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21 Ways to Get the Best Travel Deals – Car Rental

21 Ways to Get the Best Travel Deals – Car Rental

Renting a car is something that many people do when they go on vacation. But most people don’t realise all the potential traps and pitfalls that can be avoided when renting a car. Having worked for a car rental company, I’ve come across lots of hacks that you can use to save time, save money, and generally make the whole process of renting a car a lot easier. Today I’m going to share 21 rental car tips with you; I guarantee there will be at least one tip you hadn’t thought of in the list!

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airport car rental desk
    1. Ditch the travel agent
      Have a think about where travel agents earn their money. They work on commission. That means they get a certain percentage of the booking amount, and they may get kick-backs from certain suppliers. The more expensive your booking is, the more money they make. Booking car hire by yourself is so easy, and only takes a couple of minutes.
    2. Book early to save
      Just like airfares and accommodation, prices for rental cars usually increase as you get closer to the date of service. This is especially true around holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Because demand is so high and rental car fleets are limited, the suppliers can charge just about whatever they like and know that people will still be desperate enough to book. Booking far in advance means you’ll get the best possible rate, as well as choice of the full range of cars.
    3. Compare, contrast, and find a deal
      Comparison websites are a great way to book car hire. Using one of these comparison sites, you can compare all the major car rental suppliers against one another on the same screen, and find the cheapest deal. There are plenty of comparison sites around, just make sure you use one that doesn’t charge any booking fee or cancellation fee so you’re not out of pocket if you happen to find a better deal later on. My favourite is probably VroomVroomVroom because they offer a lowest price guarantee. They also send you a confirmation SMS so you don’t need to bother with paperwork when you pick up the car.
    4. Airport rental centers cost more
      Did you know that the price of rental cars at the airport is way higher than that city depot, even for the same supplier? It’s partly because airports charge the rental car suppliers a huge amount for renting the car spaces and desk space inside the terminal. They also charge customers more for the convenience. If you’re renting a car for just a day or two, it might not make much of a difference in your total bill. If you’re renting for a week, it could mean huge savings. Compare the price for airport and downtown locations to see if it’s worthwhile getting other transport from the airport to the city and picking the car up there instead.
    5. Don’t forget to fill up!
      Rental companies will charge you a fortune if you don’t fill up the car before taking it back. They’ll charge you up to double the regular pump price, and some will even add an “administration” fee on top! Fill the car up before you drop it back, and don’t forget to keep the receipt! In the case of a dispute, the time/date and amount on your receipt is evidence that you filled the car up.
      gas pump rental car
      • Consider the environment
        I’m not just talking for the environment’s sake, either. Choosing an economical car or hybrid can save you lots of money when it comes to refuelling. Sure, that giant Cadillac might look nice, but if you’re looking to save money then maybe a Civic would be the smarter choice.
      • Don’t pay in advance
        Book through a supplier or comparison website that doesn’t require any payment up front. If you find a better deal somewhere else, or if something else comes up and you need to change your plans, at least you won’t be stung with a cancellation fee! It also means you can make a few bookings and choose the one that’s best for you as the date gets closer. By booking early you can lock in good prices, and just cancel the ones you don’t need before the date.
      • Take photos of any damage
        Make sure you take photos of any damage to the car before you leave the depot. If your camera has the option, mark the photos with the time and date, or upload them to somewhere online that lists the time and date. If there is a staff member available, get them to walk around the car with you, and make sure you mark any and all damage and marks on the car, no matter how small. Don’t let them tell you not to worry about the small marks. It’s better to be safe than sorry! What most people don’t know is that if you happen to return a car with damage, you’ll not only be up for the cost of repairing the damage, but also for any potential loss of rental fees while the car is off the road. That can add up to thousands of dollars!
      • Look at your insurance options
        Insurance can vary by country, but most rental cars come with some basic form of insurance. You’ll generally have to pay an excess of a few thousand dollars if you have an accident. The rental car supplier will offer you excess reduction or an insurance waiver, but there are often better options available. Keep an eye out for travel insurance or credit cards that include this insurance automatically – it can save you lots of money.
      • Try different rental lengths
