vacation tip: rent a car

our-family-washington-state

The smartest thing we did on our recent trip to Washington State (besides bringing the ERGO): renting a car.

We picked up our car from Dollar Rent A Car in Seattle and the service was super fast.

In less than 30 minutes, we had the keys to a 2010 Subaru Forrester (a Mid-Size Specialty car). The crossover was in good quality and ideal for our family of four.

For the rest of our week-long trip, we were able to wander about the city without a hassle. With our car seats installed, a reliable vehicle to count on, and the MotionX-GPS Drive app on my husband's iPhone, we could go anywhere - without inconveniencing others or having to move car seats between vehicles. Plus, it was nice to be able to "get away" as a family whenever we wanted.

Checking the car back in at the end of the week was a piece-of-cake too. We dropped it off and got in the airport shuttle in about 10 minutes. No sweat.

If you're looking to rent a car for an upcoming trip, check out Dollar Rent A Car. When you do, I recommend you check out the "Specials" page. There might be a savings program or discount that is right for you.

YOUR TURN: How often do you rent a car? What do you look for in a car rental company?

dollar rent a carWIN IT! One winner will receive a three-day weekend rental of a mid-size vehicle (Thursday – Monday pick-up/return) from Dollar Rent A Car. To enter, leave any topic-related comment on this post prior to Tuesday, October 13th at 11:59 p.m. (Don’t forget to follow the rules…all generic comments like “Enter me!,” “Love it,” and “Cool stuff!” will be disqualified.).

*UPDATE* The winner is #71 Jennifer G. Congratulations!

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154 comments on “vacation tip: rent a car”

  1. We rent a car maybe once a year. It's practical for travel, plus fun to try out different styles of vehicles! My 5 yr old son still talks about when we rented a PT Cruiser two years ago.

  2. i love renting a car when i go out of town, its great and less taxing on your own vehicle. I like to arrange it all online.

  3. We haven't rented a car since our trip to New Orleans a few years ago. I really look for a reliable company. Nothing worse than getting into a strange city and having them lose your reservation or have the wrong car for you.

  4. I haven't rented a car in many years. I will use this great prize next January when I go to an unconvention in Florida. Thanks for the contest.

  5. I'd love to have a free rental car for a weekend. My family is long overdue for a road trip and there is so much I want to see. I've been wanting to visit Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills for a long time.

  6. We rent a car when we travel by air. It is so much nicer than relying on public transportation or family. Especially wit small one.

  7. Even if you're visiting family it's nice to rent a car just to take the hassle off of them. It is especially useful to rent a car in Europe so you aren't restricted to visit the off the beaten path places.

  8. I haven't rented a car in years but when I did from enterprise it was a beautiful silver Toyota Corolla with a CD player and leather seats. It was wonderful. With all the car problems I have had it would be great to rent a car

  9. We rent a car every year for vacation, usually to San Diego. I look for unlimited mileage and great customer service.

  10. I often rent a car when I drive to my daughter's home (1000 mile round-trip). I don't want to put all those miles on my trusty older car!

  11. We don't own a car, so for certain trips, we must rent a car. We've never rented from Dollar, so I am willing to give them a try.

  12. My family and i try to go on vacation every year. We always drive our own vehicle. Maybe this year my daughters and i will fly down to Florida to see family. Renting a mid-size car would be just great. Thankyou for the advice :)

  13. We rent a car once or twice a year when we go to Las Vegas. I search the prices on the web and pick the lowest. They are all the same otherwise.

  14. I've never rented a car but that's a great idea for road trips. My husband and I love to take road trips all year round. Renting a car would probably save our car from lots of repairs!

  15. We rent a car every year for our yearly family road trip vacation. It saves miles on our regular car, we don't have to worry about paying for repairs if something happens or breaks down and it's just very convenient.

    Thank you for the great giveaway!

  16. We've rented a car two times. One week in Nice, France and 12 days in Tallinn, Estonia. Both times we got a wonderful working car - no problems with that. We're fans of German cars so basically BMW or Audi, nothing else is good enough for my boyfriend, haha :-) I look at price, and then if going on a long trip it's quite important that the company would have some offices along the way in a case something would happen.

  17. On our last trip to Vegas, I wished we had rented a car to see all the things that were just too far to walk to, and too expensive for taxis. I have always been a bit nervous about renting cars in general due to the many horror stories I've heard. However, the time is coming that the convenience will surely win out!

