Rental Car Dos & Don’ts

AAA offers advice on booking a car this holiday season and ways to save!

Flight booked? Check! … Hotel reserved? Check! … Car rented? … Still haven’t done that?

Don’t wait too long!

As you’re planning your holiday travel, AAA recommends booking your car rental well in advance to lock in a good rate and give you peace of mind. Here are some Dos and Don’ts to make the process a smooth one.

Do book early.

Waiting until the last minute is risky. Rates are often more expensive the closer you get to your desired rental date. Added bonus: when you reserve with plenty of time, you may be offered a pre-pay option that includes a discount. Cancellation fees may apply, though, so check with the company first.

Do share your flight details.

If you’re flying into the city where you’re renting a car, include your flight number, airline, and ETA when booking the vehicle. That protects your rental reservation if your flight is delayed.

Do consider non-airport locations.

During the busy holiday season, airport car rental locations may be crowded and low on inventory. You may have better luck renting from a neighborhood branch. And check with the rental company: it may even offer a free pickup service.

Don’t just drive off.

When you pick up the rental car, take a moment to check out the vehicle. Familiarize yourself with the controls. Plug in your charger. Connect to Bluetooth. Activate maps/navigation. Get settled now, so you’re not distracted later.

Don’t go it alone.

AAA travel agents can help members – for free! – book their rental vehicles plus find discounts and bundled travel options. AAA members can also receive up to 20% off base rates at Hertz car rental locations. Other Hertz benefits exclusively for AAA members include one free child safety seat and waiving additional driver fees *and* young renter fees for drivers ages 20-24.

Don’t forget to plan ahead!

Whether it’s mapping out gas stations or electric vehicle charging stations along your route and at your destination, or planning which attractions and activities you want to visit when you arrive, AAA offers TripTik and Trip Canvas, two free travel tools to keep you organized and prepared.

Rental Car Top Thanksgiving Destinations, 2022 vs. 2021

2022 Rank 2022 Domestic Destination Average Booking* Difference YOY 2021 Rank 2021 Domestic Destination Average Booking*
1 ORLANDO, FL $595 9% 1 ANAHEIM, CA $450
2 ANAHEIM, CA $496 10% 2 ORLANDO, FL $544
3 ATLANTA, GA $537 10% 3 PHOENIX, AZ $448
4 PHOENIX, AZ $587 31% 4 BOSTON, MA $378
5  +CHICAGO, IL $495 7% 5 NEW YORK, NY $575
6 DENVER, CO $536 33% 6 TAMPA, FL $541
7  +MAUI, HI $675 -12% 7 DENVER, CO $402
8 LAS VEGAS, NV $455 16% 8 LAS VEGAS, NV $391
9 NEW YORK, NY $534 -7% 9 ATLANTA, GA $487
10 TAMPA, FL $525 -3% 10 SAN DIEGO, CA $433

* Reflects the average price for bookings made during Thanksgiving week (Sunday through Friday for 2021 and 2022) and not daily rates. The average number of rental days is not available.

+ Not in the Top Ten in 2021

YOY – Year-Over-Year