By: Revanche

$500: What a difference a day makes!

February 20, 2013


DISCOVERY! I’m super excited about this.

I’ve been booking travel, lodgings and car rentals for the year’s upcoming travel. “Seasoned” traveler that I am, you’d think that I would have remembered to try something like this before but nope, honestly, it was really just a mistake, a fluke.

My flight was originally booked for a Thursday instead of a Wednesday because once a year or two, I make a stupid mistake like that and book a flight or a hotel or the like for the wrong day. Luckily for me, United has instituted a 24-hour fee-free change period after purchase or this would be a very different post, full of chagrin and grumpy.

This time, my brain fizzle worked out wonderfully. The wrong dates, starting on the Thursday instead of Wednesday, were the dates I left entered into the car rental search page and just left there a few weeks back.

This was what I expected to pay:

Flipping through outdated tabs to close them out, the search page reloaded itself with new rates.  My eyes about popped out and did a do-si-do.

Instead of the outrageous $40+ per day I had budgeted for, there was a quote for about $10/day! Even after all the ridiculous taxes and fees that get tacked on, we’d save about two thirds of the expected cost when all’s said and done just by doing without a car the first day.

I thought the difference was either: renting a car the day after triggers the special week-rate instead of a daily rate, even though it showed a much-improved daily rate and they even charge that for the extra day at the end there; or that special rates become active on that specific date. I’m leaning toward the week-rate thing, personally.

The full rental is still more than two full weeks but changing how it’s booked does this:

Start the rental on Wednesday, pay about $53/day every day.

Start the rental on Thursday, pay about $20/day every day.

This isn’t usually a luxury that can be enjoyed while traveling but thankfully, we’re booked to stay at an AirBNB place where the hosts are willing to offer a ride or two. That flexibility lets us spend a bit more for the first days and still come out way ahead.

The new rate:


You’d better believe I jumped on that with both feet.

Of course, before booking, I made sure to double check Fatwallet and Ebates to see who had greater cashback to help defray the surcharges and whatnot. It was only 3% from Ebates but that beats the 1% from Fatwallet. It’s not like I’ll see that money for a long while since the account just paid out and it has a minimum payout threshold but it’s nice to bank a little something for later.

Know what this means? MORE FOOD.  Ok, it’s not like I didn’t already budget daily spending money but it’s nice to know there’s some flexibility in the budget now. I only anticipate spending on food and more food.

Pardon me, I’m going to carry on dancing a completely uncoordinated jig over here.

8 Responses to “$500: What a difference a day makes!”

  1. Shelley says:

    Wow – that is amazing (does it get even better if you start on Friday?)

  2. Mochimac says:

    “You know what this means? MORE FOOD.”

    This is what I think too.

  3. My girlfriends and I booked 3 nights in Vegas @ The Encore hotel with non stop flight from NYC on expedia. The difference between traveling on a Saturday morning as opposed to Friday night was about $225 per person! Needless to say we flew to Vegas on Saturday morning. The $225 we saved on flight we were able to splurge at several fine dining restaurants that we otherwise might not have indulged in.

    See my post:

    • Revanche says:

      That’s huge – I knew Sat ams were a bit cheaper if you’d take the crazy early flights but haven’t seen that big a difference in a while.

  4. […] We needed a rental car and rental companies on Hawaii tend to be ridiculous. After stalking them for a while, and, I scored a major deal. […]

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