Whether you need to get around while on vacation or for business, want to get a more thorough test drive on a new car you’re considering or just show off a cool ride, there are lots of reasons you might want to rent a car. For some people, the car rental process conjures up images of long lines, complicated forms and unexpected fees and restrictions that can dampen the excitement of finally getting the keys. That doesn’t have to be the reality. In today’s competitive market, there are plenty of companies looking to win business by making the car rental process simple, affordable and trustworthy.
You can always start your search by going directly to the rental companies themselves. Avis, Enterprise and Hertz are the go-to for millions of customers around the country and for good reason: these companies offer a wide range of vehicles at an affordable price. They also have a strong brick and mortar presence if you prefer an in person rental experience. However, you may find more options and deals by utilizing online rental car services. In this blog we highlight the best sites to rent a car.
When you hear the name Costco, the first thing you probably think of is giant shopping carts, pallets of toilet paper and aisles of groceries stacked to the ceiling—but that’s not all they offer. Costco also has a rental car service that aggregates rental options from Alamo, Avis, Budget and Enterprise. The Costco Travel interface is built with ease-of-use and discount prices in mind. You’ll be able to browse quickly and find the cheapest rate for each make and model available.
Keep in mind that you do need a Costco membership to use their car rental service. If you’re already a Costco member, this could be a great option next time you need a short-term vehicle.
Expedia has been a household name for decades and for good reason. Whether you’re looking for flights, hotels, vacation homes or rental cars, they’ve got you covered. Expedia has the rental business down to a science with a robust filtering system, a huge catalog of available vehicles, a motivating rewards program to keep you coming back and options to bundle your car rental with your hotel or flight to save more money.
Before you head over to Expedia, just remember that not every car is eligible for discounted bundle prices and you’ll often need to pay upfront to get that price. Also, most of Expedia’s vehicles are sourced from third-party suppliers, so when you rent a car from Expedia it might actually be coming from somewhere like Avis, Enterprise or one of many other rental car companies.
FYI: Expedia operates under the umbrella of Expedia Group, which is a large online travel company. Expedia Group owns a number of other travel and car rental websites that you’ll probably be familiar with, including:
Many of these sites share similarities to their parent company in terms of looks and functionality, including comprehensive filtering systems and an emphasis on finding discounted rentals (see the “Great Deals” section on Orbitz.com). But don’t write them off as redundant—there are plenty of unique offers to be found on each site that aren’t available anywhere else.
Hotwire stands apart from many of the other Expedia Group sites. When you book a rental with Hotwire, you’re treated to a transparent pricing model and a selection of vehicles that comes from a wide variety of rental companies. But there’s a twist: you don’t know which rental company your vehicle is coming from until you have completed your booking. Hotwire partners with over a dozen different car rental companies to deliver guaranteed low rates. This is a great way to rent a car for cheap, as long as you’re okay with the actual rental company being revealed after you book.
For some car renters, this could be a dealbreaker if they have a preference for (or against) certain car rental companies. For other customers, this eliminates the need to decide between companies and lets you focus just on the car and the price.
Here are the car rental companies that Hotwire has partnered with:
- Ace Rent A Car
- Advantage Rent A Car
- Payless Car Rental
Similar to Expedia, Kayak is a one-stop shop for flights, hotels and vehicle rentals. Kayak.com acts as a search aggregator to bring you results from lots of car rental websites and companies, with filtering tools to narrow your search and find the best price. Kayak also offers a unique map feature to help you find a rental vehicle based on location, as well as a “pay now or pay later” option that helps you save even more money on your rental.
Momondo presents users with results from a number of different rental car agencies to help them find the best price. However, Momondo doesn’t actually have the ability to make a booking through their site. Once you find the car you’d like to rent, you’ll be directed to the actual rental agency’s site to finish the deal. Momondo also tends to refer users to more obscure rental agencies, rather than the big names you’re probably familiar with.
If the extra step between searching and booking doesn’t bother you, and you don’t mind using lesser-known rental companies, then Momondo is a great way to find a deal on a rental car.
Priceline is most famous for its Priceline Negotiator and its Name Your Own Price tool that helped bring more transparent pricing to car rentals, flights and hotels.
While the Priceline Negotiator and Name Your Own Price tools have been retired, they’ve stayed true to their roots by supplying customers with a quick and easy way to book cheap rentals, as long as they’re willing to sacrifice some choice when it comes to specific vehicle details and rental companies. Much like Hotwire, you won’t know which car rental company until you book with Priceline, but if that doesn’t bother you, then this is a tried and true way to get a great deal on your rental.
It never hurts to be thorough in your search for a good, reliable vehicle. That’s why rentalcars.com is a helpful resource for uncovering rental car options from a variety of sources. Similar to Hotwire and Priceline, Rentalcars.com doesn’t reveal the source of your rental until booking is complete, but it will help you find a vehicle that fits your needs and your budget. On Rentalcars.com you’ll be able to browse “pay now” or “pay later” rental options, vehicles with free cancellation, get a guaranteed price match and more.
Skyscanner is a simple, straightforward search engine designed to find you a cheap rental car. While some customers may feel limited by its stripped-back interface and filtering options, others find the streamlined approach to be an easy, no-fuss way to browse. Similar to other search aggregators and search engines, you won’t be able to complete your booking directly on Skyscanner.com. The website simply shows you where the best rental options are, then users navigate to the actual rental company’s website to finalize their booking.
Turo allows you to rent cars directly from local owners. This peer-to-peer car rental service offers a wide variety of vehicles, from practical sedans to luxury sports cars, giving you the opportunity to find the perfect ride for your needs and preferences.
One of the standout features of Turo is the ability to browse and book cars in specific locations, making it convenient for travelers who want to rent a car right at their destination. You can also filter your search based on factors like price, vehicle type and features, so you can find the ideal car within your budget.
Turo’s user-friendly interface and comprehensive rental protection plans provide peace of mind during your rental experience. You can communicate directly with the car owner to coordinate pick-up and drop-off details, making the process seamless and personalized.
Fast, easy, affordable auto transport
If you’d rather drive your own personal vehicle than rent one, consider shipping it to your destination with Montway Auto Transport. Montway serves vehicle owners around the country, arranging moves for cars, trucks, SUVs and specialty vehicles like motorcycles and golf carts to all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. With over 80,000 customer reviews and a 4.7 star rating, Montway has earned its reputation as the most trusted auto transport company in the country.