Tag: plan ahead

How to Speed Up the Car Rental Checkout Process

How to Speed Up the Car Rental Checkout Process

You’re traveling for business and your meeting is over in the next state. You and the family have a flight to catch. There is no time to waste! Here are some ways to speed up your checkout experience to help get you to your destination on time.


Choose the Right Car

For drivers on a tight schedule, we suggest going with a no frills vehicle that will likely be ready-to-go in the lot. Typically, luxury cars are lower in number than basic economy vehicles. By choosing a luxury car you run the risk of waiting for one to be returned, cleaned or made available on pickup day. Save time, pick simple.


Prepay Online

Rental companies want your guaranteed business so almost all of them offer a prepay option. This is a great way to cut time in checkout by skipping the car rental contract process. To learn more about the benefits of prepaying, click here.


Prepare for the Credit Card Hold

For security reasons, rental companies will freeze an amount (depending on the reservation details) on your credit card account. If you do not have enough funds to accommodate this credit card hold then you will be financially limited on your trip or unable to rent the car at all. Upon booking, call your branch ahead of time to discuss the credit card hold amount in order to prepare.


Check-In Online

Some rental companies, like Hertz and Alamo, offer online check-ins for their drivers. This means that, similar to online airline check-ins, customers can submit their information ahead of time. So, while you’re waiting to get your rental, you can use that time to easily give your info to the vendor. The information needed will be driver’s license details and personal identification questions.


Make an Airport Game Plan

Picking up a rental car when your flight lands? Take a look at the destination airport’s map to know which terminal you will be arriving in, where baggage claim is located and where your rental will be ready for pickup. Knowing in advance where you need to go shaves time off your pickup experience.


Know Your Flight’s Arrival Time

Call your pickup branch and learn the rush hours for rental pickups. If possible, choose a flight that will get you to your rental branch during a slow time. This will save you from waiting in line.


Pre-Select Your Add-Ons

Need a car seat, a GPS, insurance or just about any other add-on? Pre-select these extras in advance so it is already in your rental contract. Doing this will let the vendor know ahead of time what you need and saves the extra step of adding them at the counter.


Join a Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs puts you on a higher priority level than the typical customer. Perks include skipping the line to the counter and getting a speedy checkout experience. Examples of loyalty programs are Budget Fastbreak and Dollar Express.


Use YOUR Credit Card for Additional Fees

If you’re using a credit card that is not yours and you intend on adding on extras to your reservations the owner of the card will need to be with you. If they are not with you at pickup and you need to add amenities to your rental then you will need to fill out extra paperwork. This is a common scenario for people who booked with a company credit card. If you have no intentions of adding anything to your rental then put your own credit card information down in the event extra charges are incurred later on. Insisting on using another card for possible additional charges requires paperwork at the counter.


Have Personal Identification Accessible

Upon checkout, your clerk will ask for your driver’s license and credit card. Be organized. Searching your bag for your wallet wastes time! Keep these important cards close to the top of your bag for a quick transaction.

Car rental companies want you to have a happy and efficient transaction experience. They offer a multitude of options to save time and skip steps at the counter. Help them help you!

Should I Prepay for My Car Rental?

Should I Prepay for My Car Rental?

All rental vendors want your guaranteed business, therefore most of them like to offer their customers a “pay now” or prepay option. This allows you to pay for either the entire sum, or a large percentage, of your reservation in advance. For the most part, prepaying will charge the funds in one major payment so, be mindful of how much money you have available on your credit card. BUT, there are some perks to this strategy.  Prepaying typically comes with a 10-15% discount as a little “thank you” from your vendor.

There’s a lot to consider with prepaying, so let’s discuss if your trip is a good candidate for it.


A major perk for prepaying is saving money and stress. Like mentioned earlier, prepaying can save you 10-15% on total costs. Also, knowing in advance how much your rental costs is helpful when planning and budgeting for your trip.  As it was mentioned earlier, prepaying means one big, immediate transaction so make sure you can afford it at the time of booking.

Changing Trip Details

Depending on the vendor, prepaid reservations are set in stone which does not allow much room for any changes or adjustments. Other companies, may allow you to adjust your reservation but it might be more difficult or time-consuming than a non-prepaid scenario.

Cancelling Your Reservation

Depending on the vendor, you may either get a partial refund or, more likely, no refund at all. Regardless, most companies charge a cancellation fee for prepaid bookings. If you need to cancel your trip for any reason try to do so as soon as possible. Cancelling a prepaid trip more than 24 hours ahead of your pickup time, you get charged a $25* cancellation fee. If you cancel within the 24 hours before your pickup time, the fee increases to $50*.

*Fee prices are an industry average.

The Bottom Line

Rates fluctuate daily therefore today’s seemingly great deal may seem overpriced tomorrow. The best way to save money is to check rates everyday. Reliable third party sites, like AutoRentals.com, assure the lowest possible rates. If you are looking to prepay then check a third party travel site to make sure you are saving money.

If you are considering prepaying, inquire with a few rental suppliers about their policy on adjusting/cancelling prepaid reservations. This can be looked up online or by phone. If you are using a third party site then there are available links to find out vendor-specific contact information.