        Suppliers often have special rates for different length rentals. As an example, I recently saw one supplier offering a special 4-day rate which was actually cheaper than their regular rate for three days. In this case it would be better to take the four day rate, and just drop the car back after three days instead. Weekly and weekend rental rates are the most common. If you only need the car for 5 or 6 days, just try comparing the price for 7 anyway; you might be pleasantly surprised.
      • Keep your schedule in mind
        Suppliers generally charge in 24-hour blocks. If you don’t need the car until 1pm, make the booking starting at 1pm! Most search forms default to 9 or 10am, so watch out for this when you’re searching. If you book for 1pm it means you’ll have until 1pm on the day you drop it off. Also worth noting is that suppliers generally have a grace period—usually an extra 29 or 59 minutes past your drop off time before they charge an excess fee. If you think you’re going to be late dropping the car back, give the depot a call to let them know and ask for this grace period.
      • GPS units and baby seats can be costly
        Recently I hired a car in New Zealand for 15 days. To add a GPS unit to my rental would have cost me more than actually buying a new one from a shop! So that’s exactly what I did. I bought a GPS once I arrived in New Zealand, and then sold it once I got home for almost the full price! It saved me over $100. The same is true of baby seats. These can be costly to hire, so consider taking one with you. Many airlines will let you check baby seats in with your luggage for free or for a nominal fee. You could also buy a basic child seat once you get to your destination. Depending how long you need it, this may be a cheaper option. At the end of your trip, you can either sell or donate the car seat.
      • Consider $1 relocation deals
        It costs lots of money for suppliers to relocate cars from one location to another. Instead of spending $1000 to relocate a vehicle by truck, they’ll usually offer $1 relocation deals. This can be a great option if you’re looking to take a last minute road trip, and sometimes they’ll even cover fuel costs too! The negative is that you have to travel between certain dates, so I’d suggest booking a rental car the regular way to be safe and cancelling it at the last minute if you manage to get a relocation deal that suits your travel plans.
      • Don’t forget to use rewards points
        Not only can you use points to book a rental car, but most suppliers have agreements with one or more frequent flyer or other rewards programs. It’s probably not worth basing your choice of supplier on this, but it’s certainly worthwhile quoting your frequent flyer number when you book so that you don’t miss out on any points.
        bad experiences car rental desk
        • Check exclusions on where you can and can’t take the vehicle
          It’s worth reading the fine print to see where you can and can’t take your rental car. Most suppliers have exclusion areas, whether it’s off-road or taking it to certain islands, on ferries, etc. You may also notice some strange clauses like a “dusk to dawn” clause. This can mean you’re not covered by insurance if you have an accident at night outside the city limits (e.g. if you hit a deer).
        • Return to Point A
          It’s not always possible, but it’s almost always cheaper to drop the rental car back at the depot that you picked it up from. It costs money to relocate cars, so you’ll usually by stung with a hefty “one-way fee” or “relocation fee” if you choose to drop your car back at a different depot.
        • List all the drivers
          If you are sharing the driving with someone else, be sure that they are listed on your rental agreement. If an unlisted driver has an accident, the insurance will usually not cover the damage. Many suppliers don’t charge you any extra fees to list an additional driver, so it’s definitely worth doing even if you don’t think they’ll be driving much.
        • Consider using a local’s car!
          There are a few websites around now that allow people to rent out their own cars. There are some good deals available, especially for long term rentals, and the terms and conditions are mostly the same as you would find with a regular rental car (be sure to read all the fine print). There may be exclusions if you don’t hold a drivers licence in the same country, so be sure to check that, too.
        • Consider an older car
          Many of the smaller suppliers are able to offer cheaper cars because they don’t renew their fleet as often as the big boys. There are plenty of dodgy smaller suppliers, so check reviews before you book. If you’re going down this route, check that you’re covered by good roadside assistance plan.
        • Look out for toll roads
          Toll roads are unavoidable in most large cities, but there are often different options for how you get charged. Check with the supplier to see what they offer. Some suppliers offer an “all-you-can-eat” toll option where you pay a set fee and can use as many tolls as you like. Others will charge you an admin fee on top of any tolls, so be careful of the fine print. Another option may be to use your own toll transponder if you’re traveling interstate. Just check with your provider to see if their transponder will work in the state to which you’re traveling.
        • Wait a minute!
          Just before you leave (a day or two), check the prices again. There may be a last minute special available, and because you booked on a site with no cancellation fee (you did that, right?) you can cancel the previous booking without losing any money! Just be sure you get a confirmation of the new booking before you cancel the old one.

