Car rental prices peak during the summer period. And rental car companies know how to milk tourists of their money. Here are some tips to help you save on rentals.

Don’t focus on name brands.

Just because they are popular doesn’t mean that they are the best option, or the cheapest. Smaller companies such as Aco are more difficult to find but offer the lowest prices in Miami and the surrounding areas. Smaller companies that are much less well-known are usually 15 to 30 percent cheaper than major car rental companies.

Ask anyone you know in the area.

This goes together with number 1. Since smaller companies such as Aco are difficult to find (they don’t come up when you search things such as “cheap car rental Miami” or “Miami cheapest car rental”). So, locals will usually be better-informed and will know where you can get the best deals.

Look for promo codes and other discounts.

Groupon often has offers for car rentals and offers bundles for trips, such as hotel plus airfare plus car rental. You can also search using keywords such as “promo codes car rental Miami,” and see what comes up. Promotionalcodes.comm, CouponWinner.com, and other discount sites often have discounts. TravelJack and LivingSocial are less popular and have less offers, but it’s always worth checking out.

Use rental centers that aren’t located at the airport.

For obvious reasons, car rental center located away from airports are cheaper. Car rental centers located on-site at airports have higher prices because it is more convenient. Prices at Miami airport car rental centers, for example, are about 30 percent higher than identical companies located off-site.

Reserve the car for longer than anticipated.

Adding an extra day onto a weekly rental, for example, like reserving it from Friday to the next-next Monday instead of Saturday to Sunday, can give you lower rates. This is because most people travel on weekends, so prices are higher on peak days and hours. You don’t need to have the intention to return the car that day. However, if you decide to keep it one more day, it can also reserve you the trouble of requesting extra time and getting charged extra at the last minute. No one is going to scold you for returning their car earlier than expected.

You don’t get without asking.

If you can swing by the rental car center, ask if they can put you in a better car, even if you are paying for an economic compact car. Some companies won’t mind putting you in a bigger or better car. It all depends on the type and number of cars on the lot, plus on the mood of the clerk. But it’s totally worth a shot.

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