Renting a car in the United States is very simple and cheap: count about thirty euros per rental day ( see our Budget page ).
The number of renters is very important (the biggest being Alamo , Hertz and Avis ) and the choice of vehicles too.
Here are all the tips to rent the car you need, at the best price and the best conditions.
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Rent your car
Book on the internet or rent on site?
In order to take advantage of the best rates, to choose the model that suits you best (and to be sure to have it) and to subscribe only to the insurance you really need, it is advisable to make the reservation of your car by internet, rather than doing it once there.
The reservation by Internet is all the more advised that one can, most of the time, cancel its reservation at any time, and this without expenses.
You can use our search engine that allows you to compare prices of major car rental companies, with negotiated rates.
In this regard, do not confuse rental companies ( Alamo , Avis , Hertz , Budget , National, Enterprise, Dollar …) and brokers (brokers)
cheap car rental Expedia , AutoEscape …) who are only intermediaries between you and the rental companies (but who can have very good prices thanks to their sales volumes).
Which rental copany to choose?
Concerning the companies to privilege, it is better to concentrate on the most known: Alamo , Avis , Hertz , National, Dollar. These have a wide choice of vehicles, often new, well maintained, with a service of assistance worthy of the name.
But that does not guarantee you to be safe from unpleasant surprises, problems or bad reception: most agencies are franchises, which have a certain autonomy in their operation, even if they are subject to standards quality and service Group.
A majority of RoadTrippers use Alamo’s services , as this survey shows .
Places of care and restitution
When booking, it will obviously indicate the type of vehicle you want (see below), dates and places of pickup and return of the car.
It is of course possible to rent a car in one city and to go to another city. This is called a one-way rental.
If you rent a car in one city and return to another city in the same state, most of the time, no additional fees (drop-off or drop-off fees) will be applied to you.
There are some exceptions. For example, during the months of July and August, some renters will charge a waiver fee if you take your car to San Francisco and go to Los Angeles …
Similarly, it is quite possible to rent a car in State A and return it to State B. But the lessor will then charge you, usually, for abandonment fees.
Nevertheless, there may be exceptions: for example, some renters do not charge abandonment fees between California and Las Vegas.
What type of car rent?
The agencies offer a multitude of models, ranging from city to large 4×4, through the sedan or convertible. See below the different categories.
If one of your dreams is to drive a beautiful Chevrolet or Chrysler, it may be necessary to calm your ardor: the renters have more Japanese models or South Korean than American in their fleet …
Renting a 4×4 (a real, 4WD) is not a necessity for a first trip to the US, whose goal is to discover the major parks of the United States and the American West. All national and state parks are accessible by classic car.
The 4×4 is preferred for those who want to sink into the backcountry, ride on difficult trails and reach places accessible only with an all-terrain vehicle.
Here is a lexicon of some abbreviations that you will find when booking your vehicle:
ASC Airport service charge Tax applied by airport authorities
YDS Young driver overload Surcharge for young drivers
O / W One Way rental Car rental where the car is picked up at one place and brought back to a different location
ONE Unlimited mileage There is no limit to the number of miles / kilometers that can be traveled with the rental car
DL Driver’s License Driver’s license number
2WD / FWD Two Wheel Drive / Front Wheel Drive 2 wheel drive
4WD / AWD Four Wheel Drive / All Wheel Drive 4 wheels driving
Last tip: remember to print the booking document you will receive by email and take it with you to present it at the on-site rental desk.
Categories of car
Know that you never book a specific car model, but a category (Midsize, Fullsize, SUV …). Only once on site you will discover the models offered by the rental agency and can choose your car.
All models are equipped with radio / CD player and air conditioning.
No special permit will be required to rent a mini-van (8, 12 or 15 seats): your license B is sufficient.