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“While most know Austin as the live music capital of the world first and the capital of Texas second, there is so much more to this thriving city than just music. If you have never had authentic Texan BBQ from Opies, then I don't know what you've been doing with your time! Lake Travis is just a one-hour drive from downtown and is a great place to watch the sunset. If you are a party animal, Sixth Street is the place to be.” — Kieran White, Photojournalist Reasons to get out of Austin Though Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World, there are many reasons for you to take a day and get outside of the city. Within just a couple hours drive there are a number of towns and cities that you won’t want to miss. The following are some of the places that A Taste of Koko, Timeout, Austintexas.com, and Texas Hill Country recommend that you visit. Important Note: Drive times may differ depending on time of day, traffic, weather, etc. Under an Hour Drive The Cathedral of Junk (15 minutes) It is unlikely that you have ever heard of a religious building being made from garbage. The Cathedral of Junk has been created using scrap metal. For many, it is the perfect example of the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” The Natural Gardener (24 minutes) The Natural Gardener is a garden providing visitors with a panoramic picture of beauty complete with stunning flowers, winding trails, and thick green foliage. No matter the season, you will love what this garden has to offer. Make sure that you take some time to visit the butterfly garden found here as well. Dripping Springs (36 minutes) Dripping Springs is home to the Hamilton Pool Preserve swimming hole. Here you are surrounded by a beautiful oasis with numerous trees and a variety of wildlife. Other attractions that you can enjoy in Dripping Springs include the Hills of Milk and Honey farm where you can learn about bees, livestock, and land practices; Rolling in Thyme Dough where you can try some seasonal bread, croissants, or sandwiches; or the Twisted X Brewing Company where you can taste handcrafted craft beer. Lockhart (37 minutes) Lockhart is considered “The Barbeque Capital of Texas.” One of the best known restaurants here is The Original Black’s Barbeque which has been run by the same family since 1932. For a taste of the culture found in this town, you can stroll through the shops, galleries, restaurants, and the historic theater located near town square. Some visitors enjoy seeing the architecture of the Caldwell County Courthouse and others prefer learning more about where outlaws used to be detained at the Caldwell County Jail Museum. Wimberley (50 minutes) Wimberley is home to a number of fun day activities for you to enjoy. Jacob’s Well houses one of the longest underwater caves in the state of Texas. You can enjoy wandering through a number of art galleries including Wimberley Glassworks where you can watch artists create incredible sculptures from hot glass. To purchase some freshly pressed olive oil or small batch wine, you will want to visit Bella Vista Ranch. Gruene (51 minutes) For those interested in history, this is the perfect small town to visit. All of Gruene is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Once in the town, you will be surrounded by 19th-century brick storefronts and old shops. It is also home to the oldest dance hall in Texas: Gruene Hall. It still has old traditional wooden floors and offers a venue for up-coming music stars to perform. Big names have also been performing there since 1878. New Braunfels (52 minutes) New Braunfels is known for its water coaster at Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort as well as its 18 different breweries on the Hill Country Craft Beer Trail. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy rending tubes and riding the currents of the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers that pass right through the city. 1-Hour Drive Johnson City (1 hour) Johnson City was the childhood home of Lyndon B. Johnson. Today you can learn more about the 36th President of the United States by visiting the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. A number of hiking trails with beautiful views can be found in Pedernales Falls State Park for those that enjoy the outdoors. For an up close and personal experience with over 700 animals you can spend some time at the Exotic Resort Zoo. This city has something to keep everyone entertained. San Antonio (1 hour 21 minutes) Have you ever visited a Colonial Mission? If not, San Antonio is a great place to check out. This city is rich with history and provides visitors a number of destinations. A favorite for many travelers is to take a walk along the river walk. If you have an afternoon free, you can enjoy visiting some of the many art museums or take the kids to Six Flags Fiesta Texas, SeaWorld, or the San Antonio Zoo. Fredericksburg (1 hour 32 minutes) This quaint small town is famous for its German heritage and wineries, which each use unique recipes. For an enjoyable afternoon you can visit the National Museum of the Pacific War, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, or the beautiful flower gardens at Wildseed Farms followed by a yummy meal at one of the local German restaurants. If you have never had German food, then you are in for a treat. Waco (1 hour 36 minutes) Home to the world-famous Magnolia Market, Waco is a popular destination for many. The Magnolia Market was started by HGTV Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines. Other attractions that you may enjoy in Waco include the Dr. Pepper Museum, Waco Mammoth National Monument, The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Cameron Park Zoo. 2-Hour Drive Houston (2 hours 37 minutes) Most people have heard of Houston, but why should you visit this city? To start, it is a very diverse city and sports 19 museums, galleries, and cultural museums. You also might enjoy one of the more than 300 parks that are scattered throughout the city. Some of the most popular include Memorial Park, Mercer Arboretum, and Botanic Gardens. For those with an interest in outer space, the Space Center Houston is a must. Here people of all ages enjoy learning about space exploration. 3-Hour Drive Dallas (3 hours) If you have heard of Texas, you have likely heard of Dallas. It is home to one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. There are so many things to do and see here so you will want to make sure and do your research in advance. Some popular places for shopping and food are Uptown, the Deep Ellum, the Bishop Arts District, and the Lower Greenville neighborhoods. If you are interested in history, you might enjoy the Sixth Floor Museum and the Dealey Plaza where you can learn more about John F. Kennedy’s assassination. If you decide to visit Dallas, you will be surrounded by things to do all day. Corpus Christi (3 hours 10 minutes) Did you know that large expanses of beautiful sandy beaches exist on the coast of Texas? Corpus Christi is one of these areas. This coastal city located right off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico is a great place to escape to take a break from the city and enjoy the fresh ocean breezes. You can spend your day enjoying the sun, water, and sand, or take some time to explore the city. Situated on North Beach, you will find the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington (one of the carriers during World War II). There are also a couple of State Parks and gardens that you may enjoy visiting. Galveston (3 hours 35 minutes) Galveston is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway. It is located on the coast with beaches and the well-known Pleasure Pier which features a number of rides, midway games, dining, and shops. Many people enjoy seeing the numerous examples of Victorian architecture found here. The perfect stop for the entire family is Moody Gardens. Here you will enjoy an aquarium, a rainforest pyramid, a 4D theater, a number of live animal experiences, and a fun ropes course. 