  18. We rent a car a couple times a year for vacation. I look for price first. Then I look for service. I've been in line to rent a car for more than 3 hours on 2 different occassions and will NEVER rent with those companies again!

  19. I rent a car when I go on vacations, roughly twice a year, and I look for a good price with ni hidden fees!

    madamerkf at aol dot com

  20. I rent a car a couple of times a year for vacations. What I look for in a car rental company is what their best deals are online.

  21. We rent a car whenever we travel (unless taking a cruise or going all-inclusive). With great deals available, it's often cheaper to rent a car for the whole trip than to take a cab to and from the airport to the hotel. You can get great deals on priceline's name your price.

  22. We rent a car when we go visit my mom in MN to get around because they don't have a car big enough to hold all of us. We look for value for our money. Thanks for the giveaway!

  23. i WOULD totally love to win!
    I live in WA and know where EXACTLY to get one!! yay!! THanks for the chance!!!

  24. We rent a car when we're in Arizona every year. Last year we drove from Arizona to Salt Lake City, then rented a different car and drove all the way to Kentucky! It was fantastic :)

  25. This would be a great prize for me. When I visit my favorite cousin in Melbourne, FL, I usually fly into Orlando to save money. With this, she would not have to drive the hour trip to get me!

  26. We always rent a car when flying somewhere whether it is by ourselves or with the kids. The freedom is important to us! We generally choose based on lowest price for the size we need.

  27. We rent almost anytime we have to fly somewhere. It is such a time saver, we don't have to wait to be pick up and still have the freedom to go anywhere.

  28. I actually look forward to seeing what kind of car they really give me - almost always they upgrade without asking, so it's a car I probably would never buy on my own.

  29. We rent a car about 4 to 5 times a year because we make about 1-2 trips from Florida to Ohio a year to visit our family's and then we rent when our oldest daughter and family comes here to visit. We have a small suv which only holds 4 - 5 people but with growing teens it has become to small for long trips and hubby doesn't want to chance break downs or miles being put on it, so we rent. We usually rent vans so we can seat more people and have room, I hate having to take 2 cars when wanting to go somewhere with family so we get vans to seat us all.
    I always look for unlimited miles because we seem to drive a lot, on a recent 1st time trip to California we drove from sf to Oregon to Nevada back to sf so renting has become a must for us.
    I usually look for unlimited miles, good price, ease of getting to and from car rental, discounts, type of auto's available and experience we have had with the company from previous rentals. We found in California a company that gave us a 8 day rental for $197.00 which saved us almost $400.00 over all other companies, that's how we get to travel by searching for discounts on everything.

    Thank you so very very much

    camper223[at]live[dot]com

  30. I look for a good value when we rent a car, especially with gas prices up & down. I'd love to rent a Hybrid to check them out. So, a company that offers good rates combined with new models is what I look for. We rent a car about twice a year.

  31. It seems like rental rates for weekends have the same reputation as gas prices for holidays - they always go up! ;)

  32. We only rent a car when we fly out of town and need a car in that city - that does not happen too much- too expensive!

  33. I rent a car a few times a year - usually because one of our cars has broken down. It's always fun to drive a new, fancier car.

  34. We rent a car once a year when on vacation. I look for a car rental where I can get off of the plane, rent and pick up and return the car to the same place. Thanks for the opportunity.

  35. I haven't rented a car in awhile, but I often think I should when I go and visit my sister. It would be so much easier to get a car at airport and drive to her house, it would save her fighting the traffic to airport to pick me up.
    thanks for the chance to win!

  36. I've never had to rent a car actually because we usually vacation in places with good public transit, but we're flying to Seattle the day after Thanksgiving, and I was just thinking that I should look into renting a car! I would love to win this, so that we can hopefully get out of Seattle proper and see some of the surrounding beauty (which I hear is amazing!)

  37. The only time we've rented a car recently was on our trip to Disney last year. It was fine once we got the car, and returning the car was fine, but we had to wait in line over an hour to pick up the car...this was after our long flight with our two small, hungry and tired kids. That was no fun at all. So, I would love to use a car rental company that puts customer service high on it's priority list!

