We are going to Miami in two days and we’ll be cruising around in a luxury Lincoln MKS instead of the little Hyundai Elantra we pre-booked. Not only that, but we’ll have an extra 30$ in our pocket which should even cover our gas. Sweet!
Over the years, we’ve probably saved hundreds if not thousands on rental cars by booking early, and checking pricing changes as the reservation date approached. This is possible in part because rental car companies are still very nice about their reservation policies and don’t need a deposit, and won’t charge you if you change, cancel, or even if you don’t show up. Of course, we always like to be nice and cancel the unused reservations when possible.
So with two days to go, I went on line to check on the reservation, and to look around at our options. Most cars and most rental companies were actually much higher now, but the same company had a special on the luxury car if we would prepay. We don’t usually prepay, but with the trip around the corner it was a great way to lock in the upgrade and get the discount. Even the cancellation policy on the pre-paid is pretty bearable with a flat 25$ administration fee.
Winter is always more expensive for rentals in Florida. This is just due to demand, as Florida is the place to be this time of year. Ask all the snowbirds, the spring breakers, and the vacationers. The contrast between winter and summer is remarkable. There are at least double or triple the cars (and 1/2 or 1/3 the parking spaces!). We still love it and are going anyway! We go to Florida enough that we even got one of those portable Florida Sunpass toll tags.
Visiting in February and March, which is right in the middle of spring break, is definitely the most expensive time! Rental car prices are no exception to this. In our case, we were lucky enough to have booked 6 months in advance. Our rental for 10 days priced out at a total tax-in amount of 400$. As we approached the date, we were checking regularly to see if the rates would go down since we usually pay around 200-300$. It was the opposite, rates spiked up to 900-1200$ for the same period. We were glad to have our rental booked. Even the same company had the same car for three times the price.
I’m excited to try the Lincoln and happy to share this tip with you. Book early and check often! Getting a deal or an upgrade is a nice way to sweeten up your travel experience. (After writing this, we actually arrived a little late and the Lincoln was gone, so they gave us a Cadillac for 2 weeks, an upgrade to the upgrade!)
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