car rental

Got A Great Price on Your Car Rental – But is it the Best Price?

So. you got a great deal on the car rental for your vacation. Cool! But, is it still the best price?

My wife has a habit of checking flight prices and car rental prices on occasion, after she’s booked them, but before the trip. Many times, this has paid off – sometime multiple times for the same ticket or rental!
Her method has been to just pop in and check from time to time, when she thinks about it, in the intervening months between booking and the actual trip. But, surely there must be a better way to make sure you don’t miss a price drop….

I went looking for such a price tracker for car rentals, and Perplexity.ai, an AI chat bot told me several websites offer this price alert service. Turns out, it’s not so straightforward to find. The AI listed a couple of services, which didn’t turn out to actually track car rentals after all. Kayak.com does, though. However, it’s still not easy to find. Kayak’s online help says there’s a price alert icon above the search results on the desktop version of their site, but not on their app. Well, it’s not actually on the search results page, either.

I actually found it by creating a Kayak account, then following these steps:

  1. Click on your username in the upper right corner
  2. Click on “Your Account”
  3. Click on “Notifications”
  4. Click on “Create a Price Alert”
  5. Choose car, flight, or stay (hotel)
  6. Create the alert, filling in the car rental city (oddly, although it offers “city”, “airport” etc. options, it doesn’t seem to register them differently), pickup date and time, drop-off date and time.
  7. Turn off all the other email notifications that you don’t want.
  8. You’re done. Kayak will email you when they detect a price change up or down.

This car rental price tracking service is useful even if you’re going through another channel to rent your car. We always rent through Costco Travel, so we get a better price, a free second driver, and other benefits. But, we’re using Kayak’s price tracking service to alert us when there’s a change, so we check Costco right away – assuming that they’ll show a price decrease as well.

We’re going to set price tracking for our hotel as well, even though we may book it elsewhere, too. It’ll prevent our missing a price drop in between our random price checks.