* Reserve your car ahead of time and always call the renting location at least a week in advance to confirm the reservation.
* Check online for discounts and last-minute rates. Also, remember that it's cheaper to rent a car on weekends and holidays. With 70 percent of the car-rental business geared toward business travelers, the best rates for vacationers are available during non-work times.
* Look into "neighborhood," or non-airport, car rental companies. They usually offer more reasonable rates and will often come to the airport to pick you up. Off-airport rental locations have grown in popularity with budget-conscious travelers who take advantage of lower rates resulting from the absence of airport rents, airport taxes and concession fees.
* Choose the right mileage plan. Many infrequent renters will unnecessarily request unlimited mileage, paying the premium rate. Consider lower mileage packages that might still cover your trip. A car with 100 miles per day built into its price can travel 700 miles in a week - more than double the average amount of miles traveled by U.S. drivers.
* Pay attention to fuel efficiency. Upgrading to a larger sized vehicle for just $5 to $10 more per day may sound like a good deal, but remember the hidden costs of driving a larger car that is less fuel efficient.
* 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 from a new car rental company.
* Thoroughly inspect the rental car, and circle the block. This mini test drive will allow you to make sure you're comfortable with your vehicle before you're on your way. In particular, find the controls for the windshield wipers, lights, emergency and turn signals.
For Rent-A-Wreck's locations nationwide, call 800-535-1391 or visit www.rentawreck.com.