        So, let’s hear it! What are your car rental tips? Share them in the comments below.

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        And now that you’re a car rental expert, why not extend your knowledge to flights as well. Find out how to fly first class for free!

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        Last Updated on November 4, 2020

        42 Practical Ways To Improve Yourself

        42 Practical Ways To Improve Yourself

        Are you someone who likes to grow? Do you constantly seek to improve yourself and become better?

        If you do, then we have something in common.

        I’m very passionate about personal growth. It was just 4 years ago when I discovered my passion for growing and helping others grow. At that time, I was 22 and in my final year of university. As I thought about the meaning of life, I realized there was nothing more meaningful than to pursue a life of development and betterment. It is through improving ourselves that we get the most out of life.

        After a year and a half of actively pursuing growth and helping others to grow through my personal development blog, I realize there is never an end to the journey of self improvement.

        The more I grow, the more I realize there is so much out there I don’t know, so much that I have to learn.

        For sure, there is always something about ourselves we can improve on. The human potential is limitless, so it’s impossible to reach a point of no growth.

        Whenever we think we are good, we can be even better.

        As a passionate advocate of growth, I’m continuously looking for ways to self-improve. I’ve compiled 42 of my best tips which might be helpful in your personal growth journey. Some of them are simple steps which you can engage in immediately. Some are bigger steps which takes conscious effort to act on. Here they are:

        1. Read a book every day.

        Books are concentrated sources of wisdom. The more books you read, the more wisdom you expose yourself to.

        What are some books you can start reading to enrich yourself? Some books I’ve read and found useful are Think and Grow Rich, Who Moved My Cheese, 7 Habits, The Science of Getting Rich and Living the 80/20 Way.

        When you’re reading a book every day, you will feed your brain with more and more knowledge.

        Here’re 5 really good books to read for self-improvement:

        2. Learn a new language.

        As a Singaporean Chinese, my main languages are English, Mandarin and Hokkien (a Chinese dialect). Out of interest, I took up language courses in the past few years such as Japanese and Bahasa Indonesian.

        I realized learning a language is a whole new skill altogether and the process of acquainting with a new language and culture is a totally a mind-opening experience.

        3. Pick up a new hobby.

        Beyond just your usual favorite hobbies, is there something new you can pick up? Any new sport you can learn?

        Examples are fencing, golf, rock climbing, football, canoeing, or ice skating.

        Your new hobby can also be a recreational hobby. For example, pottery, Italian cooking, dancing, wine appreciation, web design, etc.

        Learning something new requires you to stretch yourself in different aspects, whether physically, mentally or emotionally.

        Here’re 20 hobbies to get you some new ideas

        20 Productive Hobbies That Will Make You Smarter and Happier

        4. Take up a new course.

        Is there any new course you can join? Courses are a great way to gain new knowledge and skills.

        It doesn’t have to be a long-term course – seminars or workshops serve their purpose too.

        I’ve been to a few workshops and they have helped me gain new insights which I had not considered before.

        In fact, anyone who wants to be a smarter learner should take this 20-minute FREE class: Spark Your Learning Genius. It will help supercharge your learning ability and pick up any skill faster!

        5. Create an inspirational room.

        Your environment sets the mood and tone for you. If you are living in an inspirational environment, you are going to be inspired every day.

        In the past, I didn’t like my room at all because I thought it was messy and dull. A few years ago, I decided this was the end of it – I started on a “Mega Room Revamp” project and overhauled my room.

