Step 6: Car rental booking tips

Read's top 10 tips for reminders to help you find the best car rental deals:

  1. The lowest rates are usually for weekend rentals.
  2. Do the math. Weekly rates are often much lower than the daily rate would be over five or more days.
  3. An advance booking of up to 21 days, as well as a Saturday-night rental, are often required to get the best deals.
  4. You will usually find the lowest base rates at airport locations.
  5. Plan your travel to avoid your destination's peak season, when rentals tend to be the highest.
  6. You can often get a great deal on one-way rentals during certain times of the year. For example, you can drive from Florida in early spring, when rental companies need their cars in northern cities.
  7. Smaller cars are not necessarily cheapest, as prices depend on inventory, and there may be an unusually high number of larger cars when you're renting.
  8. Don't pay for an upgrade unless you know there are smaller cars available; the rental companies will often give you an upgrade for free if they don't have cars available in the class you reserved.
  9. Don't forget that you can earn frequent flyer miles on most airlines when you rent from major car companies. Read's The Joy of Miles series to learn more about frequent flyer programs. But before opting to earn miles, read our caveat in Step 4 under "Frequent Flyer."
  10. When you find a deal you're happy with, book the rental right away. If you wait too long, the deal may disappear.
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