11 Car-Rental Cost-Cutting Secrets
© Bill Bachmann / Alamy
Go Opaque for Deep Discounts
William Shatner is right about one thing: booking through opaque travel websites like Hotwire and Priceline—where you pay upfront without knowing the specific hotel or car- rental agency you’re booking with—can ensure significant discounts. “As far as I’m concerned, one car rental is like another; it’s very much of an interchangeable commodity,” explains Ed Perkins, a contributing editor to SmarterTravel.
Another alternative is to turn to smaller players like CarRentalExpress, which offers discounted car rentals from lesser-known firms. (A sample search in Fort Lauderdale turned up All American Car Rentals, Orlicar, and Quality Car and Van Rental.) The company says its average daily rates are 25 percent lower than those offered by the megabrands; average weekly rates are 15 percent lower. CarRentals, a New Jersey–based website recently purchased by Expedia, Inc., also has discounted rentals through independent agencies.