The past few years have seen a significant shift in the car rental landscape. A combination of rental car shortages, soaring gas prices, and a surge in demand due to the pandemic has resulted in pricier and harder-to-find car rentals.
But don’t fret! Whether you’re jetting off for a vacation or headed to a business conference, there are still ways to snag a good deal on a rental car. One top strategy? Leveraging apps that collate offerings from various car rental agencies, enabling you to compare and cherry-pick the optimal deal for your needs.
In the sections that follow, we’ve zeroed in on the premier car rental apps catering to both the leisure wanderer and the business traveler. Our assessments revolve around factors like pricing, availability, adaptability, and, for our corporate voyagers, robust travel management tools.
To offer a more tangible comparison, we examined each app for a 3-day midweek rental in Chicago, IL, slated for two weeks post our research date. Dive in for a detailed breakdown based on our findings.
Best overall car rental app for leisure travel: Priceline
For those embarking on leisure trips, Priceline emerges as the top choice for car rental services. With its vast network, which includes industry giants like Avis, Alamo, and Hertz, Priceline guarantees both convenience and affordability.
How does Priceline stand out? As a leading online travel agency, it specializes in offering economical car rentals through its metasearch functionality.
This means it simultaneously scours multiple car rental brands and booking platforms to present you with a consolidated list of the best options.
Such a plethora of choices allows you to meticulously sift through and select based on your specific requirements.
Furthermore, Priceline rolls out enticing deals and package offers. So, if you’re looking to couple your car rental with flight or hotel bookings, there are even more savings in store for you.
- Express Deals: Opt for an “unbranded” car rental and discover the brand post-booking, all while saving up to a whopping 40% off standard prices.
- Combo Savings: Bundle up your car and hotel reservations for added discounts.
- Customized Searches: Easily refine your search based on desired rental features and policy criteria.
Sample Pricing Insight: The starting price hovers around $25/day for car rentals, tallying up to an approximate total of $140 for the entire journey duration. An intriguing deal that caught our eye was the Express Deal, presenting options from brands like Ace, Economy, and Fox. It’s noteworthy that the search results encompassed over 15 distinct car rental brands.
- Lease of a mid-sized sedan
- No cap on mileage covered
- Complimentary airport shuttle leading you straight to the rental car collection point.
Best car rental app for regular, short-term rentals: Zipcar
For those who often find themselves in need of a car – be it for meeting clients, weekend getaways, or fetching office supplies – Zipcar offers an economical and flexible alternative to conventional car rentals and ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft.
What sets Zipcar apart? It works on a membership basis. Once you’re a member, which comes at a monthly fee of $9 or an annual fee of $90, you can access cars starting at just $11 an hour.
- Wide Reach: Zipcar is conveniently available in over 500 major cities across the US.
- All-Inclusive Service: With Zipcar, there are no hidden costs. Your rental includes insurance, gas, and even roadside assistance.
- Instant Rentals: Need a car immediately? Just tap on the Zipcar app.
- Convenient Pickup Locations: Forget the hassle of airport rentals. Zipcar stations are strategically located throughout the city.
- Special Business Offers: Companies can benefit from additional discounts, making Zipcar a practical choice for on-the-fly “company cars.”
Sample Pricing Details: The starting rate is around $83/day, summing up to an estimated $249 for the entire rental duration. It’s worth noting that while Zipcar is an economical choice for short-term rentals, its day-long rates might be slightly steeper compared to some alternatives.
What’s Part of the Deal:
- Comprehensive insurance coverage for all journeys
- Gas provisions as required
- A generous limit of 180 miles per day (with a charge of $0.58 for each additional mile)
- A unique on-demand rental system that offers hourly rates, giving you more control and flexibility.
Best peer-to-peer car rental app: Turo
Imagine Airbnb, but for cars. That’s Turo for you! This innovative app connects you directly with car owners in your vicinity, allowing you to rent vehicles with ease. The standout perks? Both flexibility and affordability. More often than not, you’ll find that Turo offers rates significantly lower than traditional car rental services.
Turo shines especially if your journey doesn’t involve an airport visit. As it operates on a peer-to-peer model, your rental car is typically stationed at various city locations, making pickups convenient. And if you’re looking for an added layer of convenience, some owners even offer a delivery service, albeit for an extra charge.
- Budget-Friendly: Expect to shell out less than what you would at conventional car rental outlets.
