Rental cars provide many conveniences — from helping you get around a city you just flew into to saving wear and tear on your own car during a weekend getaway.
With a rental car, you can pick the best vehicle for the job and it will likely be a newer model with built-in navigation and smartphone connections for syncing music.
It can be fun to drive something different than what you’re used to (most rental car companies offer cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, and even luxury models), but, if you’re not careful, it can cost you a good chunk of change, too. We’ve researched how to get the best price breaks on your rental, so use the navigation below to find the rental car deal that suits your needs:
Best Cheap Car Rental Deals
In our research, we always try to find the best deal, hands down. We scope out the top sites and look through their coupons and buying guides to determine the best course of action for saving the most cash. What we found was that aggregate sites typically offer the lowest price.
However, going to an all-in-one vacation planning site didn’t produce the lowest car rental rate. The best pricing we found was through a car rental comparison site, where you can view multiple brands in a single search.
CarRentals.com sorts through more than 33 car rental brands to find you the best rate, including the big names like Hertz, Enterprise, and Budget. You can search for available cars within a city or around a particular airport — the site supports 29,000 locations around the globe. Results are sorted by lowest total price, so be sure to check the taxes and fees (airport locations tend to charge more) not just the daily rate.
|Offer Category||#1 in Best Rental Car Deals|
|DealCrunch Rating||4.8 out of 5|
Quick Tip: While most companies allow you to pay at the counter, paying the full price in advance can often save you even more.
Best One-Way Car Rental Deals
One-way rentals are generally more expensive than other types of car rentals because you’re moving the company’s stock from one location to another rather than just returning it from where you picked it up.
When it comes to one-way car rentals, going through an aggregator, or comparison, site yields the best offers because you can look at several brands at once. Even though some rental brands offer specials, those deals aren’t guaranteed to be available when you need them. Plus, going through a comparison site makes it easy to see which brands accept one-way rentals for the cities you’re searching.
At Priceline, it’s easy to change the drop-off location to somewhere other than the pick-up, otherwise known as a one-way rental. Simply enter the two cities you’ll be traveling from and to, and within 30 seconds you’ll have a list of the brands offering one-way rental cars. If you want to check nearby cities, Priceline allows you to modify your search on the same screen for a more streamlined research and booking process.
|Offer Category||#2 in Best Rental Car Deals|
|DealCrunch Rating||4.3 out of 5|
Best Weekly Car Rental Deals
Consider just how long you’ll need your rental car to see if bumping the booking to a full week makes sense for your plans. With a weekly deal, you can knock down your daily rate down a bit, which often equates to getting the seventh day free.
It’s important to note that if you turn the car in before the seventh day, you won’t actually get the weekly rate. Instead, you’ll be charged the current market rate for the vehicle you rented.
We liked Kayak for searching weekly car rental deals because the site reports the total price for comparisons, not just the daily rate. Plus, the site makes it easy to search not just rental brands in various cities, but you can also compare Kayak against other aggregator sites like Hotwire and Expedia. Kayak makes it easy to sort by vehicle size and agency, plus you can even browse deals in neighboring cities
|Offer Category||#3 in Best Rental Car Deals|
|DealCrunch Rating||4.5 out of 5|
Best Monthly Car Rental Deals
Monthly rental cars are great for extended trips. Whether for business or pleasure, you can find good rates for long-term car rentals if you know where to look. Despite many car rental brands like Enterprise and Hertz offering monthly rental deals, when you break it down into a daily rate and compare it to others, you may find that, if there’s a discount, it isn’t that big.
Just be sure you’re comparing apples to apples as you shop for monthly car rental rates, and don’t forget to look into loyalty program and other membership discounts.
As the world’s biggest rental car booking services, RentalCars.com offers highly competitive rates. Booking a rental car is simple on the site — all you need are the dates and a city. You can easily edit your booking on the same page as the search results, which helps if you don’t have firm dates. Results show you the total monthly cost, so if you divide over the number of days you’re renting, you can get a daily rate that makes comparisons easier.
|Offer Category||#4 in Best Rental Car Deals|
|DealCrunch Rating||4.4 out of 5|
Best Last-Minute Car Rental Deals
When I travel, I rarely have my plans completely figured out. While that doesn’t always pan out for savings on flights, I have managed to take advantage of last-minute rental car deals.
Similar to hotels brands and their reservation process, rental car companies are more concerned with the number of vehicles rented than the actual price per rental. In that way, you can often score great last-minute deals or at least negotiate based on an advertisement from a competitor.
The price we found at Alamo was already pretty low, and that’s without applying any additional discounts you’d get with a AAA membership or the Alamo Insiders loyalty program. Alamo can be found at most major airports and offers competitive fares for rentals across the country. With their loyalty program, you can usually get a discount that blows most of the competition out of the water for last-minute rentals.
|Offer Category||#5 in Best Rental Car Deals|
|DealCrunch Rating||4.1 out of 5|
Best Weekend Car Rental Deals
There’s a secret to booking weekend car deals — adding the extra third or fourth day to discount your reservation.
Again, you should know that if you come up short, the weekend discount will be removed and you’ll end up paying full price. However, extending it the extra day or two to qualify for weekend car rental deals can actually save you money.
Budget offers a dedicated weekend discount for a three-day reservation, Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday. Your booking must include a Saturday to unlock the weekend savings with coupon code TUWZ038. The weekend rental car deal can be applied to any vehicle ranging from intermediate to full-size, which typically seats up to five people. Don’t be afraid to ask for a free vehicle upgrade at the counter — they give them out more often than you might think.
|Offer Category||#6 in Best Rental Car Deals|
|DealCrunch Rating||4.2 out of 5|
Best Travel Bundle Car Rental Deals
There’s always savings to be had when you bundle purchases — it’s true for your home and auto insurance, your internet and phone service, and even booking your travel. Check out our top picks for bundling your flight and hotel with your car rental.
Hotel + Car Rental Deals
Hotwire takes the guesswork out of comparing multiple travel bookings. The site walks you through your hotel booking first, then your rental car. When you search around a specific city or airport, you’ll be able to set preferences once the results come in. For hotels, you can sort by amenities, star class, and price. For rental cars, you can find vehicles by type, like SUV or sports car, as well as other specifications, including brand and transmission type.
|Offer Category||#7 in Best Rental Car Deals|
|DealCrunch Rating||4.4 out of 5|
Flight + Car Rental Deals
There are a few more options when it comes to booking a flight and rental car, particularly on the flight side of things, and Expedia helps ensure you cover all the bases. You will need to consider the class of your seat, the legs of your connections, and the city you’re flying into and out of. Once you choose a flight, you’ll be able to pick your rental vehicle. Expedia offers a neat feature that shows the pricing right next to features like type of vehicle or rental brand.
|Offer Category||#8 in Best Rental Car Deals|
|DealCrunch Rating||4.2 out of 5|
Rent Your Vehicle Online & Save Big
With great deals like these, it’s easy to get the perfect car — at the perfect price — for your next adventure. Whether that’s impressing business clients or seeing the sights in style, rental cars can do more than get you from point A to point B.
Regardless of where you book, remember to seek out rewards programs to further discount your booking (some brands even offer punch card deals that unlock free rentals for frequent customers).