I've been exploring Florida destinations for several weeks and had just about made up my mind until I started looking at rental car prices in December. They vary slightly depending on the dates, but most airport rates range from $500 to over a thousand for 7 days (and I am not looking at a Rolls Royce !) . I've looked at Tampa, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Orlando. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to look for less expensive rates?
I've been tracking car rentals for a few weeks for a July 4th week in Ft. Myers (77paris, if you're in the neighborhood, stop by). I thought I'd be the only nut going to Fl. in July - wrong! You are correct, they're steep - ouch.
However like randomname wrote; Orbitz has a pretty good spread, where if you want to go off terminal two miles, like Fox or EZ the rates were running $100 or so less than the lowest on terminal (in my case Alamo).
And like IAH wrote, I have seen a decline (still steep, but encouraging) in my Hotwire.com rates for on terminal (Hotwire is currently beating Orbitz for on terminal by about $40 in my scenario).
So, best wishes and stay at it. Don't let the MAN get you down !
Florida will be good, we're starting to get into that "Oh wow it's not 98 degrees, it's only 88" weather. lol
If you have an amex card, try booking it through there. I know they have one of those "best deal ever, ever..ever" searches that arent always the best deal, but who knows. I also know there is a few car dealerships down here that have enterprise rentals there as well, usually cheaper than airports as a previous poster said. .
Sometimes inconvenient, but often off airport rentals will be significantly lower. I've taken hotel shuttles from the airport to a hotel and found a rental car agency either at the hotel or very near. Also, I've checked the USAir site (my carrier of choice) and they offer deals for car rentals. Sometimes these deals are significantly lower than the advertised rates from the car companies.
Lastly, Mrs. Pained and I have been renting vehicles less and using public transport more (light rail, buses, etc.). If our trip is 7 days, we might rent a car for just a day or two and public ride the rest of the time. Good Luck!
Hi, pained. We also like to use public transportation; however, if this trip works out, I will not be back to 100% mobility after my knee replacement and would prefer having our own transportation available. I have not researched off airport sites, but will definitely do that. Thanks for the suggestion.
I have a car rental in FL coming up. When I first reserved, the cost was $900. It went down to $850. I found another for $600. Then $550 and then $500. Then Hertz $400. Then $300 and then all were around $550 -600 from then on. For now I am holding at $300 and don't expect to see any lower as my travel gets closer. I find that persistence and checking frequently had helped at times but car rental costs have just out-priced themselves. I do like painedplatinum and use more and more public transportation when I can. As a result, if I go back to the area, will stay elsewhere where I won't need a car. I am tending to go to places where I won't need a car.
I just looked at some options for Tampa with National for a mid size car. Here goes:
Renting at Tampa airport second week of Dec rate was $372 and with tax $498 for a week.
Renting off airport at the Westin location rate was $180 and with tax $197 for a week.
As Pained said so well....off airport can be significant in savings!
razorbackfan, I ran into a similar situation with an upcoming trip to Denver. I ended up deciding to pick-up off-airport and returning to airport. Doing that along with using Costco Travel (if you are a member) saved me 25% on what Orbitz, Kayak, and individual car rental company websites were quoting me for a pick-up and drop-off at the airport.
RBF...Looks like Hertz has a branch right off airport in Tampa..Renaissance..
I've had good luck with Thrifty (now owned by Hertz) in Florida locations. Last week when I was in Orlando I was able to get a 4 Day Rental for $85 including taxes and fees. I always check rates ahead of time and then check them again a week or two before travel. In most cases rates will drop 1-2 weeks just prior to travel. If you have a Discover Card you may want to book your rental through the shopdiscover.com portal. Some Rental Car Companies like Thrifty will give you 5% back for booking with Discover.
My car rental in RSW that started out at $300 then dropped to $155 is now down to $106, tax title and license. I expect it will come down further within 10 days of the rental date.
Keep checking those rates kids, airfare, hotel and car rentals change constantly as you know.
We have been flying and renting our cars through Spirit - frequently in Florida. When combined, the airfare reduces and the "base" car rental has always seemed fair - great total on-paper cost. Additional charges ARE levied/disclosed by the car rental company but the final amount still has remained less than the best rates for booking separately, so far.
The absolute beauty of the arrangement is we were once re-routed because we had the car rental/vacation package. Spirit cancelled a flight for engine trouble at 4:30am for 9am flight into FLL and we flew out just after 10am to Ft. Myers, at our request. Their customer service reps were wonderfully kind and accommodating - both in the call center and at the airport.
I always check all pricing options and don't know if the same advantages will be true with another carrier. YMMV
I recently rented in HNL and OGG. The rates 6 months out were average, they dropped a tiny bit about a month out, then the week prior dropped significantly. My suggestion and you already know this, just keep searching and you are bound to find something. As the date nears the prices should fall. Good luck.
A little late to the party here, but my sister and I rented a car for a drive up to gainesville, florida (from boca raton) for a weekend to visit some friends. She got a prius from friday-sunday, unlimited mileage, and we paid..$58 total.
This is why you never rent from the rental offices located at the airport. We rented from a car dealership who had an onsite Enterprise.
So well put, and great advice!
It sometimes pays to take a shuttle to the hotel first, then rent an Enterprise car, they deliver to the hotel. In Scottsdale AZ, The Camelback Marriott, has a rental company within the hotel!
little late to the party but I've put 19months in Tampa recently and can tell you how I did it with rentals.
I took a one way rental from the TPA National location and picked the one I thought I'd like for the entire week. I have their exec status so they generally have some nice cars. I then returned it the day later at the National location downtown. It's really not a bad drive and I was staying the night in Tampa anyway. One way rates usually $40-60 and then found weekly rates from there for 1/2 or more off the price of renting the week at the airport directly. I'd just setup the one way rental for the weekly rate and take it back to the airport. I'd also just walk in with the keys and say I'd like to just rerent this car please. Makes it easy on them because they dont have to go find you a car
I did this for about 6months every Sun-M-F. You can also find discounts from AA and other airlines and if you are not already an Emerald club member, sign up and you'll get discounts/coupons through them.