Don’t let transportation issues put the brakes on a great vacation.
Road trips are the way to go this fall and winter, as many prefer the open road to the friendly skies when traveling nowadays.
If you don’t have an RV or SUV of your own, renting a car is a perfect plan to travel safely and hassle-free if you need to drop it off along the way and fly home.
After mapping out your vacation, heading to the local car rental agency can also be a speed bump, as lines have been longer than ever to rent a car and prices due to car shortages have been skyrocketing.
To help navigate your car rental journey and avoid any unforeseen price hikes, we’ve done some digging to find the best car rental companies that you can book in advance. Skyscanner, Tripadvisor and Travelocity see below for how to gas up and go for your next vacation.
Best Car Rental Companies
Skyscanner is a budget traveler’s best friend, for flights and now for cars, too.
Not only can you be super flexible with different pickup and drop-off locations, but the site will automatically compare prices between the top rental companies in the locations you’re looking at to get you the best deal.
Trip Advisor is a one-stop shop for all your travel needs, from tickets to your car rental.
Head over to the car rental tab of the site and then browse available rides in more than 60,000 locations worldwide. Choose to look by destination to help you plan a trip from scratch, or look up your nearest airport or city to see what vehicles they have to offer you and your crew.
Rent a car, share your ride and more with Sixt.
The service is both a traditional car rental service as well as a ride share. Choose what works best for you and either book your rental before your vacation, or sign up for the ride share service — or do both to unlock all the transportation you could need on your trip.
Take a road trip with Expedia.
The booking platform also does car rental, with the latest deals listed here. Plug in your destination and your requirements and let Expedia do the rest.
No magic here, just good prices and a friendly Travelocity gnome.
This travel site can be used for any type of trip, include ones that need four wheels instead of two wings. Head to the car rental tab and then choose between a traditional rental car or a quick airport transfer, with options for pick-up or drop-off at hotels and airports worldwide.
Finding the right car for the right price can be overwhelming. Rentalcars.com makes it easier. The site links you to some of the biggest car rental services in one spot, so it’s simpler to price compare. Best of all, if you find a cheaper rental elsewhere, the company will match the price. It also offers flexible bookings on most reservations.
“Brands you trust at prices you’ll love” is Hotwire’s motto, and looking at some of the rental deals, we tend to agree. Search options from top names, such as Hertz and Enterprise. You (and your wallet) may be happily surprised. Hotwire is also a great place to price compare hotels, vacations, and flights. Don’t forget to download the app for even bigger savings!
AARP members, listen up.
Orbitz is a great company to use for anyone wanting to get away and needing a rental car. However, for AARP members, you can also browse cars that have AARP membership rates and deals, making your trip more fun and less expensive. They also offer options for airport transportation to and from your local airport should your journey continue overseas.
Need a car rental in a flash?
Zipcar is another cool platform that strays from traditional rental companies. This one is membership based, allowing you to book cars whenever and from wherever you’d like. They then have car lots across the county, for you to pick up and drop off the vehicle when your rental is over — plus, gas is included!
On a budget?
No worries, as for a limited time, save up to 35% off when you book a car at Budget and pay now. Even better, if you are an Amazon user, participate in the Budget + Amazon Road Trip event and save up to 30% off your rental and get 10% back in Amazon gift cards.
With more than 15,000 locations worldwide, National can give you the hook up, whether you’re in the states or overseas. Like a rugged pick-up? Not a problem. Prefer a zippy compact car? Go for it. The site is fairly straight forward to navigate, and if you enroll in the company’s Emerald Club, you’ll enjoy perks like no second driver fees and free rental days.
Get a move on to save big on car rentals with Avis now. The car rental service can be found at most airports, but booking online unlocks the best deals, like free upgrades, $15 off on three-day bookings and more.
While it may not be a dollar, you will be saving some cash when booking your car rental with Dollar Car Rental. Book now and check out deals on their site, including 15% off the base rate of your next rental and more.
This enterprise is between you and your car rental company.
Enterprise is a name-brand car rental service, available at most every airport. However, we recommend booking ahead online to not only avoid lines at the counter but get in on deals have time to carefully research your car before the big trip.
Whether you’re driving to your high school reunion or planning a weekend getaway, KAYAK can help you price compare on some of the best car rental companies around. There are hundreds of cars to choose from, ranging from economy picks to SUVs. The site’s filter makes it simple to select ones with built-in GPS or a free-cancellation policy, and if you need a hotel or decide to fly instead, it can help with that too.
Thrifty has been around since 1958, and according to the company website, it’s one of the largest car rental companies in the world! It has pick-up and drop-off locations across the country, and if you’re an AAA member, you’ll enjoy even bigger savings on your rental. Regardless if you need a mini van for that family trip or have something more luxurious in mind, there’s a good chance you’ll find it at Thrifty.
Want to rent a car but not go through the hassle of a traditional rental service?
If you prefer Uber-like services, Turo is the service for you. Individuals can rent their cars out for Turo users to borrow, with add-ons like car drop-off and pickup, extra milage and more. Have a special occasion? You can also opt to rent luxury or designer cars, too.
How do I choose a good car rental?
Even if you own a car, there are occasions when renting one is the best option. If you’re taking your sister’s five kids for the weekend, for example, your two-seat BMW may not be ideal. Here are some things to consider when shopping around.
Number of passengers: This may seem like a no-brainer, but you want to make sure that you and everyone you’re traveling with is comfy, right? Yes, finding the best car rental deals for your budget is important but comfort is key, so don’t forget to factor in the number of passengers you have. It’s important to also consider storage for luggage or anything else you’ll be traveling with. Many people like renting bigger vehicles, such as SUVs and mini vans, for this reason. If that’s you, too, check out the best priced car rentals at Sixt or Tripadvisor.
Pick-up and drop-off locations: Convenience is king when it comes to renting a ride, so don’t forget to consider pick-up and drop-off locations beforehand. Do you need to get to the airport right after or walk back from the rental center? If so, the last thing you want is to choose a company that’s out of the way. Fortunately, most places, like Skyscanner and Expedia, make it a breeze to filter rentals by zip code or city, so these concerns become a non-issue.
Cancellation policy: Plans change, so it’s wise to find a car rental service, like Rentalcars.com or KAYAK, that offer flexible bookings. Make sure to review a site’s cancellation policy before slapping down your credit card. This could save you money in the long run.
Car insurance coverage: If you have car insurance, there’s a fair chance your policy already covers car rentals. However, it’s always smart to check the specifics. Most rental services offer additional coverage, as well, for things such as theft or collision damage, but it’s up to you to decide whether the extra protection is needed or not.
What is the best car rental company for customer satisfaction?
According to a 2022 press release from J.D. Power, Enterprise had the highest ranking in customer satisfaction. National ranked second, while Alamo came in third. All three made our list, so we’re not surprised. However, there are many other car rental companies to consider if these don’t work for you.
Skyscanner, for example, is great for those on a budget. The site not only compares rental prices, but milage, fuel and flexible booking. Similarly, Tripadvisor is another place worth checking out, especially if you’re planning an entire vacation. Along with car rentals, you can find info on hotels, restaurants and all the other things needed to curate the perfect trip.
Check out New York Post Shopping for more content.