4+ Hour Drive Krause Springs (4 hours) Car rental services in Austin Think you are going to need a rental car during your trip? Here is a list of the car rental services that are available in the city: Alamo Rent A Car Limos of Austin Avalon Transportation Service Fox Rent A Car Enterprise Rent-A-Car E-Z Rent-A-Car Budget Car Rental Priceless Car Rental Advantage Car Rental Austin Van Rentals Thrifty Car Rental Hertz Car Rental Go Rentals Avis Car Rental Payless Car Rental Read recent customer reviews to ensure that you are getting the best service. Attractions in Austin Texas is known for “big” things. Austin is a big city and has a number of fun things to do while you vacation. We wanted to help you brainstorm for your trip and have compiled a list of popular attractions in the city with help from U.S. News and A Taste of Koko. Iconic Attractions State Capitol SoCo District Sixth Street LBJ Presidential Library Austin Bats Esther’s Follies Thinkery Driskill Hotel Shopping on South Congress Museums and Memorials Blanton Museum of Art Bullock Texas State History Museum Mexic-Arte Museum Parks and Gardens Mount Bonnell Zilker Metropolitan Park Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Austin Nature and Science Center Mayfield Park and Preserve McKinney Falls State Park Barton Springs Pool Umlauf Sculpture Garden Hamilton Pool Lake Travis Culture and the Arts Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater The Contemporary Austin — Laguna Gloria University of Texas at Austin Alamo Drafthouse Two-Step Dancing at Broken Spoke How to get around Austin There are a number of ways to get around Austin if you do not have a car. Kerri Sholly, Director of Public Relations and Communications at Four Seasons Hotel Austin offers some suggestions to help you get to where you would like to be quickly and efficiently. Walking — Walking is best if you are going to be downtown or around South Congress. Pedicabs — If you are going to be traveling a medium distance in the city, this is a great option to save your feet. SUPs — If you are interested in going across the lake, you will want to hop on a SUP. Swan Boats — Not only is this a great way to see the lake, but it also provides you with some exercise. Willie Nelson’s Vintage Tour Bus — This is a great way to get out and tour the Hill Country wineries without having to worry about drinking and driving. Boat — A number of boats are available for you to hop on to go out and see the numerous lakes in the city. Bicycle — If you would like to travel around the lake, you can enjoy cruising on the bike trails that have been created in the city as well as the mountain biking trails in the greenbelts. Motorcycle — If you would like to go to cruise through the countryside to see the beautiful wildflowers, a motorcycle is the way to go. Parking in Austin Austin is a big city and it provides a lot of parking options to ensure that everyone can find a place. That being said, much of the parking is not free. Parkopedia is a great resource to help you locate available parking on a map. Not only can you see what parking is available (along with its specific pricing), but you can reserve a spot to make sure that it is still there by the time you arrive. Many resources to help you find the best parking in the city are available online. If you are planning to visit the bats on the bridge, 6th street downtown, the State Capitol, or the Austin Convention Center, you may want to check out this parking guide provided by Pauly Presley Realty. It will help you to find the perfect parking places located close to each of your destinations.
"From the Empire State Building to Central Park to the Statue of Liberty — New York City has it all. It's probably the one city in the world that everyone should visit at least once in their life.” — Rishi Kapoor, CEO and Founder of Nanak Flights If you have not yet had the chance to visit New York City, it is a trip that you need to get on your calendar. As the number one city to visit in the United States, it offers tourists some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. What you may not know is that New York City is surrounded by over a dozen small cities, towns, and travel destinations that can revolutionize your visit there. Though you certainly don't need a rental car to get around this city, it would be a sin not to grab a rental for a day trip to one of these incredible locations that are listed below. Reasons to get out of New York City We took into account opinions from Sixt and Newsday to provide you with a detailed list of incredible locations that you should visit when you plan your New York trip. Important Note: Drive times may differ depending on time of day, traffic, weather, etc. Under an Hour Drive Red Hook, Brooklyn (42 minutes) Red Hook is a small-town waterfront neighborhood that is well known for its shipping terminal, restaurant, and small shops. It used to be bustling with longshoremen that worked on the ships or on the docks and still maintains a taste of its past. It is a great place to stop for lunch and a walk past all of the shops. City Island, Bronx (46 minutes) City Island is a part of the Long Island Sound and is accessed by a bridge from Pelham Bay Park. Once there, you find yourself in a New England-type setting surrounded by seafood restaurants right on the waterfront and a number of small shops and antique shops to keep you busy. Flushing, Queens (51 minutes) Flushing is home to one of New York’s three Chinatowns. With a large mall with food courts serving food from a number of Asian countries, it is a great spot to experience a bit of unique New York culture. For those looking for some extra relaxing, the Spa Castle should be added to the itinerary. 1-Hour Drive Storm King Art Center (1 hour 12 minutes) Boasting an open 500 acres, this outdoor sculpture park brings art, nature, and people together to defy the boundaries of discovery. You will want to check the website for seasonal or holiday closures before going. The Rockaways, Queens (1 hour 27 minutes) Located just south of the city (near JFK International Airport), this peninsula and rocky beach area is much less crowded than the beach on Coney Island. Recent renovations of the beach area, boardwalk, and shops has made it a popular stop. Asbury Park, New Jersey (1 hour 41 minutes) Asbury Park is known as one of the biggest hubs of cultural and ethnic diversity as well as creative energy and natural beauty. It has become very open and friendly to the LGBTQ+ community and is one of the fastest growing and most exciting shore resorts in New Jersey. Providing beach access, the boardwalk, arcades, music venues, and much more, it is a great spot to escape to for a change of scenery. 2-Hour Drive Hyde Park, New York (2 hours) Just because the downtown area is not very large does not mean you shouldn’t give this city a chance. Hyde Park is home to the Culinary Institute of America, the Franklin D. Roosevelt home, a local farmers market, the scenic Hudson, and much more. If you had to choose one reason to visit, the Culinary School of America stands alone. You just can’t miss it! Woodstock, New York (2 hours 5 minutes) Woodstock has been pinned as a free-spirited town and a countercultural mecca for a number of generations after its namesake music festival in 1969. It continues to be a hippie haven with tie-dye-laden head shops and weekend tourist jams. The phrase “Peace and Love” remains part of the core of this town and its eclectic shops, live music venues, and art institutions. Cold Spring Harbor, New York (2 hours 9 minutes) Cold String Harbor offers options for a number of different activities for visitors. With the Cold Spring Harbor State Park and JK Kayak and Sup, you are able to get out of the car and enjoy nature. For those interested in history and landmark destinations, The Whaling Museum and Education Center and St. John’s Episcopal Church are some fun places to visit. 