Booking a rental car can be a confusing process, with lots of choices and a wide range of prices.  Here are a few hints to help you find a cheap rental car from a trustworthy company.  By spending a few minutes and checking out a couple of websites, you may save yourself hundreds of dollars on a weekly rental.  Or upgrade yourself for free.

Step 1: Do a search

Kayak Home Screen

The first mistake people make when search for rental cars is too check individual company sites.  This takes a long time because you have to enter your search info over and over again.  Skip this by using a site that searches all the sites at once and displays a well organized list of results.

Your first stop should be a meta-search site like Kayak.  Select the Car tab at the top of the screen and put in your location and dates, Kayak will give you a long list of available options, with a range of car types and companies.


Initial Kayak Search Results

Step 2: Select Your Company

Select Rental Car Companies

Initially, the cheapest cars will usually be from local, or well 

less know, companies.  Remember: You often get what you pay for with these companies.  Low prices often come with old cars and bad customer service.


The key is to rent from the larger, national companies, but use coupons and discounts to lower the price.  This way you get a good deal, while still getting a high quality car.

To narrow down your choices of cars, scroll down the screen until you see the Rental Agency box.

Don't worry if the price look high.  You can use discount codes to lower them dramatically. box on the left.  Unclick the boxes next to the agency names until you are left with only the major companies checked:  Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Thrifty.



Step 3: Finding Coupons and Discounts

Now that you've narrowed down your choices, check for the lowest couple of companies that are still displayed. (In this example, Alamo and Enterprise).  Now it's time to bring down those prices.

Filtered Kayak Search Results


There are several websites that list coupon and discount codes that can save you hundreds of dollars.  The best is Mousesavers.  The list hundreds of promo codes that can be applied to a wide variety of rentals.  Browse through their lists and chose several that look promising for your rental type and length.

Now click back to your Kayak results.

Book Your Car

Click on the down arrow in the orange "Select" box and chose to book directly on the rental car company's website.  

Book on Rental Site


You will be taken to the rental site, where you will be able to modify the reservation to enter your coupon code.  Check your results for the amount of savings.  

It often pays off to repeat these steps several times for different discount codes and rental companies.  But once you find the right combinations, it's possible to save hundreds of dollars on a weekly rental.