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Old 07-11-2014, 01:42 PM   #1
wookster
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Default Car rental advice needed...

Hey All,

I don't rent cars too often but we're going to Nova Scotia for 10 days or so in August and will need to rent a car. Don't need it for the full 10 days, but probably a week or so. What is a reasonable price to pay for this? When I look online at all the car rental places it seems to work out to about $400-500 to rent a car for week (probably need full size). This seems crazy expensive but maybe my expectations on this are out of whack as its been awhile since I rented one? Anyone know where a guy could find a deal to make this more reasonable? Thanks.
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:45 PM   #2
DownhillGoat
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Any time I've rented a car for a week it's been around the $500 mark.

You can check expedia, hotwire, etc for deals. Depending where you work, you can sometimes get discounts by going through the same rental company that your company goes through.
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:49 PM   #3
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The jump from standard to full size is significant. If you can get by with standard it's better; and often when you get there you will be offered a free or cheaper "upgrade."

You can also check rental rates outside of the airport, as airports can often be more expensive.
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:00 PM   #4
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We have a rental right now, so I just looked into this last week.

We rented a full size from Enterprise, through Costco, for $368/week.
http://www.costcotravel.com/

Other options: If you're flying Westjet, you get a 10% discount at Budget with your boarding pass.
Hotwire.com and Priceline are two other decent options to check
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:11 PM   #5
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Given the time of year, it will likely be around that $500 amount, but you still may find a deal. I usually rent for work about 25-30 times per year, and here are a few tips I'd suggest:

1) Book something now directly from one of the agencies, then keep looking for lower rates through either the agency directly or the various travel sites. Reservations booked directly through National, Avis, Hertz, etc. can almost always be cancelled without penalty. Just ensure you don't accept a prepaid rate.

This allows you to have cost certainty, in case supply becomes scarse later, and when you likely find something cheaper, you can just cancel.

2) As ken mentioned, rent from an off airport location. There is a hefty concession recovery fee charged at all airport locations, and for Halifax, it's over 16%. This fee isn't charged at in-town locations, so on a $400 rental, it will cut $64 off the price.

3) Keep checking, both on Hotwire etc. and on the agency websites. Rental pricing is very demand driven, and if cars are available, they'll drop the price. Quite often, I'll check with National as I'm landing in Calgary, and get a one-day rental for $20, which is far cheaper and less stressful than taking a cab home, which I then drop by my office DT the next day. You could cut the rental cost in half if there's cars available a couple of days prior to rental.

4) As ken also said, if the price difference is huge, book a smaller vehicle, and ask for an upgrade at the counter. Depending on availability, they'll move you into something larger for $10 or $20 per day. Be warned, this is playing roulette. If they are fully booked, you could end up in the Corolla you booked as a midsize.

5) Check for corporate or specialty rates. There's always car rental codes in the Entertainment book and things like that that could save you a few bucks. Are you, or someone in the group, a Costco member? You can book rental cars through Costco Travel in the US, www.costcotravel.com

Hope this helps. With a little bit of persistence, you should be able to find a decent rate. The only caveat is, I hope you are over 25. If not, prepare to be hosed.
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:29 PM   #6
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Ok great...thanks for the info all...I will keep checking....and lucky for me (in this case) I am over 25. lol.
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:54 PM   #7
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Always varies by location... same car rental at YYC will be almost twice the price than at YEG ($488 vs $264 - full size car from costcotravel.com)
$500 should do it.
If you have a costco membership, costco travel can be a fantastic option for car rental
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:07 PM   #8
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Do you work for a company with corporate travel accounts?
I book using my company account #, usually pay around $200 a week in Vancouver (out of the airport).
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:11 PM   #9
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car rental gg.
Rented a car last year from Budget I think for 2 weeks, unlimited km's. They no longer have unlimited kms, and you have to pay per km over 2,000. fawkers.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wookster View Post
Hey All,

I don't rent cars too often but we're going to Nova Scotia for 10 days or so in August and will need to rent a car. Don't need it for the full 10 days, but probably a week or so. What is a reasonable price to pay for this? When I look online at all the car rental places it seems to work out to about $400-500 to rent a car for week (probably need full size). This seems crazy expensive but maybe my expectations on this are out of whack as its been awhile since I rented one? Anyone know where a guy could find a deal to make this more reasonable? Thanks.
Shop around online to make sure you're getting the best deal possible. You can name your own price on priceline, but sometimes its not always the cheapest. Costco car rentals are usually a good deal. Always decline the extra insurance coverage (most credit cards have this), never prepay for fuel, google coupon codes to see if there are any coupons you can apply and avoid an airport location if possible.