3-Hour Drive Mystic, Connecticut (3 hours 29 minutes) With a New England charm, Mystic has everything from quiet farm areas to coastal towns. It has options to get people participating in active adventure, relaxing activities, arts and culture, family fun, and lots of history. Whether you enjoy amusement parks, beaches, museums, nature centers, or fine dining, Mystic will keep you entertained during your stay. Watch Hill, Rhode Island (3 hours 45 minutes) Nestled on the edge of a Rhode Island peninsula, Watch Hill provides visitors with exquisite views and stunning sunsets. Popular places to visit during your time there include The Ocean House, Carousel Beach, Nappatree Point, and the Watch Hill Carousel. Newport, Rhode Island (3 hours 51 minutes) Newport is known for its seaside location, Colonial roots, and ever-present yachting crowd. With three popular beaches that look out over the Rhode Island Sound and a number of famous attractions such as the Cliff Walk, it provides visitors a number of ways to enjoy the beauty of the east coast 4+ Hour Drive If you find that you are going to have a significant amount of time off for your trip, it may be worth taking a weekend to and exlpore one of these awesome places. Annapolis, Maryland (4 hours) Providence Rhode Island (4 hours 11 minutes) Shelter Island, New York (4 hours 13 minutes) Washington, D.C. (4 hours 25 minutes) Boston, Massachuesetts (4 hours 29 minutes) “If you are staying outside of the city, for instance in Long Island or New Jersey, you can take the Long Island Rail Road or NJ Transit to get to the city, which aren’t as frequent during the non-peak hours but are comfortable and cheaper options than driving if you account for the cost of parking. I wouldn’t recommend driving to vacationers as traffic in most of the streets and intersections in NYC is overwhelming, and the parking cost is exorbitantly high. Unless you’re quick and skilled at parallel parking on narrow streets, try to stay away from driving, especially on weekdays.” — Anupriya Basu, writer for Insurantly.com Car rental services in New York City Let's say that you decide that you want to visit one of these places. Nothing can be more frustrating than not having control of your schedule when on vacation. When you are in the city, public transportation can get you around easy enough. As you plan to step outside of the city, you are going to want to grab a rental car. Uber and Lyft could be options, but if you are going more than an hour away, it will likely be cheaper and more convenient for you to grab a car for the day. Some rental car companies that have rental locations near the city include the following: Avis Car Rental Budget Car Rental Empire Rent A Car Sixt Rent A Car JFK Auto Rental Prestige Car Rental Enterprise Rent-A-Car Thrifty Car Rental Hertz Car Rental Alamo Rent A Car To learn more about these companies or read current customer reviews, click here. Attractions in New York City “New York is a city synonymous with great live entertainment catering to every budget and every taste. With budget options becoming more and more available, New York is very affordable to get to and with many great public transport options in the city, you are never too far from the action.” - Kieran White, Photojournalist For help compiling a list of some of the most popular attractions in the city we turned to TimeOut and PlanetWare. Iconic Attractions Statue of Liberty Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock Observation Deck Empire State Building Times Square Brooklyn Bridge Fifth Avenue Grand Central Terminal One World Observatory Wall Street The Chrysler Building Where to stay to see it all: According to Sharon Beck, CEO of Kosher Private Chef (KPC), New Yorkers believe the world revolves around them and for good reason. Whether you are visiting family in town, vacationing, or traveling for business, KPC recommends the St. Regis Hotel located next to The Museum of Modern Art and Central Park. It doesn't matter if you are a movie star, a titan of industry, or even a common man, you are always treated like royalty. To make the experience even grander, the hotel offers a house car and complimentary butler service for each room. If the St. Regis Hotel doesn't sound like the right place for you, Beck suggests the Chatwal, a historic Manhattan luxury hotel set two blocks from Times Square and Bryant Park. This hotel also offers butler service but differs as it has a world-renowned spa with an indoor saltwater pool and 24-hour fitness center. There are many perks to staying at hotels when traveling, but for those who are looking to save a bit of money, Airbnb and Vrbo are great options. Not only will you have your own private space, but you can also have a place to cook or store groceries if you want to avoid spending too much eating out for every meal. Museums and Memorials Metropolitan Museum of Art 9/11 Memorial and Museum The Frick Collection Radio City Music Hall Brooklyn Museum Whitney Museum of American Art New-York Historical Society Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Parks and Gardens Central Park High Line Linear Park Bryant Park Prospect Park New York Botanical Garden Culture and The Arts Broadway and the Theater District New York Public Library St. Patrick’s Cathedral Carnegie Hall Apollo Theater Best ways to get around New York City The easiest way to get from one place to another here is using the subway trains as much as possible, suggests Chizoba Anyaoha, founder of TravSolo. They come frequently on good days when there is no traffic or delays. Each train is interconnected to each other, so even when you get lost, you're never really lost — think of it as an opportunity to explore new areas. For more open areas like the Bronx, Queens, and parts of Brooklyn, the bus is the ideal form of transportation. Just make sure you know what buses to transfer to in order to get as close as possible to your final destination. Even so, most places are within walking distances. If you are looking for other forms of transport, you can hail one of the many yellow taxi cabs around the city. Though it seems like an easy task, hailing a taxi and getting where you need to quickly is not a cake walk. To make sure that you are an expert before you get there, check out these tips from the Art of Manliness. Parking in New York City If you decide to rent a car for the entirety of your trip to New York as you have plans to go to a number of the incredible places located just outside the city, you need to have a parking plan in place in advance. Parking is near impossible in this busy city. For some expert tips and ideas of where you can park in the city, check out these parking tips from Sixt.
Rental agencies are losing their market share for many activities, but business travel is one opportunity where car rental companies and customers can both win. If transportation on your business trip will be a tax writeoff, or paid for by your company, the appeal of ridesharing and public transit disappears. Car rental gives travelers the convenience of choosing when and where to go without having to wait for a ride to arrive or commute long hours with crowds of people. If your business is taking you places, you’re probably going to want to rent a car. Here are some expert tips from those who have traveled with car rentals. Choose airline and hotel partners Bundling your travel costs usually amounts to extra savings. The same is true with car rentals.