The cheapest way to rent a car (2023)

Finding cheap rental cars requires some legwork and can be time consuming. With all the hidden fees and upsells, the price you see isn't always what you pay when you leave. Here are our top tips for finding the cheapest way to rent a car.

Written byJerry Graham

Posted inspend less money

Last update: 03/16/2023

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14 tips for finding cheap rental cars

Renting a car allows you to explore on your own schedule or get where you need to go. If you have a rental car, you are not subject to someone else's schedule. You won't have to wait for a ride when you're ready to go.

Unfortunately, renting a car can also be a confusing and frustrating experience. With so many options and hidden fees, you can never be sure you're getting a good deal. The good news is that there are ways to make sure you don't overpay for a rental car.

Finding the cheapest way to rent a car takes some work, but the savings are worth it, whether you're a frequent renter or just need a rental car for a short business trip or weekend rental.

How to find cheap cars to rent

Here are our top tips for cheap car hire:


  • 14 tips for finding cheap rental cars
  • How to find cheap cars to rent
    • 1. Compre online
    • 2. Check car rental websites
    • 3. Check weekly and daily rates
    • 4. Find a discount you qualify for
    • 5. Enjoy credit card benefits and frequent flyer programs
    • 6. Rent economy cars
    • 7. Try discount car rental brands
    • 8. Rent a car on Lyft
    • 9. Try a P2P car rental service
    • 10. Don't pick up your rental car at the airport
    • 11. Stick to one driver whenever possible
    • 12. Ignore os extras
    • 13. Bring your own insurance
    • 14. Don't rent a car

1. Compre online

Start your search for the lowest price on a rental car by checking sites,Kayak, Eprice line. These sites summarize car rental prices and allow you to sort or filter based on your needs.

2. Check car rental websites

If you are looking for car rental prices on a price comparison website, also check the car rental company's website. Look for current deals or coupon codes they are promoting on their website. An exclusive offer or special discount may only be available through the official website.

If you use the Pay Now option on some car rental websites, you can get a discount of up to 30%. However, please read the terms and conditions as prepayments are generally non-refundable.

3. Check weekly and daily rates

Rental rates are generally lower if you book for five days or more when weekly rates apply. If you need a car for 3 or 4 days, it might be cheaper to book for a week and return the car sooner.

If you do the math before booking and find that the weekly rate is cheaper, check the rental agreement. Make sure there are no early return fees. Don't let them return the car before the end of the rental period or they may lock you in at the higher price.

How to get the CHEAPEST rental car...

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This is how you get the cheapest car rental price

4. Find a discount you qualify for

There are several ways to get car rental discounts through a membership program or through your job. If you belong to an organization, check whether your membership entitles you to a discount on car hire.

For example, the AAA discount on car rentals is up to 20% off the base rental price with Hertz, unlimited miles, and members can waive the driver under 25 fee. AARP members receive 30% off car rental rates with Avis or Budget Rent A Car and 5% off a car rented with Payless Car Rental.

Costco Travel has car rental deals that are typically some of the best if you're a Costco member. Aside from cheap car rentals, there are no additional driver fees or cancellation fees when you book through Costco Travel.

Special discounts and rental offers are also available for government employees, active duty military personnel and veterans. Check with your employer to see if you may be eligible for a corporate rate or there may be an employee discount program.

5. Enjoy credit card benefits and frequent flyer programs

Frequent flyer programs and travel credit cards often have relationships with one or two rental agencies. In addition to big discounts, there can be additional benefits such as free upgrades, bonus points or airline miles, preferred bookings and more.

Another reason to check with your credit card issuer is limitation of liability. Comprehensive insurance covers all liability if you are involved in an accident or if your rental car is stolen.

You can purchase comprehensive insurance with your rental for around $10-20 a day, but check with your credit card issuer first. Some credit cards include free comprehensive insurance when you pay your car rental with the card. Coverage from your credit card company means you don't have to buy a damage waiver from the rental company, file a claim with your personal car insurance provider, or pay for damages out of pocket.

6. Rent economy cars

Economy cars are often the cheapest option from major rental companies. Because they have the lowest price, they tend to have the highest demand. If the economy vehicle you booked isn't available for pick-up when you arrive, you can often get a free upgrade.

If an economy car is big enough for your needs, opt for economy class and you'll usually get the cheapest fares.

7. Try discount car rental brands

Avis, Enterprise and Hertz are not the only car rental companies. There are brands like Alamo, Budget, Dollar or Thrifty and smaller discount brands like Advantage and Payless.