It might even be cheaper to rent from an off-airport location and take a cab to/from the airport (airport locations are more expensive almost all the time)

Also, not sure about your exact location but you may want to google to see if there are any second hand (local) car rental companies. They rent used vehicles and are much smaller so they can be significantly cheaper.

And make sure you book as far ahead in advance as possible - booking at the last minute and you'll pay the highest price possible
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:00 PM   #11
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I worked for over 5 years in the rental car industry, so here is my advice (some of which has already been mentioned).

Online will generally produce the lowest rates. If you have AMA or other discount types, these can possibly make these rates even lower. Shop around, usually the little companies, like Discount, will have lower rates, but usually not the same quality of cars (often base model cars).

If you can avoid it, do not rent from an airport location, even ones that are off site and provide a shuttle service from the airport. Rental companies like to charge an airport concession fee that can really add to the total of your bill, usually an extra 15% as a minimum.

Provide your own coverage (insurance) for the rental. Fortunately, since you're renting in Canada, the rental company must provide liability insurance so you don't need to worry about this aspect. If you purchase their LDW/CDW (Loss Damage Waiver/Collision Damage Waiver, the name varies from company to company but is the same thing), this can add an additional $25+ per day to your rental. Now, this coverage is great. If anything happens to the car, just hand them the keys, fill out a little paperwork and you're on your way (providing you don't break any terms of the rental agreement, which you won't as long as you drive like a normal person), but it adds a lot to your bill. Some companies will have no deductible with their LDW/CDW, while others will have a deductible.
The best way to provide your own coverage IMO, is through your credit card (Gold, Platinum whatever). Check with your credit card provider to see if you have this coverage for rental vehicles and to check for any exclusions for types of vehicles they will not cover or maximum value of vehicle they will cover (if you're just looking for a full size car, this should not be an issue). The only stipulation with using credit card coverage is this must be the card used at the initial check-out of the vehicle and used to pay for the rental. Obviously if nothing happens before you return the vehicle, it doesn't matter how you pay on return, just something that is worth mentioning.
Another way to cover the vehicle is if you have a rider or some other type of coverage for rental vehicles on your own car's insurance policy. The only negative with this coverage is that if something did happen with the rental car, it could possibly affect your own insurance rates. Check with your insurance provider if you have this coverage and any exclusions for coverage or if it will affect your rates if something did occur.

Don't buy the prepaid gas option. Unless you bring the car back on fumes, you will not save any money, it is simply a convenience option.

As for the rates you have checked out, they don't seem that out of whack for the summer. Rates are based on supply and demand and the summer is the busiest season for rental companies. One thing to keep in mind is that rates for rental cars have remained virtually unchanged since the 1980's while you can't say the same for the price of cars.
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wookster View Post
Hey All,

I don't rent cars too often but we're going to Nova Scotia for 10 days or so in August and will need to rent a car. Don't need it for the full 10 days, but probably a week or so. What is a reasonable price to pay for this? When I look online at all the car rental places it seems to work out to about $400-500 to rent a car for week (probably need full size). This seems crazy expensive but maybe my expectations on this are out of whack as its been awhile since I rented one? Anyone know where a guy could find a deal to make this more reasonable? Thanks.
I just got back from Nova Scotia, I got Mid Size for 4 days for $111.00 from Avis. Trick is to use your own insurance.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:46 PM   #13
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Sign up for preferred service with Avis. It costs nothing and it guarantees a set rate no matter what time of year.

I rent almost monthly, and I'll usually check priceline and travelocity, then compare to the rate I get with my Avis number. USUALLY priceline is the cheapest, but every once in a while I get crazy rates with Avis.

Careful with the smaller rental companies though. You definitely get what you pay for in terms of service and car quality with the "Dollar" rentals of the world.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:34 PM   #14
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Search for discount codes, there are a bunch of sites dedicated to compiling them all. Try as many as you can find. Some of the companies let you combine different coupons, plus there are different corporate discount codes too.

One good place to look is the Entertainment Book. So many different groups sell them as fund-raisers that it's usually easy to find someone who has one, and a lot of people don't ever use the rental car coupons, or even if they do, each rental company usually has so many coupons, that there will still be many left over. One time, I found a coupon on the Entertainment Book website that worked fine even though I didn't have that year's book.


Another thing to look out for is that you can often get a better rate for a one-week rental than one that's either shorter or longer than 7 days. I've had times where I only needed the car for about 5 days, but it was cheaper to rent it for 7.