- Spontaneous Bookings: Ideal for last-minute plans, with many cars available for same-day or next-day bookings.
- Broad Reach: Turo’s footprint extends across 7,500+ cities in the US, Canada, and the UK.
- Extended Stay Discounts: Plan to rent for long? Enjoy discounts on trips that span 7+ days or even 30+ days.
- Multiple Pickup Spots: Cars are dispersed throughout the city, eliminating the need for a singular collection point.
Sample Pricing Insight: Our search revealed rates commencing at a mere $27/day, rounding off to an estimated total of $82 for the entire duration. Impressively, this was the most economical option we encountered.
- A 3-day lease of a mid-sized sedan
- Standard insurance coupled with liability coverage
- Stress-free cancellations permitted up to 24 hours prior to the journey
- A generous mileage cap of 600 miles (with any extra miles priced at $0.14/mile).
Best car rental app for flexibility: Getaround
If you’re traveling for fun and are after flexibility, Getaround might just be your best bet. Drawing parallels to Turo, Getaround too operates on a peer-to-peer car rental model. Though its user interface for searching and booking isn’t as streamlined as Turo’s, it stands out for its unmatched flexibility compared to Turo and many conventional platforms.
Being a peer-sharing service, Getaround doesn’t shower you with the usual frills of traditional car rental services. A noteworthy point is that the newer vehicles (from 2018 onwards) on Getaround tend to have steeper rates compared to what you’d find with conventional agencies. But if you’re someone who doesn’t mind taking the wheel of an older model, fantastic deals await you.
- Hourly Bookings: Unique to Getaround, rent cars by the hour, ensuring you only pay for the duration you actually require.
- Economical Older Models: Opting for older cars can lead to significant savings.
- Broad Network: Getaround is operational in over 300 US cities and continues to expand globally.
- Swift Last-Minute Reservations: Their dedicated iPhone and Android apps facilitate speedy last-minute bookings.
- City-Wide Availability: With cars peppered throughout urban areas, you’re bound to find one in close proximity.
Sample Pricing Overview: Our search displayed rates commencing at an affordable $4.50 per hour, accumulating to an estimated $100 for the entire rental span.
- A 3-day lease of a standard midsize sedan.
- Free cancellations, provided they’re initiated a minimum of 24 hours prior to the rental.
- A generous mileage allowance of 200 miles for every 24-hour window (our sample trip, for instance, would encompass up to 600 miles).
- Basic insurance coverage is part of the deal, with the option to enhance protection by purchasing supplementary insurance.
Best car rental for European travel: Europcar
When it comes to renting a car in Europe, Europcar is a name that resonates with trust and affordability. Boasting an impressive presence with over 3,000 locations not only in Europe but also globally, Europcar ensures travelers can avail quality car rentals without breaking the bank. Moreover, business travelers can benefit from a suite of tailored solutions, including swift check-ins, self-service tools, and additional savings.
- Loyalty Rewards: With the Privilege membership, enjoy a minimum discount of 10% on rentals ranging from 3 to 21 days. Plus, accumulate points to redeem free rentals.
- Minimal Extra Charges: Europcar stands out with its fewer surcharges compared to many traditional car rental companies.
- Swift Online Check-In: The Europcar app facilitates a quick check-in process, enabling you to bypass the counter and dive straight into your vacation.
- Business Perks: Special discounts and a streamlined check-in process are on offer for those traveling for work.
Sample Pricing Insight: Our exploration indicated prices starting from $68 per day, cumulating to an approximate total of $204 for the trip duration.
Included in the Package:
- A standard midsize sedan for your journey.
- No restrictions on mileage—drive as much as you wish.
- Essential liability and insurance coverage for peace of mind.
- All costs associated with drivers are covered.
- Added advantage of VAT recovery.
Best car rental app for frequent flyers: Hertz
For those who find themselves frequently on the road, Hertz stands out as a top-tier car rental service. Their affordable pricing, expansive network, and rewarding membership program make them a favorite among regular travelers.
What sets Hertz apart is their commitment to customer convenience. Being a renowned traditional car rental name, Hertz boasts rental counters at the majority of significant US airports. So, the moment you disembark from your flight, your car awaits, ready for you to embark on your next adventure. No more tedious coordination for pickups at hotels or other locations.
- Global Presence: With over 8,500 locations scattered worldwide, Hertz ensures you’re never too far from one of their stations.
