Shop around

I’ve recently realized the value of shopping around for the best price. Since Jenn and I have been planning vacations together, we’ve been trying to price things out so it stays within our budget. Your first option isn’t necessarily the best option. And sometimes, what may seem inexpensive maybe not always be inexpensive. There are plenty of websites out there that will help you save so long as you make use of them.

When we went to Quebec, we rented a car for the week. My first call was to National Car Rental because my company has a plan with them. I asked for a quote and gave them the corporate contract number and they replied with a quote of $40/day for a mid-size vehicle. I thought that wasn’t too bad so I made reservations with them.

I informed my coworker of this, he told me that the price that I was getting seemed rather high. Our corporate contract should have given me a higher discount. When he was out in Charlotte, the price he paid compared to what he would have paid was close to 50% off. He tried to reserve a vehicle using his account but received the same results as I did. As we later found out, the 50% discount was only good in the US. The price that we pay in Canada works out to be the same.

I was hoping to get a better deal so I looked around some more. I visited Enterprise’s website and entered the same information as I did with National. My company had discount options with them as well so I was hoping for something. Enterprise quoted me at $35/day, $5/day cheaper than National. That was a big saving for the week so I made reservations with them and called up National to cancel. Enterprise was willing to give me the vehicle for a lower price and the car was slightly larger so I couldn’t refuse. I went with them for the week.

The thing that Enterprise failed to tell me was that if I rented with them for a while week, it would have cost me $1 more. I was a little baffled so I called them up and asked if that was the correct quote. It turned out to be right. So I rent the car from them as soon as I got off the phone. I’m not sure if the price would have been the same with National but since Enterprise was already cheaper than them, I assumed that they couldn’t go any lower.

For my next trip, I found that the prices were slightly different. This time around, I was going to the US so I wanted to pick up the car at the airport when I landed. Without the company discount, I would be looking at $500US to rent a vehicle for the week. With the company discount the price was cut in half. It appears that the company discount works in the US but not in Canada because it doesn’t cost that much to rent here. Seeing that the price, after the discount were the same for both companies, I decided to go with National because I would be getting reward points.

I wanted to see what the price would be if I made a slight change. Since I was schedule to land on a Saturday and leaving on a Sunday, the length of time that I’ll be renting the car for will be just over a week. The difference that a day made was a $35 charge if I rented with National. Enterprise’s price didn’t change when I added the extra day. I almost made reservation with them but I decided to look around for a bit.

We’ve been doing a lot of price comparison with Priceline.com so we decided to see what they had to offer. There was a company listed with them that quoted $139 for the week for the same type of car which means that I would be savings of $53. That was the lowest option on Priceline so I reserved with them.

I’ve used Priceline once before to book the hotel in Montreal but never before that. They seem to be a valuable resource to have when you’re traveling and look for the best rates on accommodations. When you’re trying to save as much as you can without having to pay for quality, it’s best to take a few minutes and look around for the best deals. You’ll never know how much you can save if you don’t shop around for a better deal. Never go with the first offer.