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How Do You Find the Cheapest Rates on Car Rentals?

I’m almost finished planning our upcoming trips. The first trip is literally 24 hours, the second is a little over five days. I’ve booked hotels using advice from my absolute favorite website: Trip Advisor, but I still haven’t booked our car rentals. I hope to rent a convertible in Florida, which I know will blow our budget right out of the water, but hey, we’ll probably only drive over the Overseas Highway once in our lives, right?

I looked up a bunch of car rental companies, but all the prices seem to fall within the same range. Does anyone have any tricks for finding cheap car rentals? Are the coupons in the Entertainment book valuable?

My book expired in November and I’m not certain that the coupons will save me that much money compared to the advertised rates. Any suggestions?

One Frugal Girl

Friday 27th of November 2009

I used a combination of Priceline.com and the Entertainment.com website. I used one site for one trip and one site for the other. Overall I saved over $150 on both trips! Thanks for all the advice!

evy

Wednesday 25th of November 2009

Priceline(name your own price) or Costco in my experience offer the best rate. I recently booked a full size car rental(Alamo) in Orlando for $22 a day thru Priceline. I saved $50 total over Costco's best rate.

vm

Wednesday 25th of November 2009

Thirding AAA. Don't go with their "recommended" car company. Look at their rates for other car companies. I found a rate of $266 for 10 days on our last trip for a small sedan.

Alex

Tuesday 24th of November 2009

To pat myself on the back here, I'm very good at finding the cheapest car rental rates. Here are some tips:

1. Check all locations within transportation range of where you will be. For instance, I saved $100on a 3-day rental by booking a car rental from Alexandria, VA instead of from National airport (which is in Alexandria).

2. Find the cheapest rate on hotwire & another search engine and then underbid it on priceline.

3. Consider renting from a cheap location and driving to your location. This means more driving but you can really save a lot of money by avoiding high cost airports.

4. Last, and this is my all-time best tip. The car rental companies are in cahoots, & have been raising the prices on car rentals lately. They claim this is because they have reduced inventory, but the prices have become ridiculous, so I really do think their price-fixing. So the tip is: avoid the oligopolists. Consider renting from alternative companies to save money. For instance a one week rental in Fl may cost you several hundred dollars, but renting a pickup truck from U-Haul or a moving company will save you hundreds. Alternate companies, e.g., rent-a-wreck could save you hundreds.

Mrs. Money

Tuesday 24th of November 2009

Have you tried AAA, hotwire, or Expedia? Those may be all good places to try. Also call your credit card company and ask if they partner with some company for discounts!