Make your reservations as early as possible. Many companies increase rates as their cars become booked. Also, certain classes of cars will sell out, and you may end up paying for a larger or more expensive vehicle than you need.
Shop online. The quickest and easiest way to compare rental car rates: Consult a travel Web site. This way you can see what each company charges for the same type of car and length of rental.
Consider the mileage policy. If you plan on doing a lot of driving in your rental car, make sure that you get unlimited mileage. Car rental companies can charge an exorbitant amount for each mile you go over the limit.
Look into car rental offices away from the airport. Airport fees can raise the price of a rental car up to 10 percent. If the hotel you plan to stay in offers shuttle service, ride the shuttle to your hotel and rent a car there.
Ask about special rates. Many rental car companies have weekly, weekend, or seasonal rates. Find out which discounts they offer and then see if your travel plans can be altered to meet their requirements.
Book the smallest car you need. Often you can upgrade to a larger car at the rental counter at a rate far less than what you would have paid if you reserved that size. However, be aware that an upgrade is not guaranteed, and you may end up stuck with the car you reserved.
Compare daily and weekly rates. If you need to rent a car for four or five days, it may cost less ultimately to book it for a full week.
Ask about all classes and sizes. Sometimes a rental car office may have extra cars in a certain class or size and rent them for even less than the cost of a smaller car.
Use coupons. Car rental coupons can be found in travel magazines or the travel section of the Sunday newspaper. Make sure to mention your coupon when reserving the car.