- Best Rate Assurance: Found a Hertz car rental at a lower rate elsewhere? They promise to match the price.
- Gold Plus Rewards: This free membership program showers you with rewards every time you rent, from free car rentals and upgrades to frequent flyer miles with partner airlines.
- Swift Transitions: Use the Hertz mobile app for a quick pickup and dropoff experience, bypassing the usual counter queues.
Sample Pricing Insight: Our research revealed starting rates of $65 per day, accumulating to an estimated $272 for the entire rental duration.
- Rent a standard-sized electric vehicle for your journey.
- Drive without restrictions thanks to unlimited mileage.
- Enjoy a risk-free booking with free cancellations within the initial 24 hours post-reservation.
- Benefit from basic liability and insurance coverage, available in select states.
Best car rental app for comparing options: Kayak
For those seeking a myriad of car rental options at their fingertips, Kayak proves to be an indispensable tool. This third-party search aggregator dives deep into both direct booking platforms and other third-party sites, ensuring you get a comprehensive list of choices.
The beauty of Kayak lies in its extensive aggregation. With so many results at your disposal, tailoring your search becomes a breeze. Whether you’re keen on a specific rental brand, specific car features, particular policy stipulations, or even a precise pickup location, Kayak has got you covered.
Once you pinpoint your perfect car rental, Kayak further empowers you by displaying price comparisons for that vehicle across various platforms. This includes both the direct provider and other Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), helping you make an informed decision on where to book.
- Expansive Network: Dive into a vast pool of car rental and booking options, ensuring you find a match that aligns with your preferences.
- Stay Updated with Price Alerts: Get instant notifications if there’s a dip in the rental price.
- One-Stop Comparison: View and contrast prices across numerous booking platforms simultaneously, ensuring you secure the best deal.
- Diverse Options: Kayak’s search results also feature non-conventional choices, including platforms like Turo and various commercial vehicle offerings.
Sample Pricing Overview: Our exploration indicated starting prices of roughly $40 per day, summing up to an estimated $115 for the entire rental duration. The most affordable traditional brand highlighted was Routes Car Rental.
- Hassle-free booking with cancellations allowed up to 48 hours prior to the rental.
- Drive as much as you want with unlimited free in-state mileage.
- Convenient airport pickup services.
- Insurance offerings and additional charges can differ based on the rental brand. It’s advisable to delve into the specifics of what’s required before finalizing your reservation.
The Ultimate Car Rental App for Business Travelers: TravelPerk
For those who are always on the move for business purposes, TravelPerk stands out as the premier car rental application. Designed specifically with the business traveler in mind, this app ensures your journeys remain smooth and devoid of unnecessary hitches.
Why is TravelPerk a notch above the rest? It’s not just about offering a vast array of corporate rental options and competitive rates. TravelPerk’s intuitive, integrated platform lets both individual travelers and travel managers effortlessly book not just cars, but also flights and accommodations. Moreover, teams can efficiently oversee travel schedules, budgets, business expenditures, and even handle VAT refunds.
Speaking of which, here’s a perk: When you book through TravelPerk, you gain access to their specialized VAT recovery solution. This could lead to substantial savings, potentially cutting up to a quarter off your annual European travel expenses.
- Unified Platform: Book, oversee, and report on all your business travel and associated expenses. From car rentals to flights, have everything under one roof.
- Extensive Rental Options: Partnered with top-tier car rental companies like Avis, Enterprise, and Hertz. Enjoy exclusive rates and snag the best deals every single time.
- Prompt Customer Assistance: Need help? Their 24/7 customer support responds in an impressive average time of 15 seconds.
- FlexiPerk: Worried about cancellations? With FlexiPerk, reclaim up to 80% of the cost for trips you’ve had to cancel, bypassing individual cancellation rules.
Sample Rate: Starting from a daily rate of $47.60, anticipate an overall cost of approximately $142.81 for the entire rental duration.
- 3-day lease of a midsize sedan
- Comprehensive insurance and liability coverage
- Transparent cancellation policy
- Unlimited travel distance
- Exclusive VAT recovery solution.
Hey Reader, Welcome to MyQuickIdea. I am Nikhil Saini, started MyquickIdea as a passion and now it’s now covering different topics like Blogging, SEO, Marketing, Technology, Finance, Stock Market, Fintech, etc. I always prefer pushing quality content for my readers. I hope you would be liking it.