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You can almost always find a lower price on one of the discounted brands. However, prices are low compared to premium brands, and for good reason. They may have a smaller selection of cars, inconvenient pickup locations, or higher additional fees.

Despite their shortcomings, the savings made by brands can be significant. This makes them an alternative worth considering if you're looking for the cheapest way to rent a car.

8. Rent a car on Lyft

Ride-sharing service provider Lyft offers car rentals in multiple cities through its app. Most rentals are operated through a partnership with Sixt, but Lyft operates its own rental service in some locations.

With Lyft, you get unlimited miles, no additional driver fees, and Lyft credit to get you to and from your pickup location. Prices range from average to much cheaper than traditional rental companies, so it's worth checking out the app.

9. Try a P2P car rental service

Peer-to-peer rental services such asto teachEto movesprung up to disrupt the car rental business. Unlike traditional car rental companies with a fleet of vehicles, you are renting an individual's personal vehicle. The P2P service acts as an intermediary, much like Airbnb facilitates renting accommodation.

The booking process is hassle-free, convenient and often cheaper. You can book your rental car via a smartphone app and then pick it up from the owner, or an owner willing to deliver the car for an additional fee, subject to availability. When finished, return the vehicle to the owner.

10. Don't pick up your rental car at the airport

Picking up your rental car at the airport when you arrive by plane is convenient, but convenience is expensive. Car rental companies pay a concession fee to the airport, which they pass on to their customers. You can expect to pay around $30 to pick up your rental car at the airport.

You can avoid this fee by picking up your car at a different location. If the car rental company has an airport location, there may be other rental companies nearby. Free shuttle service or public transport may be available, but if you need to take an Uber or taxi, calculate the price and see if the savings are worth it.

11. Stick to one driver whenever possible

You may need to add an additional driver if you are taking a long trip or doing a long term rental. Please note that an additional driver costs approximately $10-$15 per day. If your additional driver is under 25, you can also expect a lower rate of $20-$35 per day.

12. Ignore os extras

Car rental companies typically earn commissions on the sale of ancillary services such as rental insurance, vehicle upgrades, satellite radio, roadside assistance and prepaid gas. Even if the owner doesn't make extra money from upsells, you can bet they are trained to offer them. Most add-ons are too expensive or unnecessary.

For example, you have to return the car with a full tank of gas or face exorbitant charges, so the rental company offers prepaid gas as a convenience. This might save you some time, but you'll likely end up paying too much.

Use oGasBuddywebsite and compare local gasoline prices with the price you get from the car rental company. Unless you know you're pushing the car back to the drop-off location on an empty tank, it's probably not worth the cost.

(Video) How I Rented A Car For $20 Per Day For Deliveries (Instacart, Uber Eats, DoorDash)

13. Bring your own insurance

If you have a car, your car insurance probably also covers driving a rental car. Many credit cards include basic insurance when you pay rent with the card. You can save $25 to $30 a day by opting out of the insurance offered by the rental company.

14. Don't rent a car

Perhaps the best way to save money on a rental car is to not rent one at all. Most large cities have public transport, walkable downtown areas, and are served by ridesharing services. Depending on where you're going and for how long, it might not really be necessary.

Before going through the car rental process, ask yourself:

  • Does your travel destination have a robust public transport system?
  • Is the city within walking distance or are there bike sharing services?
  • What kind of activities have you planned that require driving?
  • How long will you be in the car?

You can find free transport, public transport and ridesharing everything you really need. If so, you'll likely save a lot of money by renting a car, paying for parking, and gas.

Selected image source: Unsplash

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Jerry Graham

Jerry is a personal finance enthusiast, hustler and freelance web developer who started his career in the financial services industry. He co-founded, a personal finance and frugal living blog. His ideas have appeared on MSN,,,, and many others.

(Video) Rental Cars: How to Get the Best Deal


The cheapest way to rent a car? ›

(The rule of thumb we like to use is around $10 per day or $100 per week as a great deal. Sometimes it will be double that, and that's also normal. In general, a car rental that might cost $30-80 per day might be a lot cheaper to rent by the week.)

Is it cheaper to rent a car for a week or per day? ›

(The rule of thumb we like to use is around $10 per day or $100 per week as a great deal. Sometimes it will be double that, and that's also normal. In general, a car rental that might cost $30-80 per day might be a lot cheaper to rent by the week.)

Who is the easiest to rent a car from? ›

Who is the easiest car rental company? Enterprise and Hertz offer the easiest and fastest way to rent a car.

