When is the right time to rent a car for the holiday season?

2 min readNov 9, 2022
Photo by Martin Smythe, Wisecars Share Your Travel Story competition

Wisecars suggests planning early for the holiday season as data and customer feedback from previous years show that travelers leave reserving a rental car to the last minute, which means they have to pay more than double the amount per rental.

The best time to book for the 2022 winter holiday season is from mid-October to early November.

“There’s a misconception among travelers that last-minute deals are cheaper. As car rental companies reduced their vehicles during the pandemic, this is definitely not true for car rental. During the holiday season, people who haven’t booked ahead might not even get a vehicle. We definitely recommend booking one beforehand when there are still plenty of offers available.” Stated Steve Brax, Wisecars spokesman.

Steve Brax’s tips from Wisecars for saving on holiday car rental:

  • Research the busiest travel times and avoid those. Try traveling a couple of days or weeks before the seasonal madness.
  • Choose a booking site with flexible cancellation terms, book early and monitor the price. For example, Wisecars provides free cancellation up to 48 hours before the pick-up.
  • Make sure you know what size of vehicle you need. Usually, you book a car class: meaning if you book a Nissan Versa you might instead get a Toyota Corolla or Hyundai Elantra. If you find out that you need a bigger vehicle while already picking up the vehicle the cost for an upgrade might be quite high.
  • Check for insurance-exclusive or inclusive deals based on the coverage your credit card company offers. Buying damage waivers from car rental companies is generally much more costly than using third-party or credit card insurance providers.
  • The golden rule of car rental is that downtown locations are usually cheaper than airport locations.
  • Play around with the pick-up and drop-off times. Car rental days are usually calculated based on 24-hour “blocks”. For example, if you pick up your vehicle at 1 PM and drop it off the next day at 2 PM, most car rental companies will charge you for 2 days of the rental instead of 1. Some suppliers also have cheaper deals available for off-peak pick-up times, i.e. mornings. Sometimes, the weekly rate is also much lower, so it makes sense to extend your travel plans.

In other words, what we recommend as a car rental broker. Book your rental car early for the holiday season, because last-minute deals may seem tempting, but you often end up paying double for them. Now is a good time to get ready for the holiday season.




WiseCars is a car rental broker staffed by people who have worked in the online car rental industry for over 20 years.