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Travel Tip – Navigating Rental Car Companies

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Regional locations, national companies, and a neverending list of fees … renting a car can be as confusing as airline travel.

Here are a few resources to help make the process easier. One site, called RentalCarMagic.com, has an interesting model; you submit your request and their team searches out the best price among listed rates and special deals. When I tested it out, it worked. The best rate I had found was $400, but through a particular deal at Alamo, these guys came back with a quote of $237, including taxes and fees.

Now, that service comes at a cost … $40 in this case. And that fee varies by how much you save. Now, rental-car companies are just as notorious as airlines for nickel and diming. The site TruPrice.net calculates all those fees and extra costs. Once you click all the features that apply to you, TruPrice searches through nine car-rental companies at 50 airports, and generates side-by-side comparisons.

And last, but not least, Priceline is still in the rental-car game. Its new “Name Your Own Price” app allows users to negotiate the price and book a rental up to 30 minutes before picking up the car. Now that’s what I call a last-minute deal.

For more tips on saving for your next trip, visit our Budget Travel section.

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