to the base price. 

Make sure you grill the company on hidden costs so you 
know what your paying for before you hit the road. Many 
companies now post a copy of their rental agreement 
online. That gives you a chance to comb through the fine 
print without a long line of increasingly agitated 
travelers tapping their toes behind you.

Be especially aware of taxes. They are a great target 
for revenue-hungry local politicians because most renters 
don't vote where they pay to borrow a car.  

Sometimes these taxes manifest themselves under the heading 
of 'airport fees'. In some cities, this cost can be so high 
that it may be beneficial to take a bus or a cab into town 
to rent from a local agency that local pols aren't so quick 
to tax. Once again, it comes down to spending some time in 
front of your computer screen, doing research.

I'm Walking Here....

Here's an item (the Telescopic Walking Stick) that I never 
really thought I would use. But I decided to try it out
when we went for a walk along a trail a few weeks ago. 

It was fun to use.... yes I said fun. When we would come 
up to a stream, I would poke at things in it. I also used 
it when I wanted to venture off the beaten path, just to 
make sure that there were no snakes in front of me. Believe 
it or not, it made the walk more enjoyable. Check it out 
and the unbelievable low price. 

Normal Price: $19.99

Whether you're an avid hiker or just looking for a little
extra help walking around, the Telescopic Walking Stick 
is just what you need. It's fully adjustable to fit your 
height and the spring loaded shaft helps reduce strain on 
your wrists, back, knees, legs and feet. With a built in 
compass it will get you through hard rocky terrain or just 
across the street. Make Walking Fun with The Walking Stick

* Be flexible

OK, this is a different kind of flexible than the one I 
refer to when I talk about squeezing into coach-class 
airline seats.

Being flexible about your travel plans can save you money. 
Rental companies that focus on business travelers or the 
customers of body shops often have great weekend specials. 

Like hotel rooms and airfares, the best rates are found 
during the off season and at other times when rental 
agencies have extra cars sitting around. 

* Package it

Check into booking your vacation as a package. You might 
be able to save by booking your car along with a certain 
airline, hotel or attraction ticket package. Most of the 
major consolidators allow you to investigate this online.

* Rent small, dream big

Book the smallest car that you will need and hope for a 
free upgrade. On at least two occasions in recent years 
I've booked a popular economy car, only to be told they 
were out of that model when I went to pick it up. In both 
cases, they gave me a better, bigger car that wouldn't 
have otherwise been within my travel budget.

It never hurts to ask about an upgrade. Once you're there, 
at the desk, and the folks know what the situation is on 
the lot, it may be in their interest to give you a good 
deal on a better vehicle that wouldn’t have been offered 
online or over the phone.

Do not, however, rent a vehicle smaller than the minimum 
size you need, expecting some kind of upgrade. Chances 
are, whatever you commit to rent from your laptop is what 
you're actually going to drive away from the airport. 


Normal Price: $19.99

Plain and simple this is one heck of a deal. Discounted 
below cost, you'll want to pick up a couple. Makes a
great gift. Check it out by visiting: 
Briefcase/Laptop Bag

* Clip coupons

It's not particularly stylish, but it can save you money. 

But make sure that you read any coupon you plan to use 
carefully for conditions and exceptions. And do it ahead 
of time. If you think it's a little embarrassing to pull 
out a coupon at the rental desk, imagine how you'll feel 
if you find out that coupon isn’t valid and you've got 
to drop down a model.

Most upgrade coupons are "based on availability", so if 
you plan to use an upgrade coupon and also have a monetary 
discount coupon, bring them both. If they can’t honor the 
upgrade, they may still give you the price discount. 

Also, if you're going to use a coupon or any other kind 
of discount, remember to mention it at the time you book 
your reservation.

* Metered miles

Most major car rental companies these days offer unlimited 
mileage as long as you stay in the same state, but it's a 
good idea to check each firm’s policy before confirming. 

Many smaller, independent companies charge mileage after 
allowing you to drive a set number of miles per day. Once 
you pass that magic number, the dollars start adding up 
pretty fast.

* Check your membership cards

Are you a member of AAA? How about AARP? Any other 
organization with an acronym that sounds like a dying 
comic book character?

Many organizations, companies, credit unions, etc., have 
arrangements with car rental agencies to offer special 
discounts to their members. You may be eligible for a 
5 to 15 percent discount and not be aware of it.

The same holds true for the holders of some credit cards. 

You also want to look into joining one of the preferred 
customer programs offered by the big rental agencies. 
Membership, usually doesn't cost much, and it can often 
give you deals on out-of-budget upgrades. The head-of-
the-line express treatment alone is likely to be worth 

Well, that's it for this week, group. Thanks again for 
reading, and please keep those comments, complaints and 
questions coming in. 

You can send me an e-mail message at: Email Pierce

Until next week, thanks for reading.   

Your Tipmeister,   



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End of Travel Tips - Another free ezine from GopherCentral 
Copyright 2008 by NextEra Media All rights reserved.

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