By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TVBy Paula Ebben

BOSTON (CBS) – If you are planning a trip and need to rent a car, odds are you have already looked online to check out the dozens of websites that promise to find you a great deal. The problem is there is often a big difference between the advertised price and the amount you actually pay. Between the upgrade options, taxes, insurance and fees, there are all kinds of variables. Here are a few tips to make sure you drive away with a deal.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports

Savings in Numbers: Check with your company, alumni group, frequent flier program or AAA. These groups often offer discounts with certain rental companies.

Do Your Homework: Search a variety of websites and keep in mind that rates can rise as your rental date approaches.

Avoid Renting at the Airport: You will often find steeper fees at those airport kiosks, according to Kevin Turner at “One of our insider tips is to actually look at the city center when renting a car as opposed to the airport because it’s significantly cheaper,” he said. “You really need to factor in the cost of transportation to the city center in terms of a taxi or public transit,” he added.

Research the Insurance Options: Keeping costs down also depends largely on decisions you make at the rental counter, the most expensive being whether or not to accept insurance. “Most people are covered with their credit card,” explained Jill Rosenberg of AAA. But if you do go that route, you need to be aware that you may not be covered for liability and a claim could affect your personal auto insurance. A little research ahead of time will save you money down the road.

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