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Choose Car Rental Based On Travel Needs

May 6, 2008
There is a dizzying array of car rental possibilities these days. How do you figure out which is the best for you?

One of the best known car rental options is using an automobile club, such as the American Automobile Association (better known as AAA). Because so many people belong to auto clubs, they can get cheaper rates for items like rental cars. Part of an auto club membership fee goes to subsidize such discounts, so if you are member, check into it.

Among car rental chains, the best known are Hertz, Avis, Budget and Enterprise. These are all companies with solid reputations. It's well worth checking among them to compare rates. Also ask the rental agents for any lesser-known deals that would help your situation. Many companies are affiliated with specific hotels, airlines, car companies etc. Those affiliations can stand you in good stead in finding a deal.

With the internet came other opportunities. Travelocity, Orbitz and other websites are also affiliated with car rental companies. You can make all your travel plans, including hotel, airfares etc., at the same time you reserve your rental car. Thanks to the speed of the internet, you can also find last-minute specials or quickly contact the company to make a reservation or to cancel a previous reservation.

In addition to these nationally known companies, there are several smaller, regional companies. These are also good: You have more direct contact with personnel if there is a problem. However, some of the national chains offer amenities the smaller companies can only dream of. For example, some regional offices of national chains specialize in specific types of vehicles, such as sports cars, sport utility vehicles etc. Cars from a national chain will be more likely to have the "extras" such as satellite radio and navigation systems. The larger companies are also easier to find at airports and more frequently offer shuttle service when needed. The national chains can most often meet your travel needs.

No company is best. Car rental programs are always changing and it is best to check often. New deals and programs are offered every day. Be sure to sign up for a rental company's email notices if you expect to need a rental car often or if you know you will need a car sometime soon. Forewarned is forearmed with a great deal.

Word-of-mouth is still a great way to learn of the deals out there. If a coworker mentions a rental company, listen. Did he or she get a good deal? Did he or she like the company? Why or why not? Learn from his or her experience.

Because the car rental industry is so competitive, many companies offer similar deals and features like insurance, road service, loyalty programs and discounts. It pays to check to see if the one you are considering has the amenities you want.
About the Author
Concentrating on the area of car rental tips, Guy Morris pens largely for http://www.alicante-spain.com . His contributions on car hire in alicante spain and alicante airport are found on his website .
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