Is it cheaper to rent a car longer or shorter? ›

In many cases, rental companies will provide a lower rate on a long-term rental compared to a short-term one, and they sometimes also offer unlimited mileage.

Is Turo car rental legit? ›

Ultimately, Turo is a safe and legitimate way to rent a car from a local host. Since 2010, Turo has grown into a popular service with more than 332K total app ratings and an “Excellent” ranking on Trustpilot from consumers. To get started, you can download the app for iPhone or Android or visit the company's website.

What day is it best to rent a car? ›

What day is best to rent a car? There is no guaranteed 'best day' to rent a car, however if you can pick a day when it's generally quieter you'll likely get the best price. With low demand on a certain day you are more likely to get a cheaper price.

How many miles can you put on a rental car in a week? ›

Most car rentals in the U.S. do not have mileage limits, meaning you can put as many miles as you want on the vehicle.

How do I choose a good car rental? ›

8 steps to choose a car rental company - comparison process
  1. Step 1 - Get an overview comparison with a car rental platform. ...
  2. Step 2 - Check special conditions. ...
  3. Step 3 - Cost of extras. ...
  4. Step 4 - Make sure there are no hidden fees. ...
  5. Step 5 - Check ratings. ...
  6. Step 6 - Check reviews. ...
  7. Step 7 - Make your choice.
Jul 26, 2022

What do most car rentals require? ›

To be 25 years old (if you're under 25, you may be required to pay a young driver's fee, which varies by rental location) A valid driver's license with a photo. A photo ID (For example: a driver's license or passport) Credit or debit card (check the acceptable forms of payment at the location you're renting from)

Does getaround require a deposit? ›

Authorization Charge. You agree and understand that a one-time deposit of $150 will be held on your first Reservation and will be released back to your payment card no later than ten (10) business days after the end of your first Reservation.

How long can you keep a rental car? ›

Generally, a person can keep the rental car for five days after receiving a settlement or longer if their case involves a totaled vehicle. In most instances, the car rental can be kept until repairs are completed and the vehicle is returned to the owner.

What is the minimum car rental length? ›

The minimum rental period for traditional car rental is usually one day. The maximum rental period is usually between 28 to 60 days. But many suppliers also offer special long-term rentals which can be subscription-based—the renter pays for the vehicle monthly.

Is standard or midsize rental car better? ›

A Standard car is best for up to four people with a normal amount of packing. The intermediate or midsize car, on the other hand, is best for shorter trips with less baggage, like minimalist packing.

What happens if you damage a Turo car? ›

If the damage is eligible for reimbursement to the host, Turo will: charge you a damage deposit in line with the extent of damage and the protection plan you chose. Get an assessment of the damage to determine the repair/replacement cost. Add related costs and fees under your chosen protection plan, if any.

How does Turo work when picking up a car? ›

Once you choose a location, we'll display the check-in method the host has specified for that location. In some cases, a you may pick up the car in a parking facility that'll require you to pay a fee to exit. If so, we require the host to disclose that information in their vehicle listing.

Do Turo cars have trackers? ›

You can copy and use this message in your vehicle listing to inform your guests about the tracking or recording device in your vehicle: “Please note: this car is equipped with a security device that collects driving data. This includes vehicle location, mileage, driving behaviour, and time driven.

Do Costco rental car prices change? ›

The "Car Rental" price (base rate) will not change, but taxes and fees are subject to change. Since there is no payment taken at the time of booking, taxes can fluctuate until the car is picked up. Any tax fluctuations are outside the control of Costco Travel.

What day of the week is best to list a rental? ›

Here's what we found: Thursday is the best day to list. Most renters either want to tour rental properties right away — the same day they inquire or the next day — or on the weekend. To set yourself up for maximum visibility and to be sure you're available, it's best to list on Thursday.

What day of week is best to rent truck? ›

Mondays through Thursdays are your best days to secure your U-Haul truck rental when you make your reservation. This is especially important if you're trying to move on a budget.

Is unlimited mileage really unlimited? ›

Unlimited free mileage means you can drive as many miles as you want and not be charged extra. When renting a car in the US, unlimited or free mileage is available for most car classes as offered by major car rental companies.

Does Turo charge per mile? ›

If your guest drove over the daily limit, you can charge mileage costs for additional distance. We calculate cost per mi/km when the trip is booked by dividing your daily price by your daily distance.

How many miles before a rental car is retired? ›

It's going to vary, but the big national rental car companies often sell when a vehicle reaches between 25,000 and 40,000 miles.

