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Optimal time frame for best car rental rates?

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by WiscoVacay, Mar 6, 2013.

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  1. WiscoVacay

    WiscoVacay Newbie

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    I'm wondering what's the best time frame prior to our visit in which to book a car rental in order to secure the best rates? I've been scouring the various sites (direct thru the rental companies, Hotwire, Priceline, etc) and am seeing rates that I think seem rather high.. we're going 7/24-7/29, and I'm seeing things around $200-$300 for that period.. sometimes including taxes, sometimes not.

    I really appreciate any help.
     
  2. ItsJustMe

    ItsJustMe Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    I always book right away just so I have a car rental for my trip. I then check every couple of weeks to see if the price changed.

    I notice that around 8 to 6 weeks before the rental date that the car rental prices tend to drop. After 6 weeks prior, the prices tend to go back up.

    I've been renting from either Dollar RAC or Budget RAC (whichever is cheaper).

    For my current trip scheduled at the end of April, I'm renting a mid-size car with Budget RAC through CostcoTravel.com for 4 days, 18 hours.

    On Jan 31st it costs $280.

    On Feb 24th it costs $204 - I cancelled the other reservation & booked this one.

    On Feb 28th it costs $84 - I cancel the previous reservation & book this one.

    On Mar 1st it costs $77 - I cancel this reservation & book another one.

    Finally yesterday Mar 5th it went down to $66 - so I book this one.

    I don't expect my rental prices to change too much for the next week or so. After that it will start going up to catch the last minute traveler.

    This same rental at the Budget site is over $200 + taxes. At Dollar RAC it is $208 including taxes. At CostcoTravel, the Budget RAC is now $66 INCLUDING the taxes ($29.46 before taxes).

    Hope this gives you an idea for planning your trip. Good luck!
     
  3. Tammy58

    Tammy58 Frugal Slot Jockey

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    We signed up for Alamo and Dollar. In the past it has been Alamo every trip. I agree 6-8 weeks the sales start coming out. Our dates for 8 days in May started out at sky high prices a few months ago...$450 and UP! Currently have Dollar booked for $227 full size car including all taxes and fees...checked Alamo today and they are at $220 full size all taxes and fees included. I will be checking daily for the next 2 months. 2 years ago we had Alamo booked for $187 for a weekly midsize rental...6 weeks out a great sale came out and we got it for $97 including taxes and fees.

    If you are going during a busy time I suppose the rates could stay high...but in the past 3 years we have always rebooked with a better rate in the last 4-6 weeks. You get automatic reduced rates by signing up for their "clubs"
     
  4. WiscoVacay

    WiscoVacay Newbie

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    Thank you for the replies.

    Can anyone joint Costco Travel, or must you be a Costco member to do so?
     
  5. Matty Ice

    Matty Ice Low-Roller

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    You must be a Costco member to use Costco Travel.

    Matt
     
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