Customers always ask us how they can get cheap car rental, what important facts they need to know and what are the tips and tricks to get the best deals. The answer is simple, book early, be smart about comparing the providers in your chosen location and look closely at the extras. Sounds easy, right? For some people it easy and for others it can seem a bit daunting. So, I have done a little bit of research to give you good examples of where you can save money on your rental and what the important facts or options are. We will look at Lisbon airport as an example and we will show you how to get a cheap car rental in Lisbon airport.
The first and most important thing is to book as early as you can. I usually try to book my car rental as soon as I have booked my flight. Just like with airlines, the car rental providers push their prices up the closer it gets to your travel date, so early booking saves money. Also like the airlines, it is cheaper to book in off-season times. Cheap car rental prices in Lisbon airport start in April from €87 per week and increase to a minimum (early booking) price of €140 in July for the exact same car. Where possible try to avoid the school holiday times as the prices rise with demand. If you can only travel at these peak times, then the earlier you book, the better a price you will get.
Next you need to decide where you want to pick your car up, this usually means deciding between a terminal pick up versus meet and greet versus a shuttle bus to an offsite location. Do you need to get your car quickly, or can you save some money by going to an offsite location to pick the car up? This is usually easier if you are travelling alone or a few adults together. When you are travelling as a family with small kids and all the baggage required for going on holidays with kids, then a terminal pick up has definite benefits. Just keep in my that a terminal pick-up comes at a premium price, and this can be anything from €50-100 per booking. You need to decide if it is worth the cost to you.
Once you have decided your dates and pick up location, you can then look at what extras you need. Looking at Lisbon airport for cheap car rental money saving options, I have noticed the following trends on extras available with your car rental. Pay close attention as this is where real savings can be made:
- Additional driver prices vary be €30/40 per booking
- Kids car seat prices vary from €20/30 per booking.
- Cross boarder travel is allowed with some providers, while other charge at least €30 for the option.
- Excesses vary from €800 (mini /economy cars) to over €3000 (SUV) per rental depending on the car type that you choose.
- Diesel cars start from almost €100 more than a petrol option.
- Automatic cars start from €30 more than manual cars.