How do you beat the high price car rental? ›

How to Get the Best Price on a Rental Car
  1. Know What You Need. ...
  2. Book Early, Especially During Peak Travel Times. ...
  3. Take Advantage of Discounts. ...
  4. Join a Loyalty Program. ...
  5. Compare Prices. ...
  6. Check Smaller Car Rental Companies. ...
  7. Look for Coupon Codes. ...
  8. Read the Fine Print.

Is it better to book directly with rental car company? ›

If you book directly through your car rental agency's website, your loyalty program information will usually be added to your reservation if you are logged in when making the booking. For car rentals, you can often save a lot of money if you shop around.

What car rental company is known to try harder? ›

NEW YORK — In 1962, Avis was in search of a new advertising campaign. Since its inception, the car rental company had trailed behind the market leader, Hertz.

What are the advantages of renting a car? ›

No wear-and-tear maintenance costs: You won't have to pay for things like new brakes or tires on your long-term car rental. Lower insurance premiums: A lender may require coverages and limits for car insurance beyond what your state laws may require.

Why car rental is the best? ›

It allows users to drive the car in whichever way he chooses to and pay a rent for the usage. For professionals who prefer to drive to and from work on a daily basis and the ones who have a travel-heavy job, it makes perfect sense for them to hire and drive a rented car rather than invest lacs of money in buying a car.

Can a tourist rent a car in USA? ›

According to U.S. law, your ESTA travel authorization and a valid license from your country of residence should be enough to rent a car. But in practice, more and more car rental companies require an international license to rent a car.

Why is Getaround so expensive? ›

Standard Fees

These fees are in addition to the hourly, daily, and/or weekly rate of the car. Getaround currently charges a 40% commission on all trips booked, which commission is applied to the initial reservation price and any trip extensions, and which Guests pay directly to Getaround.

Does Getaround do credit check? ›

Getaround conducts a credit assessment of all drivers. To pass, you need to have a minimum score of 10 out of 100. If your credit score is lower than 19 or your credit score is considered to be risky, you will not be able to rent cars on Getaround.

Is Getaround expensive? ›

Car owners pay a $99 installation fee to have Connect installed, and there's an additional $20/month subscription fee you have to pay that covers data network access. Getaround offers a 90-day free trial, so you don't pay any of these fees until the end of the trial period.

What is the oldest year a rental car can be? ›

As long as you have a valid driver's license, you should be able to rent a car in the United States and Canada. Rental car companies here typically do not typically impose a maximum age limit. While there is no maximum age to rent a car in the US, it can be a different story when you travel elsewhere.

What happens if you don't return a Hertz rental? ›

Also, if you choose not to return the car on or before your originally scheduled return date, we will place an additional hold on your debit or credit card to cover the additional expected rental charges.

How much of a hold does budget put on your credit card? ›

Budget will place a hold on your debit or credit card at the time of rental to cover estimated charges plus up to $300. Be aware that a debit card hold limits the amount of funds available in the account associated with your card.

What is the smallest rental car? ›

What is an economy car? This type of vehicle usually has 4 doors and seating for 5 passengers. An economy car is the smallest of all vehicle groups. The name comes from the affordable rental price and excellent fuel economy—most economy car rentals offer a stellar 30 MPG or better.

What is the difference between a standard and full size rental car? ›

Also known as Mid-size or intermediate, standard rental cars usually fit about 4-5 people comfortably with some additional space for luggage. They get outstanding gas mileage and are easy for just about any traveler to handle. Full size rental cars are typically bigger and more spacious.

How many suitcases fit in a full size rental car? ›

Rental Car Luggage Capacity Guide
Car GroupPassengersLuggage Capacity
Standard52 Big bags 2 Small bags
Full-Size52-3 Big bags 2 Small bags
Estate53 Big bags 2 Small bags
Minivans7-94-5 Big Bags 3 Small bags
7 more rows
Jan 5, 2023

Is Toyota Camry a full-size car? ›

Also known as a large car or full-size sedan, a full-size car is the largest class size for cars that are not SUVs, trucks, or vans. Full-size car rental options may include the Chevrolet Malibu, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion Hybrid, or similar models.

Why are car rentals so high? ›

When vaccines helped travel return, the companies found they couldn't buy enough new cars to return their fleets to normal size. A worldwide microchip shortage has left automakers building fewer cars. They're using the chips they can get hold of to build higher-margin, more expensive vehicles.

