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You need to compare car rentals and their rates before you head off for vacation this summer. There are always new offers to replace expiring deals and to make sure you get the best car rental deal for your summer vacation you need to run a comparison.

One of the best ways to compare car rentals is through . They have an easy rental rate search function that allows you to enter the airport or city or even address where you want to pick up a rental car. Then you enter the date and time that you want to pick up your rental and the return time.

Next you will be given the option to select whether you want the program to search a list of preferred car rental agencies, or whether you want to select specific agencies. The one thing you want to be aware of, there are often multiple places where you can pick up your selected rental car besides the typical airport pick up.

Often the prices are considerably lower by picking up your rental car in town rather than at the airport. Not only that, but there will often be a wider choice of car rental agencies from which to rent. This may not always be the case, but when you compare car rentals through their system allows you much latitude in how you can compare auto rental rates and options.

I did a quick search of car rental rates in my area and was amazed at the vast difference in prices; picking up the car at the airport for a one-week rental. The results: 5 car rental agencies. The lowest priced, economy car was a total price of $230. The highest priced economy car was a total price of $276; a $46 difference. The price for a standard or midsize SUV was considerably higher, ranging from $464 to $687 for a week’s rental.

Then I ran a comparison for picking up a rental car in town rather than at the airport. The weekly rate for an economy car ranged from $154 to $270, which is definitely lower than the rental rate when the same type of car is picked up at the airport.

However, there is a big caution that you need to be aware of; the quoted weekly rate is often much lower than the total price. Each car rental agency has their own pricing structure, and while the lowest weekly rate might be $154, the total price was $255; $100 more! However, there was a weekly rate from another agency that was $160 and yet the total price was $185; big, BIG difference!

When it comes to renting a car it can definitely be worth your time to compare car rentals. So if you’re flying to visit friends, yet want the freedom that you get by driving a rental car, have your friends pick you up at the airport and then arrange to pick up a rental car from a non-airport location. It can definitely save you money in the long run.

NOTE: Check with your credit card company. Some will pick up the car rental insurance at no cost to you.

ALERT: Renting a hybrid can be more costly.

Learn more about how to compare car rentals

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