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Renting a car? A little detective work on your part can lead to significant savings at the car rental agency counter.

by: Rob Sabo
01 Dec 2010

Finding the best car rental deals requires little effort on your part. Renting a car at competitive rates is mostly about careful planning. Here's a rundown on how to find the best car rental agency and get low rates on vehicle rentals.

1. Book in Advance for Low Rates

Just like getting the best deals on airfare, booking an auto rental in advance often allows you to get lower rates than if you book a last-minute rental. And booking during peak travel periods and holidays is a surefire way to spend excess money on your auto rental. Advance bookings also afford the most vehicle options.

2. Shop Around for Competitive Rates

If you need a vehicle for less than a week, well-known rental agencies may offer the best car rental deals. Compare rates on their Web sites, and log on to the major travel Web sites to research the deals they offer. Don't forget to inquire about discounts from organizations like AAA and frequent flier programs.

3. Choose the Appropriate Vehicle Rental for Your Needs

Why rent a full-size sport utility vehicle when it's just you and your spouse on vacation? Larger cars cost more money to rent. Likewise, if you are traveling with children, you may want to spend extra for a large sedan or SUV--you'll appreciate the extra room. When checking out your car at the agency, be sure to ask about a free upgrade--smaller vehicles often are overbooked, and you may be able to score a nicer rental at no additional cost.

When searching for a car rental agency, keep in mind that the larger companies typically have larger fleets and more vehicle options--your party may not be able to secure a flashy convertible to cruise the Las Vegas strip through a smaller or independent car rental agency.

4. Location

It might be easier to book a car from one of the rental agencies located at an airport rather than renting from a smaller agency that doesn't have an airport presence. Why wait for a shuttle to ferry you to a car rental agency after a long flight?

A little detective work on your part can go a long way in finding the best car rental agency and most competitive rates.

Car Rental Tips--My Top 10 Tips for Discount Auto Rentals • http://www.best-car-rental-tips.comhttp://www.best-car-rental-tips.com/car-rental-tips.html • Best-Car-Rental-Tips.comCar Rental Tips • http://www.independenttraveler.comhttp://www.independenttraveler.com/resources/article.cfm?AID=25&category=2 • IndependentTraveler.comSusan Derby • Choosing a car-rental company --price versus loyalty • Mar 10, 2008 • http://travel.latimes.comhttp://travel.latimes.com/daily-deal-blog/index.php/choosing-a-car-renta-1473/ • Los Angeles TimesNoah Rothbaum • 10 Things Rental Car Companies Won't Say • May 01, 2009 • http://www.smartmoney.comhttp://www.smartmoney.com/spending/rip-offs/10-things-your-rental-car-company-wont-tell-you-19615/?page=7 • Smartmoney Magazine

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