Last Minute Car Rentals—Your Questions Answered
You might have been told that booking your car hire in advance will guarantee you the best options and the best rate, and this is true. There are plenty of “early bird” specials offered and if you have specific needs for your car rental (i.e. you need a larger vehicle, your trip is planned during peak travel times, you need a weekend rental) then booking in advance can be the way to go.
However, if your only concern is finding the cheapest price, or if you’re in a situation where you must book last minute, there’s plenty of ways to save your pocketbook some grief. Listed below is a series of commonly asked last-minute car hire inquiries that will either answer your questions, or present ones you hadn’t thought to ask. You can learn more at the DriveNow website, www.drivenow.com.au.
Q: How long should I wait to book a car hire “last minute”?
A: Typically, last minute deals come from the cancellations that car agencies experience and desire to still make a return on. While these are “last minute” deals, it behooves of you to wait no longer than a week before your trip, as you’ll be presented with the best of these deals. Start your research a few days before, and you’ll have plenty of time to find the best deal.
Q: Will the time of year, or time of week, be a factor?
A: Absolutely! As mentioned, it’s harder to find a good deal, or any deal at all, during peak travel times or weekends. For one, rentals during these times are expensive anyway, so a “deal” during these times might be full price during off-peak times. If you have to book during peak seasons, you should at least aim for a weekday rental to find the best deals and availability.
Q: Where can I find last-minute deals on car hires?
A: Thoroughly research various agency websites and online deal websites (i.e. DriveNow, etc) to find the best deals. Some opt to only use online deal websites, as they do offer easy-to-use comparison shopping that covers most agencies, but some great deals can be found from going directly to the agency websites.
Q: Are car hires non-refundable?
A: Some are, and some are not. Every agency has different regulations and sometimes their last-minute deals have separate rules than what their standard, full-price, rentals dictate. Keep in mind that non-refundable deals tend to be better than refundable ones and weigh the risk with the cost.
Read the fine print for every deal you consider to determine if it’s refundable, or not, and consider this: a refundable deal will allow you the ability to exchange, or return, it if you happen to find a better deal within the next few days.
For this purpose, the online deal website Autoslash offers an intriguing service. When you book with them, they will continue to look for cheaper deals on your behalf and will auto-book you for anything better that comes along.