Last Updated on April 18, 2021 by Elizabeth
Do you need a rental car for Memorial Day weekend? As the unofficial kickoff to summer, the three-day weekend is traditionally one of the top travel holidays of the year. In any normal year, that would mean that you should reserve a rental car several weeks ahead, as some locations might run out of vehicles.
But this is not a normal year. The U.S. is now experiencing a major rental car shortage, so booking two or three weeks in advance is not going to be good enough. Waiting too long to lock down a vehicle will mean (a) paying through the nose; (b) being priced out of the market; or (c) not even having the option to overpay because every car will be sold out. All of those scenarios will be very likely for Memorial Day weekend, when demand is sky-high.
How to Get a Cheap Rental Car for Memorial Day Weekend
Book four to six weeks ahead.
Given the current rental car shortage, we recommend booking a rental car for the holiday weekend four to six weeks ahead. We are seeing situations around the country where customers find a cheap airfare for $50 or $60 only to end up paying 10 times that for a rental car. The earlier you lock in your rental vehicle, the less likely you will pay nosebleed rates.
If you aren’t sure you need a rental car for Memorial Day weekend, consider booking one anyway on spec. Unlike airline tickets, rental car reservations can be canceled without a penalty if you reserve the “Pay Later” rate. A smart strategy is to ask AutoSlash for a quote at least four weeks beforehand, and then watch to see if prices dip.
Track your reservation.
It’s a time-sucking chore to constantly monitor your reservation to see if you can snag a lower rate, but AutoSlash will do this for you at no extra cost. After you book your car, ask AutoSlash to track your reservation. We’ll shoot you an alert if there’s a price drop so you can rebook at the lower rate.
Make the most of a weekend rate.
Car rental companies will often offer very attractive weekend promo rates—but there may be some strings attached. Be sure you understand what restrictions may be in place when you make your reservation.
Check both on and off airport.
Flying into an airport rental might be convenient, but it might also be pricey. A short Uber ride to a nearby neighborhood rental location could cut your rate in half. But off-airport rates aren’t always cheaper, so it pays to check both.