Updated: December 2017

Cheap Rental Cars - Guide to Getting the Lowest Rate:

Renting a car is really easy in todays Internet world. Just pop onto your favorite travel or rental car website and pick your location and car type with your specified dates. How do you know you are getting the best possible rate on your rental car? The easy answer is you don't. Sure, some travel sites tell you they have compared all the available rates, but they probably haven't included discount codes or promotional coupons you could use to further your savings. Finding the cheapest rental car takes a little more research on your end, but I have found that I am able to save up to 30% off the quoted rate by using discount codes provided free of charge. With the right rental car coupon you could be driving away in a luxury sedan for the same price as a full size or getting a free day. Rental car companies are always running deals and you can take advantage of them like 1000's of others are doing each day. Keep reading below to find out which sites offer the best discount codes and which rental car companies are the best to go with.

To start with, the major rental car companies are Hertz, Avis, National, Dollar, Budget, Alamo, Thrifty, Enterprise and Payless. You will find most if not all of these rental car agencies at the biggest airports in America like Miami, New York City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, San Diego, and San Francisco. The real question is, which company will offer the best rental car rate? Each city is different and the discount rates are based on a variety of variables like car type, length of rental, and airport location. The good news is that as long as you are not committed to just one rental car company, you can get a good deal. I know that many of you travel for business and don't pay the rental car bill and want your perks from Hertz or Avis. That's fine, but when you are renting a car for personal or leisure use, you should be concerned about getting the lowest rate available. You also need to be flexible on car type - compact, full size, mid size, luxury, SUV, minivan, etc. With all that being said, I have been able to use discount travel sites like Priceline.com, where you enter in what you want to pay for the rental car, and I've gotten some incredibly low rates. I would use Priceline and Hotwire as last resorts for booking rental cars and go with a guaranteed system to find the lowest rates on your own. Start by going to some of the sites we have listed below or go to Google search results and type in "rental car discounts" or "coupon codes for rental cars" and see what results come up. You'd be surprised how easy it is to find a 20% off code that you enter when you are booking online or over the phone and instantly save $$$.

Discounts and Coupons:

There are 2 sites we visit often when looking for the latest discount rental car codes - Rentalcarmomma.com and Mousesavers.com/rentalcar.html. Rental Car Momma is a more complete site with rental car discounts for all the major renters except Hertz and National. The site divides the US in regions and it's easy to navigate to find the latest deals in any city you are traveling to. There is also a quick search function where you can jump right to any city and find out who is offering what kind of rates such as Dallas Rental Cars or Boston Rental Cars. Rental Car Momma even has European car hire rates and discounts along with deals in Canada. I prefer the MouseSavers.com site because it goes deeper than most sites in that it constantly updates the pages with the newest discount codes or offerings besides what the rental car companies are offering. You can often find discounts or promotional offers from Costco, AAA Members, Marriott Rewards, Entertainment Books, AARP and much more. They give you direct links to printable coupons and general tips on finding the lowest rates. One big way to save instantly these days is to prepay if you know your plans are rock solid. Rental car companies have begun to give discounts on rentals that are prepaid. Also, 99% of the time the rental car insurance is not worth it since your credit card or current auto insurance will cover you if an accident occurs. Check with your car insurance policy to see what it covers. You'd be surprised how many people buy the extra insurance on a rental car and don't need it. Also, don't be fooled by Mousesavers.com focus on Disneyland related info, the rental car coupon codes and discounts work nationally. The site is updated all the time so the information is always current and very helpful in saving you money. You can also join the frequent rental clubs the rental car companies offer like Hertz #1 Golf or the Alamo QuickSilver program. They will send you emails with offers and e-coupons you can print our use to book online.

Airport vs Off-Site Rentals:

Sometimes you can find cheaper rates for rental cars that are off-site, or away from the actual airport. Enterprise Rental Car is probably the most notorious of these rental car agencies that offer really cheap weekend rates. Unfortunately, how many of us actually need a rental car in our own town. Also, if you use some of the discount codes on the sites listed above, you will find that renting from an airport is not much more expensive and saves you the hassle of having to rent from an off-site location. Plus, we have heard more complaints from consumers who rent from no name rental car agencies since those companies often lack in customer service and don't have national reputations to uphold. If you are under 25 years of age, you will pay a premium to rent from the major brands (if they will rent to you at all) so going off-site may be your best solution to a small company.

Best Website to Book Rental Cars:

If you don't have time to research the Internet for discount rates on rental cars, then go to a site like Priceline.com or Hotwire.com. Priceline will show you the rates that major rental car companies are offering and allow you to "name your own price". Hotwire works with Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz, and National so you are getting a reputable organization, but you will not know which company is renting you the car when you accept the rate online. If you are not that loyal to any car rental company, going with Hotwire is a simple solution and we have found their rates to be some of the cheapest for this reason. When booking a vacation online at sites like Expedia.com or Orbitz.com, you can get a pretty good price on a rental car if you add it to the package deal. Otherwise, don't do to those sites just for rental cars (there are better rates elsewhere).