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Car Rentals for Families

 

Plus, only on the web: offerings from four more rental agencies

 

Car rental chains are finally enticing parents with a few rolling incentives, such as no additional driver fees for spouses, child seats in every size, and techie extras (GPS guidance, satellite radio, DVD players). Here's what the top agencies have for families. Tip: Although many locations now offer on-line car seat rentals, to reserve first-come, first-served (and spilled on) items, such as boosters, call the rental office directly.

Alamo
800/462-5266; www.alamo.com
FAMILY FLEET Chevy Blazer, Chevy Astro
CAR SEATS ETC. Evenflo infant, toddler, and booster seats $5–$7.50 per day. Quicksilver club offers speedy check-in service. Spouse fee $4.99–$7.50 per day, depending on location. Fees are often waived for Costco and Sam’s Club members. 
CLUB DEALS $111/$147

Avis
800/230-4898; www.avis.com
FAMILY FLEET Chevy Blazer, Venture, and Suburban; Dodge Grand Caravan; Chrysler Town & Country.
CAR SEATS ETC. Evenflo seats for $8 per day; ask about two-for-one deals. GPS $10 per day. On-line reservations available.
CLUB DEALS Preferred Select club awards include free rentals and airline tickets.
SEDAN VS. MINIVAN** $105/$189

Budget
800/527-0700; www.budget.com
FAMILY FLEET Ford Escape, Explorer, and Windstar; Toyota Prius at select locations.
CAR SEATS ETC. Evenflo seats from $7 per day. On-line reservations available.
CLUB DEALS Perfect Drive earns mileage points for movies, airline tickets, and theme parks.
SEDAN VS. MINIVAN** $105/$148

Dollar
800/800-4000; www.dollar.com
FAMILY FLEET Dodge Caravan; Jeep Grand Cherokee
CAR SEATS ETC. Infant, toddler, and booster seats $5–$10 per day. Some cars have integrated car seats. Perk: Seat reservations can be made on-line.
CLUB DEALS FastLane program lets you earn mileage points and discounts with partner airlines. Additional drivers are $10 per day; spouses drive free.
SEDAN VS. MINIVAN** $114/$207

Enterprise
800/736-8222; www.enterprise.com
FAMILY FLEET Dodge Caravan; Pontiac Montana; Chevy Trailblazer; GMC Envoy.
CAR SEATS ETC. Seats rented via outsourced vendors, each with its own price list.
CLUB DEALS N/A
SEDAN VS. MINIVAN** $113/$222

Hertz
800/654-3131; www.hertz.com
FAMILY FLEET Volvo V70 Wagon; Ford Windstar and Explorer; Lincoln Navigator; Land Rover Discovery.
CAR SEATS ETC. Graco seats from $8 per day, $40 per week. Sirius satellite radio $3 per day. GPS $9 per day.
CLUB DEALS #1 Club Gold lets spouses drive free ($7 a day otherwise). Express check-in at more than 1,000 locations.
SEDAN VS. MINIVAN** $105/$190

National
800/227-7368; www.nationalcar.com
FAMILY FLEET Jeep Grand Cherokee; Toyota 4Runner; Dodge Caravan; Chevy Venture.
CAR SEATS ETC. Evenflo seats for approximately $6.50 per day, $45.50 per week.
CLUB DEALS Emerald Club lets you skip the counter at some locations; express check-ins and returns at others.
SEDAN VS. MINIVAN** $117/$153

Thrifty
800/847-4389; www.thrifty.com
FAMILY FLEET Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee; Dodge Durango, Caravan, and Grand Caravan
CAR SEATS ETC. Infant, toddler, and a small number of booster seats (manufacturer varies by location) approximately $5 per day. DVD players in minivans at some locations.
CLUB DEALS Blue Chip Rewards program gives you a choice of earning free rental days or frequent-flier miles. Some locations waive fee for spouses; additional driver fees vary by location.
SEDAN VS. MINIVAN** $89/$189

**Orlando airport, Labor Day Weekend 2004. Not including taxes, service charges, and other extra fees

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