        The end result? A room I totally relish being in and inspires me to be at my peak every day.


          Photo credit: Source

          6. Overcome your fears.

          All of us have fears. Fear of uncertainty, fear of public speaking, fear of risk… All our fears keep us in the same position and prevent us from growing.

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          Recognize that your fears reflect areas where you can grow. I always think of fears as the compass for growth.

          If I have a fear about something, it represents something I’ve yet to address, and addressing it helps me to grow.

          Learn How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding).

          7. Level up your skills.

          If you have played video games before, especially RPGs, you’ll know the concept of leveling up – gaining experience so you can be better and stronger.

          As a blogger, I’m constantly leveling up my writing skills. As a speaker, I’m constantly leveling up my public engagement abilities. What skills can you level up?

          8. Wake up early.

          Waking up early (say, 5-6am) has been acknowledged by many (Anthony Robbins, Robin Sharma, among other self-help gurus) to improve your productivity and your quality of life.

          I feel it’s because when you wake up early, your mindset is already set to continue the momentum and proactively live out the day.

          Not sure how to wake up early and feel energetic? These ideas will help:

          How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

          9. Have a weekly exercise routine.

          A better you starts with being in better physical shape. I personally make it a point to jog at least 3 times a week, at least 30 minutes each time.

          You may want to mix it up with jogging, gym lessons and swimming for variation.

          Check out these 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).


            Photo credit: Source

            10. Start your life handbook.

            A life handbook is an idea I started 3 years ago.

            Basically, it’s a book which contains the essentials on how you can live your life to the fullest, such as your purpose, your values and goals. Sort of like your manual for your life.

            I started my life handbook since 2007 and it’s been a crucial enabler in my progress.

            11. Write a letter to your future self.

            What do you see yourself as 5 years from now? Will you be the same? Different? What kind of person will you be?

            Write a letter to your future self – 1 year from now will be a good start – and seal it.

            Make a date in your calendar to open it 1 year from now. Then start working to become the person you want to open that letter.

            12. Get out of your comfort zone.

            Real growth comes with hard work and sweat. Being too comfortable doesn’t help us grow, it makes us stagnate.

            What is your comfort zone? Do you stay in most of the time? Do you keep to your own space when out with other people?

            Shake your routine up. Do something different.

            By exposing yourself to a new context, you’re literally growing as you learn to act in new circumstances.

            13. Put someone up to a challenge.

            Competition is one of the best ways to grow. Set a challenge (weight loss, exercise, financial challenge, etc) and compete with an interested friend to see who achieves the target first.

            Through the process, both of you will gain more than if you were to set off on the target alone.

            14. Identify your blind spots.

            Scientifically, blind spots refer to areas our eyes are not capable of seeing. In personal development terms, blind spots are things about ourselves we are unaware of. Discovering our blind spots help us discover our areas of improvement.

            One exercise I use to discover my blind spots is to identify all the things/events/people that trigger me in a day — trigger meaning making me feel annoyed/weird/affected. These represent my blind spots.

            It’s always fun to do the exercise because I discover new things about myself, even if I may already think I know my own blind spots (but then they wouldn’t be blind spots would they?).

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            After that, I work on steps to address them.

            15. Ask for feedback.

            As much as we try to improve, we will always have blind spots. Asking for feedback gives us an additional perspective.

            Some people to approach will be friends, family, colleagues, boss, or even acquaintances, since they will have no preset bias and can give their feedback objectively.

            Learn more about how to ask for feedback and become a fast learner here!

            16. Stay focused with to-do lists.

            I start my day with a list of tasks I want to complete and this helps make me stay focused. In comparison, the days when I don’t do this end up being extremely unproductive.

            For example, part of my to-do list for today is to write a guest post at LifeHack.Org, and this is why I’m writing this now!

            Since my work requires me to use my computer all the time, I use Free Sticky Notes to manage my to-do lists. It’s really simple to use and it’s a freeware, so I recommend you check it out.

            17. Set Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs).

            I’m a big fan of setting BHAGs. BHAGs stretch you beyond your normal capacity since they are big and audacious – you wouldn’t think of attempting them normally.

