Ah, car travel! There is nothing like the freedom of driving your own car, and if it can't be your own car, it can be your own rental car. With the rates some companies charge, however, sometime it seems like it would make the trip cheaper to go somewhere, buty a car, then sell it before you come home. Of course, that's not really a viable option to most travelers.
There are, however, a number of options available to car renters that can provide discounts on car rentals just about anywhere you go. The first thing to do is not rent more car than you need. Sure, it's tempting to upgrade to the 4WD vehicle or the sweet minivan. However, if you are not going to need those options, don't get them. If you have 2-4 people traveling together, rent an economy class vehicle. With any luck, your rental agency will upgrade you to the next bigger class for free. This can happen because they are out of economy class vehicles, or you are a frequent renter and you ask them for it. It never hurts to ask about free upgrades or specials when you are picking up your car, as that can help you get the best discount car rental
Another thing you can, in fact you MUST do, is do your research. All the big companies have websites where you can enter your location and the dates of travel and you will be given a quote and an opportunity to reserve online. Check those, but don't overlook the big travel portals like Travelocity, Orbitz, or Priceline. There, you can see multiple discount car rental companies listed side by side with their car options and pricing.
Do you have a credit card? Of course you do. Many credit card bills will come with car rental coupons… especially if it's a card you pay an annual fee for. These coupons are generally not overly restrictive, and can provide significant savings.
Check places like Craigslist or eBay. This generally works better for things like time-share rentals or other rental property, but sometimes people will post their car rental discount deals and you can pick them up for less than market value. All I'm saying to do is check… what's the worst that could happen? You don't find a car rental discount?
If you have flexibility in your schedule, see if there are discounts for staying an extra weekend or by dropping the car off at a different location. This should be done by asking the discount car rental company when you are doing your initial research.
As you can see, by taking the time to do some thorough research and looking around, you can often find a number of options to get a discount on your next rental car. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Matt Ream is the travel content editor for Global Cars for Hire. He is an expert at finding discount car rental opportunities around the world.