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How to Determine the Best Time to Rent a Car for Your Next Trip?
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Published in Travel Category.

No doubt, renting a car is the best way to enhance your travel experience, it offers flexibility and freedom to explore at your own pace. However, the cost and availability of rental cars can vary greatly depending on several factors.

Understanding the factors that can help you determine the best time to rent a car ensures you get the best car rental deal and the most suitable vehicle for your needs, putting you in the driver's seat of your car rental experience.

Rest assured, this comprehensive guide, based on insights from Finalrentals, will provide you with valuable tips and strategies for renting a car at the optimal time. These tips will help you make the best decisions for your car rental needs.

Keep Reading;

Booking in Advance

One of the most reliable ways to secure a good deal on a rental car is by booking in advance. According to data from Finalrentals, booking a car rental 3-6 months in advance can often result in lower prices. This strategy works particularly well for popular travel destinations and peak travel periods.

For instance, if you're planning a visit to Albania for summer vacation, advance booking your rental car in Albania can prevent the surge in prices as the travel date approaches. By booking a few months ahead, money can be saved, and a more comprehensive selection of vehicles can be accessed. Luxury cars, SUVs, and other high-demand models are often the first to be booked. By reserving early, your chances of getting the vehicle you want are increased.

Finalrentals found that booking a week in advance can sometimes be cheaper than booking three months in advance, with an average savings of $75. This anomaly is often due to rental companies adjusting prices to ensure their fleet is fully booked. If they have excess inventory as the date approaches, they might lower prices to attract last-minute bookings.

Key Takeaway

  • Book 3-6 months before popular destinations and peak travel times to secure the best prices and widest selection.
  • Check prices 1-2 weeks before your trip; sometimes, last-minute adjustments can offer unexpected savings.

Peak and Off-Peak Seasons

Car rental prices fluctuate significantly between peak and off-peak seasons. Understanding these fluctuations can help you plan your rental car booking for maximum savings.

Peak Season

During peak travel seasons, such as summer (June to August) and major holidays (Christmas, New Year, Easter), rental prices tend to be at their highest. For example, July is often the most expensive month to rent a car. Demand is high during these periods, and rental companies can afford to increase prices.

Off-Peak Season

Conversely, rental prices are generally lower during off-peak seasons. January is often cited as one of the cheapest car hire months. Fewer tourists mean lower demand, which translates to lower prices. Traveling during these times can result in significant savings on car rentals, flights, and accommodations.

Key Takeaway

  • Travel during off-peak seasons to take advantage of lower rental prices.
  • Book well to lock in the best rates if you must travel during peak seasons.

Last-Minute Bookings

While booking in advance is generally recommended, last-minute bookings can also offer significant savings. Finalrentals data shows that renting a car even three days before your reservation start date can yield notable savings.

However, relying on last-minute bookings can be risky, especially during peak travel periods or in popular destinations. The selection of available vehicles may be limited, and you might not get the type of car you want.

Key Takeaway

  • Consider last-minute bookings if you have flexible travel plans and are traveling during a non-peak period.
  • Be cautious during peak seasons, as availability may be limited.


Flexibility with your travel dates and times can also help you find cheaper car rentals. Rental prices can vary significantly depending on the day of the week, time of day, and even the rental duration.

Travel Dates

Midweek rentals (Tuesday and Wednesday) are often cheaper than weekend rentals (Friday to Sunday). This is because business travelers typically rent cars during the week, leaving more availability for leisure travelers on weekends.

Rental Duration

Longer car rental periods often have lower daily rates. For example, renting a car for a week is usually cheaper per day than renting it for a couple of days.

Pickup and Drop-off Times

Off-peak pickup and drop-off times can sometimes result in lower prices. For example, picking up a car in the afternoon rather than in the morning can be cheaper, as rental companies aim to maximize their fleet's utilization.

Key Takeaway

  • Be flexible with travel dates and times to take advantage of lower prices.
  • Consider more extended rental periods for better daily rates.

Comparison Shopping

One of the most effective ways to find the best car rental deals is by comparing prices across rental companies and booking platforms. A comparison site like Finalrentals can make this process easier and more efficient. These platforms aggregate rental options from various companies, allowing you to compare prices, vehicle types, and rental terms quickly.

Key Takeaway

Use comparison sites to find the best deals across multiple rental companies.

Check for discounts and promotions, which are often available through comparison sites.

Special Considerations


The location where you rent your car can also impact the cost. Airport rentals are typically more expensive due to additional taxes and fees. Renting from an area in the city can be cheaper, although it might be less convenient.


Car rental insurance can significantly impact your rental cost. Some credit cards offer rental car insurance as a benefit, so check with your credit card before purchasing additional coverage from the rental company.

Membership Programs

Many car rental firms offer loyalty programs that offer discounts, free upgrades, and other benefits. Joining these programs can be beneficial if you rent cars frequently.

Key Takeaway

  • Consider renting from city locations to avoid airport fees.
  • Check your credit card benefits for rental car insurance.
  • Join loyalty programs for additional savings and perks.

Summary of Key Points

Booking in Advance: Generally cheaper and offers more vehicle options.

Peak and Off-Peak Seasons: Off-peak seasons are cheaper.

Last-Minute Bookings: Can be cheaper but risky during peak times.

Flexibility: Can lead to lower prices.

Comparison Shopping: Essential for finding the best deals.

Location, Insurance, and Membership Programs: Consider these factors for additional savings.

By applying these strategies and considering your travel needs, you can determine the best time to rent a car and make the most of your journey. Whether planning a leisurely road trip through scenic landscapes or a business trip requiring a reliable vehicle, these tips will help you find the best car rental options.

With Finalrentals, Every Time is the Best Time to Rent a Car

Whether you're booking months in advance, looking for a last-minute deal, or planning a trip during off-peak seasons, Finalrentals has you covered.

Our competitive rates, flexible car rental booking options, and extensive range of vehicles ensure you find the perfect car for your needs. Plus, our seamless booking process makes it easier to hit the road and start your adventure.