MONEY-SAVING MOMENT: When it comes to leisure travel, re-shopping your rental car or hotel booking the week before the trip can save you big bucks.
When you’re talking about rental cars, the most common pattern is that when somebody books an airline ticket, they also book their rental car.
But rental car reservations are, as a general rule, fully changeable; you pay no money upfront, just at the time you rent the car. So I routinely re-shop the rental car rate again a week before my trip.
For example, my family and I recently went to Denver for a ski trip. I originally booked the car for a week at $273 a good while ago. But when I re-shopped just before the trip with another company, I found a rate of $99 including junk fees. Wow! That was a lot of money back in my pocket.
Anecdotally, I’d say I save money at least 90% of the time by using this method. I can’t say it works 100% of the time because there are some times when it’s actually more expensive. In that case, I just stay with my original booking.
When it comes to hotels, you can usually change or cancel your booking at least up to 72 hours before your scheduled arrival. If you re-shop the week before your travels, you will be stunned how much you save.
If the hotel turns out to be more expensive when you re-shop it, that’s when you change to a booking on Hotwire or Priceline. In my experience, your savings by doing this could be substantially more than 50% off your original booking.