“We pair our Delta SkyMiles with our car rentals to accumulate more SkyMiles,” Shawn Breyer of Atlanta House Buyers explains. “Delta partners with numerous car rental companies, which is great for getting rewards at Delta and the car rental, giving you double reward points. . . . If you enjoy rewards, it's important to look at what partnerships your airlines, hotels, and car rentals have with each other.” Erica Dermer, blogger for Celiac and the Beast, echoes this idea. “When I first started flying often, I made sure to attach my rental car to my airline loyalty program,” she explains. However, Dermer sticks to one airline and one rental agency for her travel: “If I rent from Budget, I get points for Southwest Airlines. I use my Southwest Airline credit card to rent from Budget, and also get points from that. It's best to stick with one airline, one rental car company, and get the credit cards and loyalty programs attached to those to get the best benefits.” Need mobile accessibility? Find a rental company with an app So you want to rent a car, but you don’t want to wait in line for nearly an hour to check it out. Or, you don’t want to call in if you need to extend your rental. Choose a car rental company with a robust app that helps you through the process more quickly. “I set up my own loyalty membership with about five or six rental companies, but really only use one — National,” Anne Fletcher of TravelSOUL says. “This is because their app is super easy to use and I can easily extend my rental through the app without hassle.” Some companies, such as Avis, Alamo, and Sixt, allow online check-in that lets patrons access the express counter and head to their car quickly without waiting in line at the kiosk, resolving one of the peskiest vexations of renting a car. Use your vehicle options When selecting a rental, you can choose different models to match your circumstances. Vanessa Keating of Evolve Creative, LLC explains the choices: “Rentals I have used range from cargo vans for equipment pickups to economy cars for shorter airport-to-meeting trips to vans/suburbans [and] mid- or large-size sedans for longer client visits with a team of coworkers.” Being able to choose your vehicle gives you more opportunity than driving your own car or hailing a taxi. Business travelers can also choose higher quality vehicles to boost reputation. “I prefer luxury models because I entertain clients when traveling,” Rebecca Beach of MomBeach.com notes. And if you’re concerned about safety, Frederick Penney of Penney & Associates has some advice: “I believe it is also best to rent one of the largest or safest vehicles on the road. The advantage of being in a bigger car when in an accident outweighs the small amount of money you save by renting a compact car. Nobody ever picks up a rental car expecting to get into an accident, but taking some additional precautions never hurt anyone!” Tailor your selection to your needs to make your business trip a more comfortable experience. Read also: Top Rental Car Tips: 20 to Make Your Next Rental the Best Ever Take advantage of the benefits of renting a car If you’re going to have the convenience of a rental car, take advantage of its benefits. “The greatest benefit of renting a vehicle rather than using your own is avoiding the wear and tear,” Ron Auerbach says. “So by using somebody else's car rather than your own, you're not worrying about how many miles you put on it. And you know that the rental companies maintain their fleets.” Frequent travelers don’t have to worry about wearing out their own vehicles, and they also get to explore their destinations. As Dermer explains, “I rent a car because I want the freedom to explore. I want to be able to venture out at night or in the morning before the convention/conference/trade show starts. I don't want to be chained to my hotel and their food and beverage offerings.” Check and double-check availability Some rental agencies may have a lean fleet in rural locations and during seasonal surges. “There are some rural areas where car selection might be very limited,” Auerbach says. “So you may just have to settle for whatever they happen to have available at the time and make do with it. It's also possible, depending upon when you need the vehicle, that none are available at the time.” Keating also warns of this additional disadvantage: “Pricing is also quite variable, especially around large events or holidays where rental volume is at a premium. It is sometimes a challenge to get the car you need as they are based on criteria in person that can't be communicated online or [through] calling an agent who may not be available once you arrive at the rental pick-up location.” It can be hard to tell what’s available, especially in rural locations or when working with smaller car rental agencies. Business travelers should consider this when they’re looking for a bigger selection. If they want a higher likelihood of their desired vehicle being available, they should rent from a company with a large fleet of vehicles. For those who need to travel often for business, a rental car might make sense. And with this advice, it might seem like an even more attractive option. Research companies and find out which rental agencies offer you the best match.
If you're in the market for a car, you've likely considered two avenues: buying new or buying used. And if you've hunted for former rental cars, you've probably wondered how used the purportedly like-new vehicles will be. Is it really the compromise between new and used that you've been looking for? Rental cars are available to consumers through rental agencies, dealerships, and auctions when rental agencies expand their fleets with new models and sell off their old stock. You may inadvertently test drive one at your local car dealer, or you can go directly to rental agencies such as Enterprise, Hertz, and Budget to purchase the cars they’re phasing out. The pros and cons of buying a rental The models they sell are fairly new and well-maintained, and the no-haggle pricing at rental car agencies is attractive for those seeking less hassle, but these pre-owned vehicles also have their drawbacks.“Be wary of the dings, scratches, and stains that a rental car is more likely to have,” Ian Cogswell of Superior Honda warns. “Rental cars change hands very frequently, and renters are generally less careful than owners.” Buyers might lose heart when they realize many rental cars have racked up mileage and wear and tear from their journeys. Customers drive to get their money’s worth out of rental vehicles during their rental period.However, rental agencies combat this by charging customers for damages, thoroughly inspecting a rental vehicle after it’s returned. This might deter some renters from indulging in irresponsibility.Read also: How to Protect Yourself from Common Rental Car PitfallsBut whatever the condition of the car’s exterior, rental agencies dutifully maintain the vehicle with the help of certified mechanics. Cogswell notes, “Rental car companies perform excellent maintenance on these cars — they have to take care of their assets, right?”And if you want a car with a detailed vehicle history, buying a rental might be a good option. “They keep detailed maintenance and usage records that you can trace back,” Cogswell explains. “If you see something you don’t particularly like in the car’s history you can move onto the next one.”Rental agencies might also give you a chance the rent out the used car for test driving. If you went to a dealership, you might have thirty minutes or so to take a car out for a spin. A rental car company might give you a few days, plenty of time to take it to a mechanic to conduct a pre-purchase inspection and drive the car for yourself to see how it handles. A data-driven warning So maybe you’re convinced these pros outweigh the cons. Noah Messing, co-founder of Cloovy, has a word of caution. Cloovy searches Manheim’s auction site and purchases vehicles on behalf of their clients, and they’ve analyzed their findings to present some results on rental car damages: “Our data suggest that the myth that rental cars get abused more than other cars has some truth to it,” Messing explains. “We crunched numbers for roughly 16,500 car and truck sales this spring. We tested whether rental cars are more physically beat up than other cars after the same number of miles on the road. Physical condition isn’t a perfect proxy for mechanical condition, but they’re closely related, especially over big sample sizes.“Here’s what we found. For cars with 10,000 to 20,000 miles, rental cars had an average condition score of 4.49 (out of 5) versus 4.49 — an identical score — for all other cars. In other words, there was no difference in physical condition. “For cars with 20,000 to 30,000 miles, rental cars were in slightly better shape than other cars after the same mileage, scoring an average of 4.44 versus 4.42 for all other cars. But these numbers hide a key fact which confirms the conventional wisdom that rental cars get beat up more: the rental cars in this group were, on average, 1.31 years younger than the other cars, meaning that they had fewer days of the sun and rain wearing out the vehicle.