It is that time of year again. Mother Nature has turned our green leaves brown and has designs for us to experience cold, wind, snow, rain and more! It is also the time of year when people visit from afar for the holidays, with blue-sky dreams of mountain tops and skiing that rumble through most Coloradoanís hearts and minds.
For many people, all or part of this is true. However, our cars may be too small to whisk out-of-town family down Tejon Street or through Garden of the Gods. Also, those mountains may be calling, but for those with front wheel drive, a trek to Aspen during the winter months is likely out of the question.
That is why Perkins Motors decided to pass along some of our tips to those whose cars are great but arenít suitable for big groups or mountains (or any irregular situation); which can lead to renting a car for a few days. Renting is great: You get what you want and it is temporary, much like the holidays or winter! Consider these items when you go in for a rental:
Do I need the extra insurance? If you have your own auto insurance policy, it may cover collision damage and personal liability for temporary use of a rental car. If you choose to use a credit card to book and pay for the rental car, it may provide secondary collision coverage. Call your insurance and they can help you figure this out. You can use that extra money from avoiding the car rental insurance on the ski slopes!
Shop around, prices are always changing. Car rental rates will vary depending on the company or the amount of lead time you have in your purchase or the season, so it pays to shop around instead going with the company ďyou always useĒ. No need to stay loyal when you can save money with just a little bit of research! There are many websites including CarRentalSavers.com and AutoSlash.com which allow you to comparison shop between rental companies. If you save money, just think of the uses it could have to make your travel more fun!
Prepaying for gas, Hmmm. Prepaying for gas may seem like a safe bet (who wants to plan one more stop after driving from Monarch home to Colorado Springs), but it means youíll pay for a full tank of gas even if you return with the tank half full. Itís better to fill up yourself since you can usually find cheaper gas prices at a nearby station anyway. In many cases there is a gas station just a few blocks away from the car rental store! WARNING: Donít forget to fill it up because the cost to do so after you drop off can be three to four times the actual price of gas from 7-Eleven. Always top off the gas, because some companies will charge you even if the gas tank is just barely below the full icon. Canít blame them for maximizing their sale to you, but donít help them by leaving the gas low!
You probably have options instead of paying extra for GPS or a car seat. Car rental companies, rightfully so, have many up-charge options for items like a GPS or child car safety seat. Experts say things like a GPS can cost an additional $10 per day or more. You can avoid this kind of additional fee by using your smart phone when possible, or you can go old-school and simply print directions. If you have a portable GPS you can use that on your trip. HOWEVER, do remember to remove it from the rental car on your return! No freebies for the rental car employees to pocket
As for car seats, if you are traveling by plane, for example, many airlines will allow you to check a car seat or use it on the plane for free (then use in your rental), so you donít need to pay extra to use one from your rental car company. Call the airline and get the 411 before over spending on items you can bring with you! If you arenít traveling by plane, say your kids and grandchildren are visiting from afar, but you still need a rental and a car seat, consider a local Colorado Springs company that rents car seats. You may be able to save some money and have more options to choose from. Check out Happy Kid Traveling: http://www.happykidtraveling.com We hear they are pretty good!
Renting a car can be convenient; especially if you do your homework and understand pricing rates and avoiding up-charges. Be safe out there and know your options! Ė Crystal Johnston, Perkins Motors Director of Marketing