When is the best time to rent a car?


When is the best time to rent a car?

If you've ever rented a car, you know that prices can vary widely depending on when and where you book. But when is the best time to rent a car? In this blog, we'll explore the factors that affect car rental prices and provide tips on when is the time to secure a rental car and how to secure the best deal.

Determining the Best Time to Book Car Hire

If you are looking for the answer to the question “When is the best time to rent a car?”, here is the list of factors affecting the same.

Seasonality and Off-Peak Periods

One of the most significant factors influencing car rental prices is seasonality. During peak travel seasons, such as summer and holidays, the demand for rental cars increases, leading to increased prices.

Conversely, off-peak periods, like weekdays during the fall or spring, often offer lower rates and better deals. If your travel dates are flexible, consider booking during these off-peak times to save money.


Location plays a crucial role in determining the rental price of the car. Rates can vary significantly from one destination to another, with popular tourist destinations to visit and major cities generally commanding higher prices.

If you're traveling to a tourist hotspot or a busy city, it's advisable to book your rental car well in advance to secure a better rate.


Demand for rental cars can fluctuate based on factors such as holidays, events, and local attractions. For example, prices may spike during major events like music festivals or sporting events, as rental companies experience high demand and limited availability.

To avoid inflated prices, try to book your rental car ahead of time, especially if you're traveling during peak periods or attending a popular event.

Days of the Week

The day of the week can also impact car rental prices. Generally, renting a car mid-week, from Monday to Thursday, is more affordable than renting over the weekend.

This is because business travelers often return their rental cars on weekdays, leading to increased availability and lower prices. If your travel plans allow for flexibility, consider adjusting your rental period to take advantage of mid-week rates.

Why Car Rental Prices Fluctuate?

Like any other commodity, car rental prices are subject to the principles of supply and demand. When demand for rental cars is high and supply is limited, prices tend to rise.

Factors such as seasonal fluctuations, major events, and availability of rental fleets can all influence supply and demand dynamics. To secure the best deal, book your rental car early and avoid peak travel periods.

Is Booking the Best Rental Car in Advance Worth It?

Best time to book rental car

Booking your rental car in advance ensures that you have access to the widest selection of vehicles and the best deals. By planning ahead, you can choose the make, model, and features that best suit your needs, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free rental experience.

Competitive Pricing

Rental companies often offer discounted rates for customers who book in advance, as it allows them to better manage their inventory and forecast demand. By booking early, you can take advantage of these lower prices and avoid last-minute price increases.

Planning and Convenience

Booking your rental car in advance gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your transportation needs are taken care of before you even arrive at your destination. This can save you time and stress, allowing you to focus on enjoying your trip.

Special Requirements

If you have specific requirements for your rental car, such as a child seat or a GPS navigation system, booking in advance ensures that these items will be available when you need them. This can be especially important during peak travel periods when demand for special equipment may be high.

Time Efficiency

Booking your rental car in advance can save you time at the rental counter, as you'll already have all your paperwork completed and your reservation confirmed. This means less time waiting in line and more time exploring your destination.

Flexibility and Modifications

Advance booking gives you the flexibility to make changes to your reservation if your plans change. Whether you need to adjust your pickup time, extend your rental period, or upgrade to a different vehicle, having a confirmed reservation in place makes these modifications quick and easy.

Is it Cheaper to Book a Rental Car in Advance or Last Minute?

One of the most common questions when it comes to renting a car is whether it's cheaper to book in advance or wait until the last minute.

The general consensus is that booking in advance is usually the way to go if you want to secure the best rate. Rental companies often offer discounted rates for early bookings, and you'll have a wider selection of vehicles to choose from.

On the other hand, waiting until the last minute can sometimes result in lower prices, especially if rental companies have excess inventory they're looking to unload. However, this approach is riskier, as you may not find the type of vehicle you want, and prices could be significantly higher due to increased demand.

How can you get the best deal when renting cars?

Keep Looking

Don't settle for the first price you see. Shop around and compare prices from different rental companies to find the best deal. Online travel agencies and comparison websites can be helpful tools for finding competitive rates.

Check Terms

Before booking a rental car, carefully review the terms and conditions, including the cancellation policy, insurance coverage, and any additional fees. Make sure you understand what's included in the quoted price and what extra charges you may incur.

Get it Booked Early

Booking your rental car well in advance is one of the best ways to secure a lower rate. Prices tend to increase closer to the pickup date, so booking early can save you money. Plus, you'll have a better chance of getting the vehicle you want.

Be Specific

Be specific about your rental needs to avoid paying for features you don't need. For example, if you're traveling solo or with a small group, opt for a compact or economy car rather than a larger vehicle. Avoid add-ons like GPS navigation systems or car seats if you can bring your own.

