Watch Out for These 4 Hidden Car Rental Fees – How to Avoid Them

When you’re planning a road trip or renting a car for an out-of-town business trip, the last thing you want is to be surprised by hidden fees from the car rental company.

Here are four fees often hidden in the fine print. You can avoid them while using the best car rental service.

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Fuel Charges

Some rental companies will charge you for a full tank of gas, even if you don’t use it all. Others will charge a per-mile fee for fuel. To avoid these fees, plan to fill up the tank before you return the car.

Early Return Fees

Most car rental companies advertise a low daily rate for their vehicles. But they don’t tell you that if you return the car even one minute early, you’ll be charged an early return fee.

This fee can be anywhere between $10 and $15, and it’s a total surprise when you’re handed your bill at the end of your rental.


To avoid this fee, return your car on time or even a few minutes late. That way, you won’t be charged the early return fee. You’ll only have to pay for the days you used the car.

Airport Surcharge

If you’re renting a car, chances are you’ll be charged an airport surcharge. It is a fee tacked on to your bill, and it can be anywhere between 7-10% of the total.

The surcharge is designed to cover the costs associated with operating at an airport, including things like ground transportation and facility fees. You should also know when it is the best time to rent a vehicle.

While it’s not a huge fee, it can add up, so it’s important to be aware of it when you’re budgeting for your rental car.

Drop-Off Charges


You’re finally on vacation after weeks of planning and packing. You land at your destination, collect your luggage, and head to the rental car center.

You can’t wait to get on the open road and start exploring. The rental car agent asks if you’ll be returning the car to the same location, and you say yes. They hand you the keys and off you go.

A few days later, it’s time to return the car. You drive it back to the rental center and park it in the return area.

As you’re walking away, the rental agent calls you, asking if you’re returning the car to the same location. You say yes and keep walking. The agent then informs you that there will be a drop-off fee because you’re not returning the car to the location where you picked it up.

You’re surprised and annoyed. You didn’t know about this fee, and now it will cost you extra money. You argue with the rental agent, but they don’t budge. The fee is non-negotiable.

If you’re renting a car, be aware that drop-off charges can be anywhere from 10-15% of the total fee. These charges are typically not included in the advertised price, so ask about them before you agree to rent a car.

It’s always best to be prepared and know what you’re getting into ahead of time.