You are currently viewing Our favorite tool to book car rentals has changed its name (and 8 basic tips as a reminder)

Rental cars are another area where far too many travelers pay far too much, unfortunately. I’ll soon have a very detailed guide to help you, with videos too. But right away, I wanted to at least give you a reminder of the 2 most important tools to use, with 8 basic tips too.

Here’s a teaser on rental cars. comparison tool (formerly

Flytrippers’ favorite car rental comparison tool,, has been acquired by the big company you surely know, So it is now directly on

Important Click directly on our link (and any of our links) or save our link in your bookmarks, instead of going directly to their site! It allows you to support Flytrippers at absolutely no cost to you!

The key to everything in the world of travel is to compare. It’s really not rocket science: literally just take the time to compare.

So it’s obviously the case for rental cars too. It takes 2 minutes.

The cheapest supplier changes literally every day, so ignore the terrible “tips” from travelers who don’t know what they’re talking about and who say “supplier X is the cheapest in this destination” because it’s always pure bullshit.

It always changes. Always compare. Not complicated 🙂 will compare all car rental suppliers just like before, it’s just the name that’s changed. The tool ensures you get the best price available at that precise moment (see an important tip below, #3). The site also allows you to book in Canadian dollars, which is handy because of that same tip below.

We’re going to have a lot more content on the subject as mentioned, but I wanted to at least keep you updated on the change since I know many of you use our link to book and so Flytrippers still highly recommends for the best prices.


Hotwire comparison tool

The other tool I often use for car rentals (like last weekend in Florida) is Hotwire. Especially at the last minute!

It’s the tool Flytrippers also recommends for last—minute hotels.

Hotwire offers you opaque deals, which don’t explicitly show you the name of the rental car supplier. But even a 10-year-old can deduce the name very easily, assuming they know the tip. We explain it in the post on opaque deals.

I’ll say it again because it’s important: in the world of travel, there are so many tips that are soooooo simple but that unfortunately a lot of people don’t know. It’s normal when we don’t know! But that’s why it’s important to invest just a little bit of time in learning, as you should obviously do for any subject you want to be better at.

(For example, even in 2024 there are still people who use the roaming plan scam on their Canadian cell phone that costs $15 a day when an airalo eSIM card or a local SIM card costs $15 for a whole month often…)


8 basic tips for rental cars

There are many more in our free ebook, and our plan with our newly doubled Flytrippers team is to make more detailed videos and guides on each tip. But at the very least you should know these 8 tips right now.


1. Never pay for damage insurance

Rental car damage insurance is included free of charge on almost all credit cards, even the worst terrible ones that have no welcome bonuses and no annual fee (and that you should hopefully never apply for again, now that you know the basics of travel rewards).

Of course, this never covers liability insurance, only damage insurance. For liability, it’s often included in your personal auto insurance policy for Canada and the U.S., or in many countries it’s mandatory and included in the price of the rental car anyway. But don’t pay for damage coverage for nothing!


2. Book in advance

Car rental bookings are very often fully refundable for free, as are almost all hotels. Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of people still don’t know this, perhaps because of the all-too-common habit of getting ripped off with overpriced pre-built packages and tours that are twice as expensive and much less flexible.

Anyway, if you use to rent your car in advance as you should, it’s almost always refundable — always check. So book in advance as soon as you think there’s the slightest chance you’ll need a car, to make sure you get a good price. And worst case, you cancel if you don’t need it.

As long as you pay in Canadian dollars or with one of the 8 cards in Canada that don’t charge foreign transaction fees, you lose absolutely nothing and avoid paying more if prices ever go up, which is very likely.

With Hotwire, it is not often refundable. And it almost never is with opaque deals, which are almost always the cheapest. It’s precisely one of the reasons why it’s cheaper. So that’s why Flytrippers recommends it above all for last-minute bookings, or other situations where you’re sure you’ll need the car (or when you’re okay with your credit card‘s trip cancellation insurance, which obviously covers you as it does for all travel expenses, for the good covered reasons).


3. Constantly recheck the price of your rental

Since it’s refundable, so you can — and you should — double-check the price for your dates regularly right up to your pick-up date. 

Very often, the price will go down, sometimes even the day before. It’s extremely common and it allows you to save money so easily.

Simply make a new, cheaper booking and cancel the old one. While you wait for more details, I did a post on this tip for my hotel in India this summer (it’s the same for rental cars).


4. Don’t rent for your whole trip

The best way to save on rental cars is to not rent a car at all obviously.

For example, if you’re going to spend 2 weeks in Portugal (NOT an affordable country I repeat), don’t rent a car for your whole trip if you want to spend 4 days exploring the beautiful capital Lisbon! You don’t want to have a car in the city, so why pay the extra money too! Rent just for the days you really need it.