“Thus, if you’re buying a rental car, you should try to get a pretty good discount — approximately the amount that a non-rental car would cost that was one year older.”If you thought the price tag on a 2017 rental car was a good deal, you might need to reevaluate: it should be priced as if it were a pre-owned, non-rental 2016 vehicle to be competitive.And even if a rental received those frequent service check-ups at an agency, the rental car company might be selling it because major maintenance was on the horizon. Messing says, “We try to steer customers to off-lease vehicles, mainly because the car’s primary user isn’t acting on, in essence, insider information about when to trade in or sell the car. With an end-of-lease vehicle, the turn-in date is predetermined; with rental cars and typical trade-ins, there’s a heightened risk that some major repair is looming, causing the owner to sell.” This is why a pre-purchase inspection is critical.So, what do you do with this information? Remember that buying a pre-owned vehicle always involves some risk, but also remember that buying new comes with a hefty price tag, high monthly payments, and faster depreciation. The best thing you can do is conduct thorough research. Read reviews, contact experts, and never be rushed into a decision. Renting a car can come with a barrage of hidden fees; you don’t want a similar barrage when you’re buying one! Read also: Top Rental Car Tips: 20 to Make Your Next Rental the Best Ever
Self-driving vehicles are an inevitability for our future. But before consumers can hit the road in one of their own, they might find themselves in someone else’s on their way to the airport. Ridesharing and rental services have some of the biggest benefits from this innovation, primarily paying less for personnel. And autonomous cars may need to be regulated by temporary ride-offering services, because privately-owned cars could oversaturate roads. Who will be the first to tap into this revolutionary self-driving technology — rental car agencies or ridesharing services?The answer may seem obvious from an initial glance. Ridesharing companies put a significant dent in the rental car industries’ market share with their transparent fees, mobile accessibility, and valet service. In numerous statistical reports and thinkpieces, Uber and Lyft are praised as meteors killing the rental-car dinosaurs that consolidated to drive up prices and remove competition. With ridesharing already being an innovative idea that has skyrocketed to success, and with Waymo announcing a (rather limited) self-driving rideshare service, it looks like rental car companies will be lucky if they can keep up. However, that’s exactly what they intend to do.But how can they compare to the ridesharing companies helping autonomous vehicles hit U.S. roads? Uber and Lyft have raced to incorporate self-driving cars into their fleets. Lyft partnered with Aptiv and Waymo to provide autonomous rides in Las Vegas and Phoenix; Uber sunk over a billion dollars in self-driving technology while placing its bets on its own staff to refine self-driving cars. Then Tesla jumped into the fray with lofty promises of robotaxis filling the streets of America by 2020. But all these promises are failing to live up to their expectations. Some services require human chaperones for the “autonomous” ride; others have proven major safety risks and boast technological incompetence compared to human drivers. For now, ridesharing companies are stalling, trying to pave a way forward when legislation and public opinion often force them to yield.In the meantime, what have rental car companies been doing? Playing bingo and giving grandchildren hard candy? Not so. This evolution has changed how some rental companies view ridesharing. Behind Waymo’s ridesharing app, a fleet of Phoenix-based personnel is cleaning and fine-tuning the autonomous vehicles between rides — that would be the employees of rental car company Avis. Waymo delivers the car to your door, but Avis keeps the car running and clean and provides the car a lot to stay in while it’s idle. Hertz has followed suit by partnering with Aptiv in Las Vegas to manage its self-driving fleet, and Enterprise is partnering with Voyage to service its own autonomous cars. The self-driving revolution should be pitting ridesharing and rental companies as competitors, but it has instead created a symbiotic relationship that might allow both to thrive. In the future, the two may fuse entirely.But for now, this is a clever move for rental car companies, who foresaw all the struggles of getting ahead by developing their own self-driving technology. “I think we are still a couple of years away from having advanced self-driving vehicles that rental car companies could use without risking a devastating lawsuit,” explains Tony Arevalo, car insurance agent for Carsurance. “While you are using the services of a ridesharing company, such as Uber, your driver and their insurance are liable for injuries you can suffer. If you used a rented self-driving car, the rental car company and the vehicle's manufacturer would be responsible for anything bad that happens to you.” Rental car companies can’t take that gamble until autonomous vehicles are rigorously tested and vetted as reliable transportation — which is years to come.Rather than blowing millions or billions of dollars on brittle artificial intelligence and fighting policymakers on accident liability and safety regulations, rental car companies have offered to babysit, biding their time and seeing how the battle plays out. Uber and Lyft have a lot to lose if their self-driving cars don’t perform; Hertz, Enterprise, and Avis simply have a few tentative partnerships that could sputter out and die. Is this move too slow? This is a typical complaint of most rental car companies' choices, and possibly their choice will not be enough. But it is safe, and slow and steady wins the race.Also read: Top Rental Car Tips: 20 to Make Your Next Rental the Best Ever
On a cold February evening in 2009, a 25-year-old driver was taking a rental car to his grandmother's funeral when he hit a patch of ice and slid into a snowbank. The covering on the bottom of the car was shredded. The wiper fluid hose was severed. Luckily, the driver had purchased insurance coverage through the rental company. At least, he thought he did. Four days later, the renter received a call from the car rental company that he was being charged $2,500 for repairs. The caller informed him that "the damage was caused by a 'clearance issue' and the insurance I purchased from them was not valid." In shock, the renter bitterly exchanged paperwork and phone calls with the rental company for weeks. So many headaches later, he was informed that the original caller had been transferred from the claims department. This horror story has a happy ending: the claim was closed, the insurance he'd paid for covered the repairs and towing, and the company was sorry. Needless to say, car rentals can sometimes go bad, causing days and weeks of stress, often without warning. So you get off your flight and head to the rental car counter to claim the vehicle you'll be using for the next few days. Usually, within 30 minutes, you roll off the lot in some kind of vehicle. Considering that you've just been handed the keys, and the responsibility for the vehicle by a complete stranger, the whole process is surprisingly quick and easy. Unbeknownst to the unseasoned traveler, however, this "easy" process-from reserving your car online to driving it off the lot-is fraught with potentially costly pitfalls. Rental car companies have found increasingly creative and deceptive ways to take more money from customers' pockets and increase their own profits, in an industry estimated to reach a value of $81.2 billion in the next three years. Fortunately, you don't have to go into your next car rental blind. There are 20 failsafe tips which, if followed, will save you from some of the biggest car rental nightmares, from paying too much to being left holding the bill for an accident: 1. Check out lesser-known brands You know the names. Budget. Enterprise. Hertz. They pay a lot of money to be the first thing you see when you land at your destination or do a Google search for rental cars. And it pays off. These brands are all that would-be car renters think of when they start their rental car search. According to experts, however, you might be better off with a car rental brand you've never heard of. "[D]epending on where you're traveling, locally owned companies could offer lower rates," says IndependentTraveler.com, before cautioning renters, "[B]efore booking, read reviews to be sure their companies are up to the standards of the majors." TravelSense.org recommends that travelers not undertake this task alone: "Ask your ASTA travel agent to help you find the right car rental firm for each trip. Different firms serve different cities throughout the world. A travel agent can save you the time and effort of calling several different companies to find the best rate and car for you. Also, a travel agent may be aware of promotional rates and special programs that may not be advertised to the general public." 