When hitting the road, cost of travel is, unfortunately, one of the most important factors in our trip. Between the increased fees for airline baggage to the ever rising hotel rates, traveling isn't always something that can be done for a few bucks, so of course we always look for a good deal whenever we can, even when renting a car for a vacation.
However, just picking the cheapest price in anything is usually not the best way to shop around. The old adage of 'you get what you pay for' is certainly true, and that holds out even for car rental services. So how do you go about evaluating a potential car rental service? It's pretty well known that just because a car rental service is a national chain does not guarantee good customer service. But when you are already traveling to an unfamiliar city, the last thing you want to do is end up at your destination and stuck with a bad rental or a shady service.
Fortunately, there are reliable ways to research car rental services and find the ones with stellar reputations, as well as the ones to avoid. The most common problems are 'bait-and-switch' tactics, where you arrive expecting one car and are presented with a much more inferior model. Other problems can be as bad as showing up and having no car at all. Sometimes a car rental service can just have an ongoing problem with details, from the car not being properly cleaned, or dinged up. Some cars may have mechanical problems. Many travelers have run into long waits for their car, even though they arrived with a reservation and not during off hours. None of these should be acceptable business practices for any car rental service.
One of the best ways to weed out the problematic services is to use a tool such as CarRentalExpress.com, which not only shows listing of available vehicles from a multitude of vendors, but also displays customer ratings right alongside the vendor's name. These aren't some arbitrary ratings put in by a site or by the service themselves, these ratings are provided by the hundreds of other travelers who have used the car service before. With categories to be rated such as 'promptness of service', 'vehicle satisfaction' and 'rate quote honored', any servicer who wasn't running the best customer service would soon be very obvious. Of course, this also means that the best car rental services are also plain to see, and of course those are the places you'd like to rent from.
Using these ratings, you can quickly search the area or destination you are looking for, find the make of vehicle you would like, and then review the ratings of the vendors who offer the best deals. This way you get the best of both worlds; you can price shop among services while also making sure you are dealing with a reputable company, who has many happy customers. It's certainly better than blindly calling around in your target destination in hopes of finding a good deal, or surfing around online looking for a service with competitive pricing without much idea of how reputable the service might be.
It also should be noted that CarRentalExpress.com doesn't just offer the national chains, but smaller vendors in a multitude of cities and airports. This is a secret of getting great rates while not compromising on service. Even if you aren't personally familiar with a particular service, the ratings of the hundreds of other travelers tells you everything you will need to know. This allows you to get on to the real point of your trip, which is to enjoy yourself!