Best time to reserve-a month before or a week before?

 
Old Sep 22, 12, 10:14 am
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Best time to reserve-a month before or a week before?

Been watching the rental prices for the past 6 weeks. I will be renting a car for 2 weeks in the West Palm Beach area in mid October. September prices were very good but as soon as I viewed October the prices jumped significantly.

As it gets closer to the fly date it seems the prices have lowered a bit but still not as good as the September values.

I am planning to wait perhaps till the week before I fly but is this a good idea?
Any suggestions to getting a good price now?
Would one get a better price if one called Dollar direct and reserved?

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Old Sep 26, 12, 2:20 pm
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You should reserve a car at the earliest time that you can, then you can keep looking for lower rates. Its usually free to make a reservation so long as you cancel the others at least 24 hours before the pick up time, you would have to make sure of course. I have seen rates rise and rates drop, it depends on the demand which is "gauged" every day. With Dollar/Thrifty its free to make reservations. Also preferably make your reservations online, although you can also call, NEVER just walk up to the counter without looking to see what the prices are online because the counter can be pricier than the online rate.
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Old Sep 26, 12, 2:34 pm
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Originally Posted by am1108 View Post
You should reserve a car at the earliest time that you can, then you can keep looking for lower rates. Its usually free to make a reservation so long as you cancel the others at least 24 hours before the pick up time, you would have to make sure of course. I have seen rates rise and rates drop, it depends on the demand which is "gauged" every day. With Dollar/Thrifty its free to make reservations. Also preferably make your reservations online, although you can also call, NEVER just walk up to the counter without looking to see what the prices are online because the counter can be pricier than the online rate.
"Gauged"? So, if demand appears high that the dates at which I am interested then the rates will also be high? If so then many rental companies are anticipating a high demand in mid October in the West Palm Beach area cause their rates are rather pricey during that time.

Thanks for the advice and insight.
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Old Sep 27, 12, 9:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Heidelberg Barbie View Post
"Gauged"? So, if demand appears high that the dates at which I am interested then the rates will also be high? If so then many rental companies are anticipating a high demand in mid October in the West Palm Beach area cause their rates are rather pricey during that time.

Thanks for the advice and insight.
It would be a high demand for the # of cars that they have, remember that at this time FL cars are migrating to other places because the travel season is slowing down for FL (summer is over)

Your welcome,
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Old Sep 28, 12, 12:08 am
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Originally Posted by am1108 View Post
It would be a high demand for the # of cars that they have, remember that at this time FL cars are migrating to other places because the travel season is slowing down for FL (summer is over)

Your welcome,
Ah yes, I have seen programs where one can rent a car and if you agree to drop it off at a specific location (like someplace north) then you can get a good rate. Ergo: less cars to rent = higher 'demand' on those cars left?

I am getting the "picture"
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Old Sep 28, 12, 6:42 am
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It would be a high demand for the # of cars that they have, remember that at this time FL cars are migrating to other places because the travel season is slowing down for FL (summer is over)

No, actually the one-way deals to leave FL happen in the late spring shoulder season, when the FL winter/spring break high demand period is over. The summer in south FL is off-peak, due to hurricane season and nice weather up north.

Oct-Nov is another shoulder season, but in reverse. The northern markets cool off, and demand increases in warmer southern markets. So the rates in FL tend to creep up, and sometimes one-way deals from the Northeast are offered. Hence the high rates the OP saw in Oct.
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Old Sep 28, 12, 12:55 pm
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I'm thinking I will have to 'bite the bullet' and reserve by at least the second week in October. But I do appreciate the tips and explanations. The Car Rental industry is complex but I am beginning to understand.
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Old Oct 2, 12, 3:44 pm
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Originally Posted by Heidelberg Barbie View Post
I'm thinking I will have to 'bite the bullet' and reserve by at least the second week in October. But I do appreciate the tips and explanations. The Car Rental industry is complex but I am beginning to understand.
You can make a reservation now just in case the price goes up, for sure its free to make them and you can cancel them before the pick up date. I would just keep checking rates for all of the companies.
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Old Oct 2, 12, 3:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Auto Enthusiast View Post
It would be a high demand for the # of cars that they have, remember that at this time FL cars are migrating to other places because the travel season is slowing down for FL (summer is over)

No, actually the one-way deals to leave FL happen in the late spring shoulder season, when the FL winter/spring break high demand period is over. The summer in south FL is off-peak, due to hurricane season and nice weather up north.

Oct-Nov is another shoulder season, but in reverse. The northern markets cool off, and demand increases in warmer southern markets. So the rates in FL tend to creep up, and sometimes one-way deals from the Northeast are offered. Hence the high rates the OP saw in Oct.

I know there is a Northwest (WA, OR, ID) drive out that happens around this time, but contrary to your points (which makes sense) im pretty sure there was one (previous) year where there was a FL driveout around this time. I thought summer was busy in FL due to families going on summer vacations to the amusement parks, etc.
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Old Oct 2, 12, 7:33 pm
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The Northwest driveouts right now are for the same reason as to FL. Short but intense summer season in Seattle/Oregon, but getting cold now, and Phoenix, Las Vegas et. al. remain warm.

FL driveouts almost never happen in the fall. They're buying new cars in south FL, waiting for hurrican season to end and the winter rush to begin. Once in a rare while one such brand new car with FL plates will show up at one of the local rental lots in NY, for an exorbitant one-way price with the previous customer, according to the counter agent. Drive in, yes. "Reasonable" one-way rates out, perhaps rarely, but not officially a driveout.
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Old Oct 3, 12, 11:51 am
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Well, I reserved a car this morning. When I returned home this evening I checked the rates and low and behold the rates had dropped nearly 10%! So, I reserved again and canceled the earlier reservation!
What happened! Did 'they' know I'd made a commitment and dropped the rates? Strange.
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Old Oct 3, 12, 2:25 pm
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You don't have to cancel and make a new reservation. Just modify the old one. Click on Change Car, and the new prices should appear. If not, click Change Pickup Time, etc.
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Old Oct 3, 12, 11:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Auto Enthusiast View Post
You don't have to cancel and make a new reservation. Just modify the old one. Click on Change Car, and the new prices should appear. If not, click Change Pickup Time, etc.
I did not know I could do that ... if the price changes for the better once again then I will know how to do it.

Thanks again for the tip.
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Old Oct 4, 12, 1:09 am
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The price dropped AGAIN! This morning I checked and another $10 per week was sliced off the weekly rental.

I modified my reservation as suggested by Auto Enthusiast ... so I have saved over 25% in the last 24 hours.

Go figure.
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Old Oct 4, 12, 12:29 pm
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The price has dropped once again. In the 8 hours since my last modification of my reservation, the price has dropped by $20 for a one week rental.

Is this normal?

I am not complaining. Really! Right now I am getting a rate of just under $15 per day!

You KNOW I'll be checking again and again. Can I get it down to $10 per day????

This is weird but fun.

Last edited by Heidelberg Barbie; Oct 6, 12 at 2:23 am
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