I love the internet.
This is especially true in a new town, in a new country. The internet, and all the clever people who make it work, let me share photos and experiences with my loved ones when I’m thousands of miles away. I can check local times so that I don’t wake up said loved ones at 2.30am with a text (sorry mum, I won’t do it again). The internet means that I never get lost or miss an episode of Scandal or have to carry maps and travel guides around. I don’t have to remember how to convert Fahrenheit to Centigrade or miles to kilometers and I can google my favorite recipe for spaghetti carbonara when I’m in the supermarket.
And today, while I was booking a rental car, this good thing got even better and became a time and money saver. I’ve been reading articles I found online (naturally) by the Frugal Traveler, a column in the New York Times that I have been reading since arriving in the USA. They are amusing and informative and about doing the things you want to do without having to pay exorbitantly for it. Since I like that approach to travel, and needed to rent a car, I trusted the article titled ‘Want to save on car rentals? Go low-tech’
The advice was to start with a website like Expedia or Kayak to find out my options. I’d have done that anyway but I didn’t know about carrentals.com, a site that includes the local car rental companies that the big boys don’t. Sadly, car rentals.com didn’t have anything to offer me and I quickly came to the conclusion that most of the others are all pretty similar so I chose the best deal and made my reservation.
Then things got interesting. Without the help of the Frugal Traveler I wouldn’t have known that my work was not ended. I didn’t know that car rentals can be cancelled right up until you rock up to the counter and hand over your credit card. This opens the door for a website called AutoSlash (and no doubt countless others) that I had never heard of. AutoSlash is a price tracking service. You input your rental car confirmation code and it starts checking all the reservation channels for a better deal for you. With just a tiny bit of skepticism, I gave them my details and got back to work and within an hour I had an email telling me that there was a better deal for my rental that would save me US$80. I can’t imagine the hours that AutoSlash saved me, or if it would even have been possible to do myself, so I was pretty chuffed with that! And it was free.
I also learned via the internet that I could get a better deal on rental insurance online than I would at the car rental company so I did that too.
So the car is sorted and all that’s left is to is conquer my anxiety about driving on the ‘other’ side of the road. Even the internet can’t help with that.
Categories: An American Adventure