2. Check out rental companies' websites Third-party aggregator sites like Expedia or Travelocity are a great way to get an overview of what prices there are out there. But when it comes to searching for real deals, experts recommend that you go directly to car rental companies' websites, which have been known to offer discounts that you can't find on aggregator sites. 3. Google car rental discounts As with so many other purchases, the Internet is overflowing with discount and promo codes to help you save money on your next rental car. "Rental car companies are always offering special discounts for all types of things, from business rentals to AARP members," says Trav at travel tips site Extra Pack of Peanuts. "A simple Google search of '(Your Car Rental Company) discount code' will return a ton of hits. Look through the first few sites and see what type of codes there are. Then, use those codes to get up to 50% off your rental!" 4. Look for bundling options You'll see them on aggregator sites and individual rental car, airline, and hotel company sites-and they can offer some bona fide discounts that you would be wise pay attention to. For instance, search on Travelocity for car rentals in New York City this coming weekend and you see an economy vehicle at Enterprise will cost you $150. A stay at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan for the same time period will cost you $179. But a stay at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan bundled with a rental car will cost only $220, an overall savings of $109. 5. Book for longer than you need Yes, it sounds like a clever ploy by the rental car folks to get us to spend more, but it actually works, using car rental companies' own pricing against them. Ed Perkins at SafeTraveler.com actually confirms this: "Rent a car for a week, pay $289 including tax. Rent a car for four days, pay $333. Rent a car for a week but turn it in three days early, pay $333. You have to keep it at least five days to get the weekly rental rate. Go figure." 6. Avoid car rentals at airports It's so convenient to be able to walk off your flight and step right into your rental car-but that convenience comes at a price. All travel experts agree: to get the best price on a rental car, don't pick it up at the airport. Instead, they suggest picking up from car rental service that is reasonably close to, but not at, the airport. "Many off-airport rental offices provide transportation to and from the airport," says Teri Gault, author of Shop Smart, Save More. "And it can be more convenient than booking at the airport and having to take a rental car shuttle and dealing with huge crowds." 7. Try to avoid overbooking If you use car rental services enough, you're bound to come across this nightmare. You arrive at your destination only to find that the car you responsibly reserved is not on the lot. You don't have a ride but it's not your fault. Your car rental company overbooked. The first thing you should know about this situation is that you can minimize your chances of this happening to you. "[T]ry to avoid arriving at an airport late in the evening in need of a car," advises Perkins. If you do find yourself in this situation, however, there are steps you can take to turn it to your favor. "When a rental company can't accommodate you with a firm reservation, its first move is to offer an 'upgrade' to a more expensive model for an extra fee if the agent thinks he or she can get it, or for 'free' if you're a savvy customer," explains Perkins. The free upgrade will require you to stand your ground in the face of agents who are trained to upsell and are even paid commission based on their ability to upsell you. In the end, if an upgrade isn't available, you may have to wait around the airport or wait for them to call you at your hotel. 8. Reserve an economy car and pick up at peak time If you are willing to try your luck, you can make a lack of inventory work for you. Sophie-Claire Hoeller at Thrillist says that this strategy puts in you the very likely position of being able to get a luxury vehicle at an economy price. "Quite simply, the more likely the agency's out of the cheaper cars everyone's trying to rent, the more likely you are to drive away in a luxury midsize," she claims. Anisha Sekar at Nerdwallet confirms this, explaining: "Rental companies stock far more mid-sized cars than compacts. If they don't have a compact on site they will often give you an automatic upgrade at no additional fee. The caveat to this is that you have to hold your ground and not fall for the upgrade fee early on in the conversation. If you remain steadfast the company will have no choice but grant you a complimentary upgrade." 9. Check their age restrictions Most people are aware that car rentals won't rent to you if you don't meet certain minimum age requirements, but you might not be aware that many companies in some locations also have maximum age requirements. Unfortunately, this information is not usually prominently featured on rental car websites. If you're 70 or older, do your homework on the rental car company you're considering and make sure they'll still rent to you. 10. Prepay for the car Every business would rather get paid now rather than later. Car rental companies are no different in this regard, and they're willing to offer discounts to those customers who will prepay. Michelle Higgins at the New York Times claims that rental car companies are "offering discounts of up to 20 percent to travelers willing to prepay." A quick word of warning here though: these prepayment deals are usually locked in and even nonrefundable. Only get into a prepayment deal if you're sure you're going to go through with it. 11. The agent is not your friend I mentioned how driven rental car counter agents can be to upsell, but the point can't be overstated. And this ulterior motive can put them in direct opposition to your own interest. They want to upgrade you (for a higher price, of course). They want to sell you their insurance (even if you don't need it). They want to talk you into saying 'yes' to every little vaguely named fee, no matter how much it adds up to. Why? Because when you pay more, they get paid more. When dealing with self-interested agents, Sekar recommends, "Determine beforehand what kind of vehicle you are looking to rent. With a clear picture in mind and reservation in hand, you can resist the temptation of adamant upsells at the rental car counter." 