If you are renting for less than 7 days, it can sometimes be cheaper if your rental includes a Saturday or Sunday because they'll take advantage of business travelers who have expense accounts.
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Old 07-12-2014, 07:20 AM   #15
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I've rented cars in Halifax about a dozen times in the past couple of years. $400 - $450 (all in) is what you I would expect for a full-sized weekly rental in NS.

My opinion: Avis is the way to go in Halifax/NS. Others (typically Enterprise) are occasionally competitive, but Avis has always been the cheapest, regardless of season.

Despite being the cheapest, the vehicle quality is solid (I get an intermediate or full sized every time), customer service is top notch, and I've yet to have the "Oops, we've run out of those cars" discussion.

1. Avis offers a really good discount (~20%) for booking online and prepaying. I always use this option and it's never been a problem. Typically book a week or two before the trip to ensure selection.

2. Most (all?) Scotiabank VISA customers get a 20% discount with Avis. This is on top of the typical VISA insurance benefits etc. Just need to mention it to the desk clerk at pickup. Frankly, it may be worth getting a low-limit Scotia VISA just for the savings?

3. Unless you can have someone do a pickup/drop off, expect to pay a $50-$60 premium to rent from any company's airport location. FYI - it's a long drive to Halifax (more than $50 cab ride).

4. There's a gas station right at the airport and (surprisingly) there isn't some crazy $0.50/l premium on the gas prices. Prices are all over the place in NS, so you may pay a few pennies extra or a few pennies less. Don't bother searching Hell's Half Acre for cheap gas.....just fill up at the airport.

AVIS Example:

Full-Size (Chevy Impala) August 2-August 8:
$385 at the counter. $320 with the prepay option.
Taxes and Surcharges: $135 (based on prepay)
Total: $455.00

The Scotia VISA discount would push the price to $390 (all in).
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:53 PM   #16
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Thanks for the info - I never checked into Costco Travel before (I have a membership) so will check that out. Also - good point about avoiding the airport!
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Old 07-14-2014, 09:05 AM   #17
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Sign up for an Emerald Club membership with National. You get a preferred rate, and you get to skip the counter and choose your own car from the Emerald Aisle, which sometimes has free upgrades like SUV's.

Basically you reserve a Midsize, and you're guaranteed to get at least a Midsize. In the Emerald Aisle, you'll usually get a Full Size car without an issue, or an SUV if you're lucky. You can also book a Full Size and still pick from the Emerald Aisle for usually $5-10 more total. Then if there's nothing you like in Emerald, you head to the Full Size area and pick a car from there.

If you rent 12 times in a year, you get to pick from the Emerald Executive area, which is Full Size at a minimum (at the Midsize rate), but a much higher chance of getting a nicer car. I just rented with National in Toronto for 5 days, and ended up with a fully loaded Ford Edge from the Emerald area...literally brand new, it only had 7km's on the odometer when I picked it up!

In this case, I'd go with WilsonFourTwo's suggestion about AVIS. I checked with National, and they're giving $539 all in, tax included. Keep checking though...I reserved my rental in Toronto with National, with a coupon code for a free day, and checked the rental rates again a week later just for fun. At this point, it was a week before the trip, and I was going there for Canada Day long weekend...the rate had DROPPED by almost 50%. I paid the Midsize rate of $190 for 5 days, and got a fully loaded SUV at no additional cost.

But yeah, National usually tends to give me a competitive rate...most of the time I find they are the cheapest. Not always, but most of the time. And I love being able to walk right past the long line at the counter. I just go right to the garage, and pick my own car from a defined section. Keys are in the ignition...you just check the car for damage before heading out, and show them your driver's license and credit card at the exit. When I returned my car in Toronto, the rental agent walked up to where I parked in the return lane, took the keys from me, checked the mileage, scanned the barcode on the car window with his handheld machine, asked if everything was ok with the rental, confirmed the total price, and gave me my receipt. I got another detailed receipt by e-mail, and was done in less than 60 seconds.

Last edited by Stealth22; 07-14-2014 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 11-09-2015, 09:52 PM   #18
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Any car rental tips for Maui?
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Old 11-09-2015, 09:54 PM   #19
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Any car rental tips for Maui?
If you've never done it before, splurge and get a jeep. Soft top so you can go open air.
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Old 11-09-2015, 09:55 PM   #20
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Maui was the place I got the cheapest rental ever. $180 taxes in for 10 days, I booked it last minute though so that probably had a lot to do with it.
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