Does Turo make you pay a deposit? ›

How much a security deposit costs varies based on the country of your booked trip. If you're required to pay a deposit, we'll outline the cost and display it on the checkout page before you submit your trip request.

What is trip fee on Turo? ›

The trip fee is a percentage of the trip price.

The trip fee is calculated at checkout and varies dynamically. You always have a chance to review your trip fee before completing your reservation. For example, in the US, trip fees range from 2.5% to 100% of the trip price and Extras, with a $15 minimum on each trip.

Does Turo cover if car is totaled? ›

Turo Premium and Standard Liability Insurance Plans

Under Turo's premium and standard liability insurance plans, car owners receive the actual cash value of their car or up to $125,000, in the even the vehicle is deemed as totaled. Coverage is not available for hosts who are not utilizing a Turo protection plan.

Do you have to clean the car with Turo? ›

Cleaning the car before returning

You aren't expected to clean or disinfect the car before returning it to your host. That said, if you return the car in a condition that only could have been caused by irresponsible or abusive behavior, your host can report the issue.

Does Turo check credit? ›

Turo considers AIS when evaluating new guests in the US and Canada. Doing so helps us keep our platform safe and affordable for everyone. We receive AIS from the credit reporting agency TransUnion. TransUnion uses some elements of your credit report to come up with your AIS, which is not the same as a credit score.

Can Turo be trusted? ›

Turo is a safe, convenient rental car company. The company offers rental more affordably than many fleet-rental agencies. You'll also get more choices that change day to day as cars become available. Take simple precautions like recording the car's condition when you get it and return it.

How do I avoid being scammed on Turo? ›

A common scam is for someone to call or text from a non-Turo phone number and ask you questions such as, “Are you still using your Turo account?” Or “When was the last time you used Turo?” They're hoping you'll give them your two-factor authentication code. Hang up or don't reply to the text.

Does Turo allow cameras? ›

Permitted Devices for Tracking Turo Rentals

Some of the permitted devices for Turo rentals include: GPS Trackers. Telematics (this is generally used for large fleets of vehicles, not individual cars) Dashboard Cameras.

How do I protect myself from Turo rental? ›

Insurance requirement

Turo offers protection plans for all guest trips. You don't need personal insurance coverage if you choose a protection plan made available via Turo. If you do have insurance, our liability provider* will supplement your personal coverage.

Is it smarter to buy or rent a car? ›

Lower payments: The monthly loan payment for a car you own is generally more than a monthly rental payment. No fees/taxes: Standard expenses include taxes and fees at purchase and registration and inspections every year when buying a car. You're not responsible for any of these in a long-term rental.

Why is car hire so expensive in Orlando? ›

Orlando is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, which means that there are a lot of people who want to rent cars. This high demand drives up prices, as rental companies know that they can charge more for their services.

Why are car rental prices high? ›

In fact, July 2021 rental car prices averaged 67% higher than July prices in 2019, the last normal summer pre-pandemic. Road trips were especially hot that summer (thus high demand), but other factors — including a global semiconductor shortage and tourism industry labor shortages — contributed to low supply.

What are 5 disadvantages of leasing a car? ›

Cons of Leasing a Car
  • You Don't Own the Car. The obvious downside to leasing a car is that you don't own the car at the end of the lease. ...
  • It Might Not Save You Money. ...
  • Leasing Can Be More Complicated than Buying. ...
  • Leased Cars Are Restricted to a Limited Number of Miles. ...
  • Increased Insurance Premiums.

Does leasing a car build credit? ›

If you're approved for your lease, you can use it as an opportunity to boost your credit score, which could give you more leverage when it comes time to upgrade. Just make sure to stay on top of your payments. Lease payments are reported to the major credit bureaus the same way finance payments are.

What is the cheapest way to rent a car in Orlando? ›

The cheapest place to book your rental car is at the airport, where rental car agencies such as Green Motion and Europcar keep prices low. Hertz is one of the most pervasive agencies in Orlando, with locations throughout the city, but their prices typically start around $40 a day.

Where is the most expensive place to rent a car? ›

Iceland ranks as the most expensive country to rent a vehicle at an average of $1,383.24 per week, according to a study by, a comparison website for insurance.

What do I need to know about renting a car in Florida? ›

To be 25 years old (if you're under 25, you may be required to pay a young driver's fee, which varies by rental location) A valid driver's license with a photo. A photo ID (For example: a driver's license or passport) Credit or debit card (check the acceptable forms of payment at the location you're renting from)


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