            What are BHAGs you can embark on, which you’ll feel absolutely on top of the world once you complete them? Set them and start working on them.

            Learn How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life.

            18. Acknowledge your flaws.

            Everyone has flaws. What’s most important is to understand them, acknowledge them, and address them.

            What do you think are your flaws? What are the flaws you can work on now? How do you want to address them?

            19. Get into action.

            The best way to learn and improve is to take action.

            What is something you have been meaning to do? How can you take action on it immediately?

            Waiting doesn’t get anything done. Taking action gives you immediate results to learn from.

            20. Learn from people who inspire you.

            Think about people you admire. People who inspire you. These people reflect certain qualities you want to have for yourself too.

            What are the qualities in them you want to have for yourself? How can you acquire these qualities?

            21. Quit a bad habit.

            Are there any bad habits you can lose? Oversleeping? Not exercising? Being late? Slouching? Nail biting? Smoking?

            Here’s some great advice from Lifehack’s CEO on hacking your habit loop to break bad habits and build good ones:

            How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop

            22. Cultivate a new habit.

            Some good new habits to cultivate include reading books (#1), waking up early (#8), exercising (#9), reading a new personal development article a day (#40) and meditating.

            Is there any other new habit you can cultivate to improve yourself?

            If you’re wondering how to make good habits stick, check out these tips:

            18 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick

            23. Avoid negative people.

            As Jim Rohn says,

            “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”.

            Wherever we go, there are bound to be negative people. Don’t spend too much of your time around them if you feel they drag you down.

            Not sure who are the toxic people in life? This article can help you:

            10 Toxic Persons You Should Just Get Rid Of

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            24. Learn to deal with difficult people.

            There are times when there are difficult people you can’t avoid, such as at your workplace, or when the person is part of your inner circle of contacts.

            Learn how to deal with them. These people management skills will go a long way in working with people in the future:

            How To Deal With Negative People

            25. Learn from your friends.

            Everyone has amazing qualities in them. It’s up to how we want to tap into them.

            With all the friends who surround you, they are going to have things you can learn from.

            Try thinking of a good friend right now. Think about just one quality they have which you want to adopt. How can you learn from them and adopt this skill for yourself?

            Speak to them if you need to. For sure, they will be more than happy to help!

            26. Start a journal.

            Journaling is a great way to gain better self-awareness. It’s a self-reflection process.

            As you write, clarify your thought process and read what you wrote from a third person’s perspective, you gain more insights about yourself.

            Your journal can be private or an online blog. I use my personal development blog as a personal journal too and I’ve learned a lot about myself through the past year of blogging.

            27. Start a blog about personal development.

            To help others grow, you need to first be walking the talk. There are expectations of you, both from yourself and from others, which you have to uphold.

            I run The Personal Excellence Blog, where I share my personal journey and insights on how to live a better life. Readers look toward my articles to improve themselves, which enforces to me that I need to keep improving, for myself and for the people I’m reaching out to.

            28. Get a mentor or coach.

            There’s no faster way to improve than to have someone work with you on your goals.

            Many of my clients approach me to coach them in their goals and they achieve significantly more results than if they had worked alone.

            If you’re looking for a mentor, don’t miss these tips:

            What to Look for in a Good Mentor

            29. Reduce the time you spend on chat programs.

            I realized having chat programs open at default result in a lot of wasted time. This time can be much better spent on other activities.

            The days when I don’t get on chat, I get a lot more done. I usually disable the auto start-up option in the chat programs and launch them when I do want to chat and really have the time for it.

            30. Learn chess (or any strategy game).

            I found chess is a terrific game to learn strategy and hone your brainpower. Not only do you have fun, you also get to exercise your analytical skills.

            You can also learn strategy from other board games or computer games, such as Othello, Chinese Chess, WarCraft, and so on.

            31. Stop watching TV.

            I’ve not been watching TV for pretty much 4 years and it’s been a very liberating experience. (Here’re 10 Reasons To Turn Off Your TV)

            I realized most of the programs and advertisements on mainstream TV are usually of a lower consciousness and not very empowering.

