When making your journey finances, don’t assume that lodging and airfare can be your largest expense. Now, greater than ever, rental vehicles are shaping as much as be one of many largest — and stubbornly excessive — features of individuals’s trip budgets.

Whereas airfare and lodging costs are definitely close to all-time highs, rental vehicles are among the many largest worth will increase of all journey bills. When evaluating costs for July 2022 versus July 2019 (the final regular summer season pre-pandemic), resort costs are up 7% , in line with the newest set of Shopper Worth Index information launched in August 2022. Airfares are up 16%. However rental vehicles are up a whopping 48%.


Like most journey prices, rental automotive costs sharply dropped in April and Could 2020 as folks started calling off holidays to remain at house. However issues started to show round firstly of 2021 when costs started growing each month, constructing as much as a report excessive set in July 2021.

Highway journeys had been particularly sizzling that summer season (thus excessive demand), however different elements — together with a world semiconductor scarcity and tourism trade labor shortages — contributed to low provide. Actually, leisure and hospitality sector employment stays 7.8% under pre-pandemic ranges, in line with an evaluation of Bureau of Labor Statistics information from the U.S. Journey Affiliation.

Costs have barely dipped from the July 2021 report, however they’re nonetheless far above pre-pandemic pricing.


NerdWallet performed an evaluation of 360 rental automotive reservations to raised perceive the most cost effective methods to hire. Among the findings could show you how to save in your subsequent rental automotive.

Among the many rental automotive firms within the evaluation, Enterprise is normally the most cost effective, whereas Nationwide is costliest. The evaluation additionally discovered that last-minute leases are usually cheaper than these booked months upfront. And also you’ll nearly all the time save by reserving at an off-site rental automotive location versus on the airport.

That data may help you higher perceive the most cost effective locations to e-book, however generally reserving from a particular location or firm is perhaps non-negotiable with the character of your journey. These different methods can nonetheless show you how to save:

  • USE TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS: Some journey bank cards supply rental automotive insurance coverage as a part of their advantages, although it might exclude sure forms of costly vehicles or leases in some international locations. When it’s relevant although, it may prevent cash on the additional insurance coverage you may need in any other case signed up for on the counter.
  • JOIN RENTAL CAR LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Advantages range based mostly in your degree of elite standing, although some ranges can embrace free upgrades and waived charges. You may even get computerized standing by means of a bank card. But even the entry-level, free-to-join tiers can embrace perks like precedence strains.
  • RESERVE NOW AND PAY AT THE COUNTER: Many rental automotive firms provide the choice to pay on the counter. Paying upon pickup has two main advantages versus paying upfront: First, ought to that you must cancel your journey, you take away the headache of making an attempt to get a refund because you gained’t have put down any cash anyway. Second, if charges drop, you possibly can all the time cancel and rebook at a decrease price.


Throw in excessive gasoline costs, and highway journeys is perhaps one of the vital costly methods to journey nowadays. Listed below are some methods to chop again on prices.

  • USE APPS TO FIND CHEAP GAS: Apps like GasBuddy monitor native gasoline costs and may help you discover the most cost effective gasoline stations alongside your route.
  • CONSIDER AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE: With an electrical automotive, you’ll keep away from paying for gasoline fully. Whereas you should still must pay to cost it, some inns supply free electrical car charging as a visitor profit.
  • PLAN A BUDGET-FRIENDLY ROUTE: For those who’re open-minded to location, think about driving by means of states with decrease gasoline costs. Over the last week of July, the three states with the bottom gasoline costs had been Georgia, South Carolina and Texas, in line with AAA information.


Earlier than you get too caught up within the pleasure of a highway journey, be sure you can afford it. With costs a lot increased than they had been two years in the past, you don’t need to get caught off guard. Maintain off on reserving your flights or inns till you’ve in contrast rental automotive costs and included it in your journey finances.

This text was offered to The Related Press by the non-public finance web site NerdWallet. Sally French is a author at NerdWallet. E-mail: [email protected].