Sunday Savings Series: Rental Cars

Some of these are rentals…

One thing that can eat up a huge chunk of your budget is a rental car. Renting a car tends to be expensive in Florida because it is a tourist state, it’s all part of the law of supply and demand. You still don’t want to overpay. Here are some tips and things to remember when it comes to renting a car for your Walt Disney World vacation.

The first thing that you need to ask yourself is do you even need to rent a car? If you’re staying on property and flying into Orlando International Airport you can take Disney’s Magical Express, and then use Disney transportation. Even if you aren’t staying on property you might want to consider using Uber or Lyft to get to your hotel, and then use the same service to get to and from the parks each day. It may sound like the cost will add up, but it’s currently $25 a day to park at the theme parks, so the cost of a ride could be a wash. If your hotel has a shuttle, even better, as long as it will work for you and your schedule. 

Not everyone wants to spend every moment of their Walt Disney World vacation at Walt Disney World, I get that. But do you need to rent the car for your entire trip? Maybe you could rent a car for 24 hours so that you can enjoy a beach day, but not pay for a car that will sit in the hotel parking lot the rest of your vacation.

One thing that I have noticed is that the prices for rental cars are usually more expensive if you book through a specific company’s website. I like to book through Expedia. What I will do is search for Expedia through Swagbucks and book that way. I’ll earn both Swagbucks and Expedia points through it, and I will still pay less for the car than if I booked directly through the website.

If you are staying on property you need to remember that there is a parking fee overnight at the resorts. A rental car will end up adding $13 to $24 per night to your vacation, depending on where you stay. That will add up quickly. Many off property hotels also have a parking fee, so you’ll want to ask or read the fine print on the website before you decide if you want to rent a car.

It’s not hard to find a rental car if you are in Central Florida without one. This is a tourist area, there are almost as many rental car places as there are buffets. There’s even a rental place near the Magic Kingdom. If you are here and realize that you wish you had a car, you should be able to find one. The main exception to that is if there is a hurricane or tropical storm forecast, cars might sell out then.

Here’s one last rental car tip that might help you to save a little bit of money. Rent the cheapest car that will meet your needs. If you plan to use the car to drive to Miami, you might want something a bit more comfortable than if you only plan to drive to the parks and back to the airport. The cost of rental cars goes up quite a bit as the size goes up, so keep that in mind. Also, keep the extras to a minimum. You can use the GPS on your phone, and we have plenty of radio stations in Florida, so you don’t need to use satellite radio. In fact, it makes sense to listen to a local station, because no one at SiriusXM will tell you when a storm is about to roll in or where traffic on I-4 is backed up. As long as you have air conditioning in the rental you should be good to go. You don’t need a lot of the other extras.