Reserve your car ahead of time and call the renting location at least a week in advance to confirm the reservation. Always ask for hours of operation and return policies. Many locations offer a key drop or off-hour returns, but don't assume that all do.
2. Consider "neighborhood" (non-airport) car rental companies. These locations usually offer more reasonable rates and will often come to the airport to pick you up. Off-site rental locations have grown in popularity with budget-conscious travelers who take advantage of lower rates resulting from the absence of airport fees that are passed on to the customer.
3. Choose the right mileage plan, and pay attention to fuel efficiency. With gas prices on the upswing again, consider fuel efficiency when making your selection. Many rental agencies train their agents to "sell up" to a larger-sized vehicle, often for $5 to $10 more per day. Also, many infrequent renters will unnecessarily request unlimited mileage, paying the premium rate.
4. Rent a car on weekends and holidays - it's cheaper. With 70 percent of the car rental business geared toward business travelers, the best rates for vacationers are during non-work times.
5. Find a rental company that is knowledgeable about the area. Neighborhood car rental operators can be an excellent source for "inside" information on local dining and attractions or simply good directions.
6. Check out the savings between new and used car rentals. In almost every case, you'll find that a used car rental company, such as Rent-A-Wreck, provides clean, late-model quality used cars often for half the cost of renting a new car.
For listings of Rent-A-Wreck locations nationwide, visit www.rentawreck.com or call (800) 535-1391.