Avoid Renting a Car During High Season

Peak travel seasons, such as holidays and summer months, often come with higher rental prices due to increased demand. If possible, avoid renting a car during these times and opt for off-peak periods when prices are generally lower.

Rent a Car at a City Location, Not at the Airport

Renting a car at the airport may seem convenient, but it often comes with higher prices. Rental companies operating at airports typically charge extra fees to cover the cost of operating at the airport. Save money by renting from a city location instead.

Use Car Rental Platforms

Consider using car rental platforms or loyalty programs to score discounts and special offers. These platforms often have partnerships with rental companies and can offer exclusive deals to their members.

Ways to Avoid Added Fees


Check with your insurance provider to see if your policy covers rental cars. If not, consider purchasing rental car insurance through the rental company or a third-party provider. Keep in mind that rental car insurance can add a significant cost to your rental, so weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

Second Driver

Adding a second driver to your rental agreement can incur additional fees. To avoid these fees, limit the number of drivers to those who will actually be behind the wheel during the rental period.

Best time to book rental car

Mileage Limits

Some rental companies impose mileage limits on their vehicles, with additional charges for exceeding the limit. To avoid these fees, choose a rental company with unlimited mileage or plan your itinerary accordingly.

Young Drivers

Young drivers, typically those under the age of 25, may face additional fees when renting a car. If possible, designate an older driver as the primary driver to avoid these fees.

One-Way Rentals

Renting a car at one location and returning it to another may result in a one-way rental fee. To avoid this fee, try to return the car to the same location where you picked it up.

Debit Card Payments

Using a debit card to pay for your rental car may result in additional hold charges on your account. To avoid this, use a credit card with a sufficient credit limit instead.


In conclusion, the best time to reserve a rental car and get the best deal depends on various factors, including when you book, where you rent, and the terms of your rental agreement. By following these tips and strategies, you can maximize your savings and enjoy a hassle-free rental experience.

Remember to book early, shop around for the best rates, and be mindful of additional fees to ensure that you're getting the best value for your money. Safe travels!


Is it better to rent a car online or in person?


Renting a car online is generally better as it allows you to compare prices from different rental companies and book in advance. This gives you more options and often results in better rates. Plus, online bookings can be done from the comfort of your home, saving you time and hassle.

Is renting at the airport more expensive?

Yes, renting at the airport typically comes with higher prices due to additional fees and surcharges imposed by rental companies. These fees are often related to airport operations and can significantly increase the overall cost of your rental. Renting from off-airport locations usually offers better rates.

How far in advance should you book a rental car?

It's recommended to book a rental car as early as possible, especially during peak travel seasons or for popular destinations. Ideally, aim to book at least a few weeks in advance to secure the best rates and availability. Booking early also gives you more time to compare prices and options.

Does the time of day affect car rental rates?


Yes, the time of day can affect car rental rates, with prices typically higher during peak hours. Early morning and late evening rentals may be cheaper as demand is lower. Additionally, returning the car later than the pickup time may result in extra charges, so it's best to adhere to the agreed-upon rental period.

What can you do during your rental period to keep costs low?

To keep costs low during your rental period, avoid additional fees by returning the car on time, refueling it before returning to avoid fuel surcharges, and opting out of unnecessary extras like GPS navigation systems or car seats if you can bring your own.

Which documents do you need to rent a car?


You typically need a International valid driver's license, a credit card in the driver's name for payment and deposit purposes, and proof of insurance coverage. International renters may also need a passport and an international driver's permit, depending on the country.

When should I rent a car for the holidays?

It's advisable to book a rental car for the holidays well in advance, as demand tends to be high during peak travel seasons. Aim to book several weeks or even months ahead to secure the best rates and availability, especially if you're traveling during major holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving.

What’s the best month to rent a car?

The best month to rent a car varies depending on factors like destination, seasonality, and demand. Generally, off-peak months like January or February, excluding holidays, offer lower rates and better deals. However, prices can fluctuate, so it's essential to compare prices across different months and book accordingly.

Do extras and car hire insurance prices change?

Yes, prices for extras like GPS navigation systems, car seats, and insurance coverage can vary depending on the rental company, location, and type of vehicle. It's essential to review the terms and conditions carefully and consider whether the extra cost is worth the added convenience or protection.

How do I get the best deal on a rental car?

To get the best deal on a rental car, shop around and compare prices from different rental companies, use online booking platforms or loyalty programs for discounts, book in advance to secure lower rates, and be flexible with your travel dates and pick-up locations to find the best deals.