Last Updated on May 1, 2023 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.
Right now, we’re seeing significantly better deals than last year at this time but we don’t expect it to last. Demand will increase coming up to the long holiday weekend as last-minute bookers drive prices up.
We’re already seeing high demand for larger vehicles like minivans and fullsize SUVs. If you need a rental for the holiday weekend, we highly advise that you book something ASAP as we expect locations to sell out and prices to rise.
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. 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. And remember, there’s zero risk to booking early since you can always cancel if your plans change, and you can also track your rental with AutoSlash for lower rates, so if prices to happen to drop, you can always re-book at the lower rate.
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.
Planning on renting for fewer than 5 days? Consider pricing out a 5-day rental if your plans are flexible. A rental that is 4 days and 3 hours or longer is typically priced on a weekly rate plan. while anything shorter is priced on a daily rate plan. We’re seeing numerous cases where a weekly rate ends up being cheaper than 4 days or so at the daily rate. So it’s worth submitting multiple quotes for different lengths as you may be able to save by renting for a bit longer.
Taking a longer holiday weekend? Our recent data shows that picking up on the Tuesday leading into Memorial Day weekend is the least expensive day on average to rent for the holiday.
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.