Summer is here, the season that used to be for family vacations and travel. Unfortunately, many are not able to travel due to the economy, rising gas prices and money just getting tighter. There are many ways to save money on vacations, though. They don’t have to be that expensive. In this article, I’m going to talk about how to save money on car rentals, and how to protect yourself when renting a car.

Number one, to save money on car rentals, search online. There are many travel websites available that allow you to search for car prices. They start as low as $13.95 per day. Some websites even allow you to put in a maximum amount that you are willing to pay, so you are less likely to get blind-sided by hidden costs at the time of the car rental.

Second, when you rent the car, check the odometer yourself. Don’t take for granted that they have put down the correct number on their paperwork. Everybody makes mistakes, and you don’t want to pay the consequences, and have a much higher bill than you should, because somebody wrote down the wrong numbers.

Another one of the ways to save money on rental cars and protect yourself is by checking the rental car yourself. Make sure it does not have any damage before you leave the lot. If it does and the previous renter did not report it, you could be charged for the damages. Don’t assume that they have everything written down, and that as long as you take care of the car you won’t have to pay anything extra.

Before renting a car, call your car insurance company and find out if rental cars are covered, or find out how much a policy would be through them. Quite often this is considerably cheaper than getting an insurance policy through a car rental company.

Finally, read the contract given to you by the car rental company before you sign it. Don’t allow yourself to be surprised later on if they tell you that you signed acknowledging that you read and understood what they are now telling you. Know what you are signing.

Renting a car, if done correctly, can be a good experience. It does not have to be too costly or stressful, but it can be. Follow these tips to guarantee yourself that you are getting the best deal available and to protect yourself in the process.