12. Don't prepay for gas What better way to save yourself some time when you're racing to get back to the airport, than to prepay now for gas? It makes total sense, right? Wrong. This is just one of a host of fees and tricks that rental car companies use to fatten their profit margins. You pay a high price for gas that the rental car company bought for pennies on the dollar. "It's better to fill up yourself since you can usually find cheaper gas prices at a nearby station anyway," recommends money-saving guru Andrea Woroch. "But don't forget to fill it up because the cost to do so after drop-off can be a total rip-off." 13. Don't purchase additional insurance Offers of insurance are a huge money-maker for car rental companies. What the guy at the counter usually won't tell you when he offers you that insurance is that your personal auto insurance or the credit card you're charging your rental to will cover you just fine. Just for the sake of thoroughness, IndependentTraveler.com suggests, "If in doubt, ask your insurance agent or credit card issuer." Jonathan at AutoSlash echoes this need for caution: "You might already be covered, but check with your insurance carrier, and be aware of the costs you'll be responsible for." 14. Know if you need to pay the additional driver fee Want to add your spouse, sibling, or friend to the list of people who can drive your rental car? If you're looking at several days of this, things can really add up. Just how much depends on state law and your rental car company. In most states, rental car services can, and do, charge whatever fee they want per additional driver. But some states have taken legislative action to protect customers in this regard: In California, all additional drivers are free. In Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Oregon, spouses are free to add as a driver. In New York, car rental services can't charge more than $3 per day for an additional driver. In Nevada, additional drivers cost $10.67 each per day. Obviously, how much you pay for your additional drivers will depend on what state you're visiting. Educated yourself beforehand and avoid additional driver fee shock when you see your final bill. 15. Beware of those international taxes In the U.S., individual states have their own particular taxes on car rentals, but none of them are as daunting as those found internationally. Even with a low initial rental rate, extra taxes might make a car rental not worth your time. According to TravelSense.org, international car rental taxes can add 10-30% to your bill-and that's before the possible Value Added Tax seen in many countries. How do you know if you're going to get hit with high taxes on an international rental? Read your rental agreement thoroughly. 16. Say, "No thanks," to GPS It's unbelievable that car rental services continue to offer this as an added service, in hopes that someone out there has not caught on to the smartphone revolution. If you have a smartphone, pass on this outdated (and overpriced) offering. 17. Make the agent a deal they can't refuse Yes, agents, as mentioned above, are motivated by commissions on getting you to buy extra stuff. But they're also motivated to keep cars moving off their lot. You can use this against them and get a great deal in the process. "If you don't really care what you drive, ask the agent if there are any cars he or she needs to get off the lot," says Hoeller. "Sure, you might end up driving a Geo Tracker (yeah, yeah, we know they don't make them anymore), but $10 a day is still a pretty sweet deal." 18. Check for pre-existing damage before you drive away Yes, your parents probably ran you through this one the first and second and third times you rented a car, but it bears repeating. Car rental services will get sneaky, sometimes even pointing out damage as they survey the vehicle with you, but then conveniently neglecting to record it on their form. Experts recommend that customers take matters into their own hands by snapping photos of the exterior and interior of the car before rolling off the lot and then texting those photos to the agent right after they were taken. This way both sides have the same visual record of what the car looked like, instead of relying on an unreliable slip of paper. Additional note: make sure you walk through the post-drop-off inspection with the agent. Many companies will wait until the customer has run off to catch their flight and then hit them up with charges for damage that may or may not have been the customer's fault. Make sure to read up on roadside assistance tips before your next roadtrip. You never know what can happen on the road, even when driving nicer rental cars. 19. Fill up at the cheapest price possible This one goes along with #12. You've probably been taught that you should never drop off your rental car on less than a full tank. This is true. You never want to leave it up to the rental company because of their tendency to inflate the price of their gas. But, in your own best interest, any quality of gasoline will do. Car rental companies don't spring for the fancy stuff, so why should you? 20. Return your car right on time Returning your vehicle can be a tricky business. If you bring it in too early, it might mess up the price you pay. For example, if the timing of your return will make the difference between a daily rate or a weekly rate, it could significantly increase your final bill. But if you bring it in late, you might also end being charged more, this time in late fees or even a full extra day's worth. Sarah Schlichter at IndependentTraveler.com cautions, "While some may give a 29-minute grace period, you may be charged late fees - or for a full extra day - if you return the car past that time window." Experts all agree that your best plan when returning your rental is to get as close to your planned return date and time as possible. So how do the top rental car companies stack up to one another, as rated by real customers? Visit our Rental Car Companies page today and find out.
Jason and Anna had just booked a week-long honeymoon trip to the island of Kauai. They looked online for a modest rental car to help them get around the small island, and were able to find one at a rate of under $30/day. When they got off the plane and went to the rental car kiosk, however, they were told they needed to purchase additional insurance, were informed they needed to pay an exorbitant state tax on the car, and after their week on the beach, were charge extra for marks on the hubcaps that may or may not have already been there. By the end of their trip, Jason and Anna had spend nearly $1,000 after five days of renting a 2010 Ford Focus. Does this story sound familiar? It's surprisingly common. Whether through ignorance on the part of the renters, deviousness on the part of the rental agency, or both, it can be very easy to overpay on your rental car. If you're new to the rental industry, or have been burned in the past, here are a few tips to consider as you approach your next rental car experience. Check with Your Insurance or Credit Card Provider Let's say that you are about to close the deal on your rental car, when either the rental car employee or an online prompt asks if you would like to pay a few dollars extra to insure the car. Rental car insurance can cover the costs of damages to the car, medical expenses associated with an accident, third-party claims, and even protection against under-insured or uninsured motorists. And for just a few dollars a day, you'd almost be dumb not to sign up for it. One common mistake that rental car companies can often take advantage of is over-insuring your rental car. If your currently car insurer or credit card company provides a rental car insurance plan, purchasing insurance directly from the rental car company is often not necessary, and can often duplicate your existing insurance coverage. Rental car employees are aware of this, and are counting on you to be ignorant of it. According to one source, some rental car employees "operate on a commission basis," needing to make a certain amount of up-sales or risk termination. The topic of insurance is tricky enough as it is, and even if your current insurer or credit card provider offers some kind of rental car plan, there are number of questions you'll need to ask: What insurance coverage is required by the state I'm driving in? If you're planning to drive your rental car somewhere within the United States, it's important to understand that each state has set unique insurance requirements. For example, if you're booking a rental car in California, you only need to worry about auto liability insurance; whereas in Connecticut, you'll also need to have underinsured and uninsured motorist protection in place. Consequently, it's a very good idea to research the minimum insurance requirements of the state in which you're picking up the car. It just might save you from purchasing unnecessary insurance coverage. Does my existing car insurance cover car rentals for business trips? It's often the case that your personal car insurance provider will not cover your rental