            In return, the time I’ve freed up from not watching TV is now constructively used for other purposes, such as connecting with close friends, doing work I enjoy, exercising, etc.

            32. Start a 30-day challenge.

            Set a goal and give yourself 30 days to achieve this. Your goal can be to stick with a new habit or something you’ve always wanted to do but have not.

            30 days is just enough time to strategize, plan, get into action, review and nail the goal.

            33. Meditate.

            Meditation helps to calm you and be more conscious. I also realized that during the nights when I meditate (before I sleep), I need lesser sleep. The clutter clearing process is very liberating.

            Have a try with this 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime.

            34. Join Toastmasters (Learn public speaking).

            Interestingly, public speaking is the #1 fear in the world, with #2 being death.

            After I started public speaking as a personal development speaker/trainer, I’ve learned a lot about how to communicate better, present myself and engage people.

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            Toastmasters is an international organization that trains people in public speaking. Check out the Toastmaster clubs nearest you here.

            35. Befriend top people in their fields.

            These people have achieved their results because they have the right attitudes, skill sets and know-how. How better to learn than from the people who have been there and done that?

            Gain new insights from them on how you can improve and achieve the same results for yourself.

            36. Let go of the past.

            Is there any grievance or unhappiness from the past which you have been holding on? If so, it’s time to let it go.

            Holding on to them prevents you from moving on and becoming a better person. Break away from the past, forgive yourself, and move on.

            Just recently, I finally moved on from a past heartbreak of 5 years ago. The effect was liberating and very empowering, and I have never been happier.

            37. Start a business venture.

            Is there anything you have an interest in? Why not turn it into a venture and make money while learning at the same time?

            Starting a new venture requires you to be learn business management skills, develop business acumen and have a competitive edge.

            The process of starting and developing my personal development business has equipped me with many skills, such as self-discipline, leadership, organization and management.

            38. Show kindness to people around you.

            You can never be too kind to someone. In fact, most of us don’t show enough kindness to people around us.

            Being kind helps us to cultivate other qualities such as compassion, patience, and love.

            As you get back to your day after reading this article later on, start exuding more kindness to the people around you, and see how they react.

            Not only that, notice how you feel as you behave kindly to others. Chances are, you will feel even better than yourself.

            39. Reach out to the people who hate you.

            If you ever stand for something, you are going to get haters.

            It’s easy to hate the people who hate us. It’s much more challenging to love them back.

            Being able to forgive, let go and show love to these people requires magnanimity and an open heart.

            Is there anyone who dislikes or hates you in your life? If so, reach out to them. Show them love.

            Seek a resolution and get closure on past grievances. Even if they refuses to reciprocate, love them all the same. It’s much more liberating than to hate them back.

            40. Take a break.

            Have you been working too hard? Self-improvement is also about recognizing our need to take a break to walk the longer mile ahead. You can’t be driving a car if it has no petrol.

            Scheduling down time for yourself is important. Take some time off for yourself every week. Relax, rejuvenate and charge yourself up for what’s up ahead.

            41. Read at least 1 personal development article a day.

            Some of my readers make it a point to read at least one personal development article every day, which I think is a great habit.

            There are many terrific personal development blogs out there, some of which you can check here.

            42. Commit to your personal growth.

            I can be writing list articles with 10 ways, 25 ways, 42 ways or even 1,000 ways to improve yourself, but if you have no intention to commit to your personal growth, it doesn’t matter what I write.

            Nothing is going to get through. We are responsible for our personal growth — not anyone else. Not your mom, your dad, your friend, me or Lifehack.

            Make the decision to commit to your personal growth and embrace yourself to a life-long journey of growth and change. Kick off your growth by picking a few of the steps above and working on them.

            The results may not be immediate, but I promise you that as long as you keep to it, you’ll start seeing positive changes in yourself and your life.

            So here you are, 43 solid ways for self improvement. Pick one or a few to start doing today.

            If you want to see yourself improving, you must take some actions.

            More Self-Improvement Tips

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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