And if you’re not going to be moving around that much, or just in popular places, or just solo or with 1 travel buddy… sometimes it’s much more affordable and more enjoyable to use the very well-developed transport systems in most destinations around the world (outside North America).


5. Compare rental locations

Often the agency at the airport will be the cheapest, but sometimes just a short public transport ride (or even taxi/Uber) will take you to a local neighborhood rental agency.

It can often be half the price! Compare.

Once, I saved more than half the price with a simple 10-minute ride from Portland airport (PDX) to a major brand’s agency located in a local neighborhood!


6. Always book with international agencies

It’s a personal preference, sure. But so many people complain about being ripped off by car rental agencies, and it’s almost always with unknown local agencies.

It’s normal, they don’t give a damn about you, since the chances of you returning to that destination often are slim. Whereas international agencies want to be able to keep you as a client anywhere in the world, so local franchises are better supervised.

So I’ve booked dozens of rental cars in my life and I’ve never had one try to charge me for non-existent damages or other such scams. I always book with international agencies: Budget, Hertz, AVIS, Enterprise, National, Alamo, Thrifty, Dollar, Payless, Fox, Sixt, or Europcar.

I’m really not someone who pays more for no reason, but for this only, I like stacking the odds in my favor for not so much more expensive.


7. Don’t fall for a common scam

The rental car industry is honestly one of the worst out there. They’ll often try and tell you that the model you’ve booked is no longer available, to charge you extra. A lot of people don’t know what they’re doing, and they get ripped off.

The agency is obligated to give you a higher—class car if they run out of the class you’ve booked. Don’t pay more for that!

Speaking of car classes, if you want an automatic transmission, don’t forget to be careful outside North America, where most rental cars are manual.


8. Check if you need an international driving license

You obviously don’t need one in the United States. Personally I’ve rented in Colombia, El Salvador, Bonaire, South Africa, Morocco, Oman, Bahrain, Türkiye, Spain, Albania, Moldova, Cyprus… and never needed one.

But it’s like country entry rules, which are literally the only mandatory thing to check before you travel: there’s only one way to find out about the rental car rules of a specific country, and that’s to check.

If your destination requires it, or if you want to simplify your life, you can order a cheap international driver’s license 100% online in just a few clicks with the International Drivers Association.

They have 30,000+ 5-star reviews, an unlimited replacement policy, and a 100% money-back guarantee.


Bonus: Get elite privileges easily

Some premium cards give you free elite privileges for car rentals.

The American Express Platinum Card is by far the best premium card in Canada, for unlimited access to the largest VIP airport lounge network in the world for you and 1 guest (1,400+ lounges), the automatic Gold Elite status at Marriott and Hilton (15,000+ hotels), etc.

One of the lesser-known benefits is that you also get automatic elite status at Hertz too. They aren’t always the cheapest rental car agency (NONE of them can be the cheapest all the time if you’ve been following), but it is great when you do rent with them or if the price is not your first priority, as is the case for many luxury travelers or business travelers.

Just by having the American Express Platinum Card, you’ll get the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status. This has amazing benefits like entirely avoiding the line to pick up your car, discounts, free upgrades, an extra 4 hours for free on all rentals, waived 2nd-driver fees for your spouse, etc.

Finally, there is also a partnership between Aeroplan and Avis.

It’s the same principle with the 4 Aeroplan premium cards: Amex Aeroplan Reserve Card, Amex Aeroplan Business Reserve Card, TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card, CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card.

These give you elite status, but with Avis. Avis President’s Club status is also excellent.

You can also get the elite level just below, Avis Preferred Plus, for free, with the 3 main-level Aeroplan cards: Amex Aeroplan Card, TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card, CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card.

If you’re an Aeroplan elite member, you can also get Avis elite status without a credit card… but I want to make it clear that it really doesn’t make sense not to have an Aeroplan credit card if you’re an elite member.


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Summary (formerly and Hotwire are the best comparison tools to save money on rental cars. The preview of other basic tips is to help you while you wait for our detailed guide to this part of travel.

What would you like to know about rental cars? Tell us in the comments below.


See the flight deals we spot: Cheap flights

Discover free travel with rewards: Travel rewards

Explore awesome destinations: Travel inspiration

Learn pro tricks: Travel tips


Cover photo: Roadtrip (photo credit: Averie Woodard)

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 71/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jack

    I don’t know how they can compare prices when the price isn’t the whole price because of the insurance/s. How do you get them to accept that you have CDW on your card?

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      Hi Jack, the price doesn’t include CDW by default so you’re really comparing the right price.

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