car if you are on a business trip; however, according to Consumer Reports, there is a chance that your employer's insurance may cover your rental car. Be sure to check with both your personal insurer as well as your employer before booking your trip. What coverage does my credit card company provide? If you use a credit card to pay for your rental car, chances are your credit card provider will offer some type of rental car benefit you can use at your discretion; however, it's very important to identify just how extensive that coverage is. Most of the time, your credit card will only cover collision and any other damage directly to the car - it may not cover medical costs from injuries sustained in a rental car accident, third-party claims such as property damage, or coverage against underinsured or uninsured motorists. Before you even decide what kind of car you want to drive for the week, contact your credit card provider and figure out what holes are in your coverage. Coverage from your credit card company can change frequently, so this might be something to do each time you book a rental car. Primary? Secondary? Speaking of credit cards, you might be surprised to find that the insurance provided by your credit card will most likely be considered a "secondary" insurance, meaning it will only cover insurance fees and charges that your "primary" insurance does not. If this is the case, you will need to make sure you have primary insurance coverage - either from your personal insurer or the rental car company - in place to act as your primary coverage. Read the Fine Print Admittedly, taking the time to read the fine print of your rental agreement is neither exciting nor quick, especially if you are renting your car at a busy airport and are anxious to get to your destination. However, rental car agents can take advantage of your urgency to get through the paperwork by including unnecessary or unwanted add-ons to your rental agreement without your knowledge. And while you may have agreed to pay a certain rate when you first booked your rental, certain events - the length of your rental, whether you're late for your scheduled pickup time, or if your flight was delayed - may trigger a rate change at the time of pickup. While these rate changes are often unavoidable, it's still important to be aware of them. Terms to Look For Once you sign the rental agreement, it becomes a binding contract, and very difficult to dispute later on. So before you write your name on the dotted line, here are a few important terms to look for that might raise some red flags: Even if you have decided to decline the rental company's insurance in favor of your own insurance, you should still scan the rental agreement for terms like collision damage waiver, supplemental liability protection, personal accident insurance, and personal effects coverage. These are all optional insurance coverages the rental company will try to offer you, and in most locations, rental companies cannot refuse to rent the car to you if you decline these coverage options. It's also important to note the return time identified on your rental agreement, along with any penalties you might be forced to pay if you do not make that return time. Some rental car companies will charge additional fees if you return the car too early or too late; some even define "late" as "within an hour of the return time." Meanwhile, other companies offer what's called a grace period on your return time, which gives you some wiggle room in terms of exactly when you need to drop off your car. You should also pay attention to any additional state or sales taxes that are tacked onto your rental agreement. In some cases, the amount you pay in taxes can almost double your total rental fees. These are fees you probably won't be able to avoid, but they're also not something your rental agent will necessarily inform you about either, so it's good to be aware of them long beforehand. Document Everything One common scam reported by several rental car customers is being charged for damage to the car that either 1) you did not cause 2) is more wear and tear than damage, or 3) simply does not exist. Some rental car companies will charge hundreds, even thousands of dollars for scrapes, nicks, and dings that could be easily repaired or brushed clean by an auto shop for a fraction of the price. Several investigative reports have revealed that certain rental companies who own their own repair shops don't even repair the damage they charge their customers for, charging the next unsuspecting customer for the same damage. Thankfully, you can protect yourself against this scam in a couple of ways. And while they might require you to approach your rental car as though it were a crime scene, these simple methods can save you lots of money once your rental experience has concluded. Make sure to consider a settlement for any injury received in a car crash. Many websites offer injury settlement calculators to estimate the amount you could acquire. Photos and Videos One common but effective tool in avoiding damage fraud is your camera or smartphone. Before you sign the rental agreement, ask the agent if there is any damage already on the car that you should be aware of. Once you sign, immediately inspect the car, photographing existing dings or scratches, and even videoing both the interior and exterior of the car before you drive it off the lot. This sort of documentation can serve as evidence later should the rental company attempt to charge you for damage to the car. When documenting the condition of your rental car, you can't be too careful. Even a slight crack on one of your plastic wheel covers could result in a fee for you. Written Statements Another way to protect yourself is to obtain written statements from your rental agent both before and after your rental experience. One common complaint registered by rental customers takes place when they turn their car back in, are told by the agent that the car is "good to go," only to find later that they have been charged for additional damages later on. Obtaining some form of documentation stating that the agent has approved the condition of the returned car can help you dispute fraudulent claims. Don't Be Silent Let's say you do everything right. You've made certain you're not paying for anything you don't want, you have photos, videos, and written statements corroborating your story, and you still get over-charged. Several customers are either too humiliated or embarrassed to say anything about it. Foreigners, the elderly, or customers new to the rental car experience are often the target of rental car scams because they either assume the additional costs are business as usual, or they don't know how to voice their concerns. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can be vocal about your rental car experience: The Better Business Bureau Several of the top rental car companies are registered with the Better Business Bureau, an independent organization that allows customers to file official complains against companies while also providing those companies an opportunity to respond to those complaints. The BBB gives each company in its database a score, which can be affected negatively if a company has a lot of complaints registered against it. The Federal Trade Commission The FTC is a government organization dedicated to holding businesses accountable for unethical practices. It's surprisingly easy to file a complaint with the FTC, and the organization has an entire section dedicated to auto rental scams. Brush Up before You Buckle Up Finally, it's important to get to know the rental car company before you book your car. Not all rental car companies are created equal, and many companies have actually developed a good reputation for honest agents and ethical practices. It's important for you to know the difference, which is why we at BestCompany have reviewed some of the top rental car companies in the industry. Using our expert reviews, you can determine which companies carry hidden fees, which pay their agents on commission, and which have received complaints. This way, you'll be able to choose the best rental car company for your budget and your needs.