If you want to rent a car in 2023, here's a money-saving secret: keep your options open.Faropen.
That's the advice of car rental experts and drivers who have already made travel plans for the coming year.
A recent survey of business car rental customers found that 70% have rental plans for the near future, including the upcoming holiday travel season.
"As we look ahead to the year ahead, we expect the strong travel demand we've seen this year to continue through 2023," said Lisa Martini, a spokeswoman for Enterprise.
What happened to rental cars in 2022?
It's been an interesting year for car rental companies, to say the least. How did I write down on mine?Guide to rent a car, chip shortages and record demand have sent prices for some rental cars skyrocketing to $100 a day or more.
Y,thea bit interesting
"2022 was a great year for rental cars with shortages across the country," said Paul Jacobs, general manager ofKayaking North America, he told me.
The rental car industry experienced a 62% drop in new registrations in the first nine months of 2022 compared to 2019, according to Tom Kennedy, CEO ofSIXTH EE.UU..
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"However, production has improved and the availability of vehicles for the rental industry is also slowly improving," he says.
I asked Jacobs at Kayak to look at rental car reservations ahead of time. According to Jacobs, rates are down 5% year-over-year, which is good news for renters. And the demand is down a bit (3% less year over year). You can keep track of rental prices by setting up a price alert on a site like Kayak.
So how to rent a car in 2023? Flexibility will be an important tool. This improves planning skills and avoids certain road hazards.
Be flexible when renting a car
The key to a better income in 2023 is a B, C and D.
"Whenever possible, include flexible dates and store pickup locations in your search," says Martini, a spokesperson for Enterprise. "It can help broaden your options."
Car rental companies like Enterprise help customers create a wide network. Enterprise.com has a feature that allows customers to be redirected to other nearby options. That way, even if your preferred location doesn't show availability, you can still get a car if you don't mind visiting a nearby location.
Interestingly, car rental companies are also becoming more flexible.Audi on call, which rents cars from Audi dealerships, recently introduced new flexible terms that allow you to rent a car for a few days, a week, or even a month.
“Customers have more ways than ever to experience a vehicle,” said Sara Whiffen, vice president of strategy, mobility and retail forAudi of America.
For long-term rentals, there are also companies likeAutonomy, which offer monthly subscriptions to coveted electric vehicles like the Tesla Model 3.
Be flexible with your cards too
Look up the card you use to rent a car, says Bob Bacheler, general managerflying angels, a medical transportation provider. Bacheler is a frequent renter of cars and an observer of the changing landscape of the map and its advantages.
"See if any of the credit cards in your wallet give you rental car status," he advises. "Unfortunately, with so many people in status, the penalty you may face for not having status can make your rental experience anything but pleasant."
Book early for 2023
Car rental experts say that some things have changed for next year and some have not.
"We continue to encourage our customers to make a non-prepaid reservation as soon as possible, especially during peak times or when they need a special vehicle," said Mark Mannell, CEO ofCarrentalsavers.com.
Mannell told me that prices have come down and the 2022 shortage has eased, "but there are still problems in certain places and at peak times."
Avoid an electric vehicle
Rental car prices are falling and the market is slowly getting back to normal, says Michael Stalf, Managing Director ofmy only car, a German car rental company.
“There is still a shortage of electric cars,” he says. "So my advice to travelers is don't insist on electric cars because they will be more expensive."
A quick review of EV prices at major rental companies in the US shows that EV rental prices are 20-30% higher than gas-powered vehicles. That's partly because they're in high demand and partly because they're in short supply, Stalf says.
That was one of the big trends of 2022: digitization. More and more car rental companies have introduced kiosks and apps to streamline the rental process, which can save you a lot of time.
“The rental industry is rapidly adapting technology at every step of the rental experience, with an emphasis on streamlining,” said Frank Harrison, Americas regional security director.world travel protection.
Harrison, a frequent car renter, says his last car rental experience was completely automated. However, he asked a staff member to inspect his car upon his return. (Return control is always a good idea.)
Yes, there are still last minute offers.
Some tenants have discovered other offers at the last moment. I am one of them. I rented a jeep in Split, Croatia a few months ago and the last minute price was less than half the normal price (less than $100 for a long weekend).
"For the last half of this year, I've been able to get better rates by waiting until the last minute to rent a car instead of reserving a car in advance," says Kyle MacDonald, operations manager atStrength by Mojio, a company that provides GPS fleet tracking services.
The best strategy: book early and track the price of your rental car online using a service like KAYAK or AutoSlash. As you get closer to your pickup date, take a look to see if you can do better. And don't forget to cancel your original reservation.
Do you really need a classic rental car?
Maybe not, says Mark Mohr, a retired television producer from Vancouver, Washington. He plans to travel to Kauai in May for his annual trip.
"We've been there probably fifteen times in the last thirty years, and I've always rented from Budget," he says.
But this time the weekly prices are a bit high. “It costs $809 for a full-size Toyota Camry, $573 for a budget Ford Fiesta and $913 for a midsize Mazda CX-5 SUV,” he says. "That seems to be a significant price increase over the last three years."
“Some friends on the island told me about renting in Turo, which I think is like an Airbnb for cars,” he says. "It seems like a bit more reasonable option."
I rented fromto teachon a recent visit to Hawaii and saved hundreds of dollars. It's not exactly a car rental, but the savings are real.
What will happen to rental cars next year?
Experts predict that rental car prices will remain high in 2023. Anastasija Zubenko, head of the commercial department of the car rental siteDiscoverCars.com, says it will feel like a repeat of 2022 in many ways, according to its analysts.
"We expect next year to be more or less the same: there will be some bottlenecks, particularly on islands and territories where it's more difficult to deliver new cars," he told me. "Fares in these places will continue to be quite high on average as demand will remain very high as we expect people to continue to travel often despite a potential downturn."
In other words, the strategies that got you a cheap car rental in 2022 will probably work next year, as long as you stay flexible.