Renting a car, how to save money

Published: September 18, 2015

Updated: May 15, 2018

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If you are visiting Canada or are travelling to another city within the country then it is possible that you will need to rent a vehicle to use for the duration of your stay. We have covered the basics of car rental insurance and advise you to check out our guides on that subject. Here we will take a look at how to get the best rental deal when leasing a car in Ontario and other Canadian cities.

Firstly it is important to know that rental car costs can quickly mount, but there are ways to cut a solid deal that may save you money.

Where you rent from

Where you rent your car from can mean a lot in terms of how much you pay… as the old saying goes, location, location, location. Indeed, the location of the rental company can make a small family car more expensive than a premium sedan in another more affordable location.

Cars are typically more expensive to rent at airports. This is because the companies are providing a vital service to many who fly into Canada’s airports and they charge for the convenience of having rental transport available as soon as you get off the plane. Unless a rental car is a must immediately, you are better off getting yourself into the downtown of a city via taxi or airport shuttle service and renting a vehicle from a city location.

Book online before you leave

The internet can certainly be your friend and just like with flights and hotels there are now travel websites that offer rental car companies and prices. These aggregating websites will show you most of the companies operating in your chosen area and in some cases will offer discounted prices.

Some services even let you bid on a rental at a knockdown low price, although in this instance you will not know exactly what you are renting until you have made the purchase.

Sometimes heading directly to the website of a rental car company will get you a money off deal, while some providers have loyalty points if you have used them before.

Avoid the perks

Rental companies often offer “perks” which can include packaged car insurance, GPS navigation systems, and even gas top ups. While these may seem enticing they are all things that you likely already have.

There are some positives to rental car insurance, but if you read our guide you will know that it is better in most circumstances to simply use your own personal auto insurance when driving in Canada. GPS is typically covered by a smartphone, but if you do not have one and are on a budget a good old map can do and will save you plenty of money.