Help! Renting a car for the 1st time!

  1. Hey all! I know a bunch of you travel for vacation and business, so I'm hoping someone can help.

    I'm going to Atlanta on Thursday with the family to visit my old alma mater, and I've been put in charge of renting the car for some reason. I only turned 25 two months ago, so I've never had the opportunity to rent a car so I'm at a loss.

    Does anyone have any advice on which company is the best to rent from? Is there anything I need to look out for? Any company to avoid?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. It is pretty straightforward. I have rented from ATL a few times. You are fine with any of the companies that come up as "in terminal" when you do an Orbitz search. Only thing to take into consideration is your personal auto insurance and the type of insurance coverage your credit card has so you can determine if you want to waive some insurance options. I would do it ASAP as the prices will likely go up as you get closer to the date.
  3. I used to work for Enterprise rent a car as an accountant so I don't know that much about the rental side but I know they do have a pretty good rate. If you do end up renting from them, they will probably ask you if you want damage waiver and their insurance...etc. Just don't get the waiver and insurance from them since all they are trying to do is sell them for their own profit. You can also call them in and ask them what the rate is. They vary depending on the size of car you want to rent. Hope this helps.
  4. I think Hertz and Avis have the best service (regular pickup/dropoff at the airports, easy access to cars, clean vehicles). Go to or to compare prices. Sometimes they'll have specials and the bigger or more prestigious the car, the more you'll pay. Be prepared that they won't have the exact model you reserve, and if not, request a complimentary upgrade (sometimes you'll get one, depending on their current inventory of vehicles). Make sure the car has no visible dents or scratches before you leave the lot, and that you know how to work the lights/wipers/turn signals/radio and that everything is in working order. Know what your current car insurance covers regarding rental cars...usually you don't need the extra insurance they try to sell you.
  5. I second using Hertz or Avis. The both will have terminal pick ups. Oh, and your insurance you have on your car will carry over to the rental car. The additional insurance they try to sell you is so the deductible can be waived if there is an accident. It's usually fairly pricey, compared to the amount of coverage you get.
  6. Wow! Thanks for the speedy replies! I totally would have purchased the most amount of insurance they offered because I wouldn't have thought my own insurance policy covers it!

    Thanks so much for the great advice. I'm going to check them out on Expedia right now!
  7. One more thing -- "in terminal" at ATL means that the counters are near the baggage claim so you do your check in, etc. there "in terminal" but then you go outside to catch the van to the lot where the cars are actually located. I just used Enterprise at ATL a couple months ago and they were fine.

    I would probably also skip getting the cheapest level car (economy, I think).
  8. I always use You can select a terminal pickup and get everything done right at the airport and then drop it off when you fly out.
    I have used all the major companies and don't really have complaints about any of them.
    I waive their insurance (it's so expensive) and usually call my car insurance company and make sure I'm covered.
    Make sure you carefully walk around the car before leaving the lot and look for damage and report ANYTHING you matter how insignificant it seems.
    Finally....try not to get any tickets (parking or otherwise) while driving their cars...its a pain in the butt :smile:

    Oh yea...last thing...make sure your credit card has 'room' on it as they usually run it and put a deposit (around $200) on it. Last time I rented they didn't want to take my debit card because of that reason.
  9. I have used enterprise, Hertz and Avis, and had good service with all of them. If you or a member of your family has AAA, you can get a discount from Hertz or Avis, too.
  10. Also go to for great online promotional codes to enter to pre-reserve your rental car. I've found that if you pre-reserve (even without a promotional coupon code), you frequently save $100/week off your rental car. With a coupon code, you can get an additional $50/week off.
  11. I would call rather than book online, but check out the deals on-line and ask them if they can do any better. I always book cars for my dad so I'm an old hand at this! 9 times out of 10 they will offer you a better deal than what they offered on the internet just because you ask!
  12. Oh shoot! I booked already. Maybe I'll try calling another one tomorrow and see if they can do better!