red car and key in businessman's hand close up

One look at the rates in the car rental agency and you’ll be ready to take the bus. While renting a vehicle on your trip can be useful for getting around, it can also be pretty pricey if you don’t plan ahead.

The first way to save money and find lower rates is to book ahead. When you rent a car at the airport or agency, you’ll generally pay a premium. On top of this, there will be limited options available. However, booking ahead lets you reserve the vehicle you really want, at a lower price.

Try combining your rentals, too. Hotel booking online often includes a vehicle rental, if you’re interested. You’ll save money on both options and everything is handled under the same agency.

Independent car rental agencies may offer better prices than many chains. They may not have a desk at the airport, but most are more than willing to pick you up. The savings make it worth booking a vehicle through these smaller companies, though you should do your research ahead of time.

Search for coupons before you rent. There are plenty of virtual coupons that can cut your costs drastically. By taking a few extra minutes, you could end up saving quite a bit on your car rental.