  38. When I used to travel for work I had to rent a car each time. Now when my family travels anywhere by plane we rent a car as well. I often times search online for the best fare, however the last five times we have rented, we have always rented from Dollar. We have had great experiences with them and they always have the best rate as well! They have always been friendly and helpful. One time our flight was delayed and we didn't get in until after 2am. At that point most of the passengers were annoyed and unable to get the cars they had reserved at other vendors because they were closed. Dollar was the only counter open and they managed to find rentals for all of the stranded passengers without giving away cars that those of us had already reserved,

  39. We don't rent a car often but we will now that are cars are getting more miles on them. We always need more room when we travel so we try to get a SUV.

  40. Always looking for a good rental car deal - the prices have sky rocketed since last year. We have sticker shock looking at price quotes for our upcoming vacation.

  41. I am all for renting cars; when I go home for family get-togethers, having everyone there all the time can be overwhelming, and winter weather doesn't help. Being able to escape for a while is invaluable!

  42. I would love to win this. My boyfriend and I have been meaning to visit some friends who live about five hours away. They just had a new baby and we would love to see him before winter gets here. Our car is just too old to make the trip. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  43. I rent a car several times a year, on business trips or sometimes locally. I look for good prices, as well as a company that I trust.

  44. MY CAR IS OLD AND I AM ALWAYS AFRAID TO GO FOR LONG TRIPS, SO HERE IS MY CHANCE, I WOULD LOVE TO WIN, (MY CAR IS A TAURUS WAGON) 1990!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    GENEVIEV E

  45. We never rent a car on vacation, but I would like to. It seems better than putting all those miles on my husband's car. My husband has a G1 smartphone with a GPS app on it, and it's a lifesaver!
    cherriblossom25[at]gmail[dot]com

  46. So far we have not had to rent a car. When we fly up to see family we are able to borrow a car. Now that we have two kids in carseats, it would be hard for someone to pick us all up from the airport now though since our families don't have vans or large SUVs. I suppose that once we have a third child we will probably have to start renting or just driving up to see family.

  47. We rent a car once every 5 years or so. In a rental car, we must have comfortable driver's seating for my 6'4" husband, good gas mileage, and economical rental fees. Pickup service is a great option.

  48. I can use this. When I visit my brother, who lives 4 hours away, I use my car but am always concerned that it may poop out during the ride. I could drive worry free for one of my visits if I am the lucky winner.

  49. I've only rented a car 2 times in my life. The last time was last month for my birthday and I rented from Dollar. I got a Dodge Charger (just what I wanted!) and drove to New Orleans (about 500 miles). It was so nice to have a reliable, clean car to drive. I had a great birthday because of it!

  50. We dont rent cars very often, actually the only times Ive really driven one is if someone ran into my car. If I was looking to rent a car, I would look for ease of rental.
    I'd love to win this because my car is in disrepair right now, too costly to fix. So it would be good to have a car even for a few days!

  51. We have never rented a car yet, but again, we haven't traveled very far either. If we were to rent a car, I would look for ease and frienliness of the company.

  52. We usually rent a car twice per year to visit family. What I look for in a rental company is good customer service and rewards programs.

  53. We LOVE renting cars for long trips!! We've done it quite a few times over the years and it has always worked out so well. We look for price, firstly, and then offered insurance/etc. It's so relieving knowing you're not putting those miles on your own car.

  54. We always rent a car when we go to visit family on the east coast. There are just 2 of us now, we so look for a mid-size car that gets good mileage. I shop around to find the best car rental deal online.

  55. Boy, the last time we rented a car was about 3 years ago when our car was in the shop. As for what we look for, cost and size. With a family of 6, 4 boys (2 plus my husband over 6ft.) we need a car with lots of leg room.

  56. We usually rent a car every year or two. What we look for first of all is the cost, when renting a car it is very important to find out all of the 'secret added costs' that some companies add on when purchasing a rental. Customer service is a close second :)

    laceylovespink @ yahoo dot com

  57. We rent a car about 2x a year. My husband and son are looking at colleges this weekend and happened to rent a car from Dollar(best deal). I have also taken driving vacations on the West Coast where I flew in to S.California and got a one-way rental and flew out of Northern Calif. Saved A ton ofr gas and gave us extra time to sight-see. Hertz usually does one -way rentals.

  58. I definitely prefer to rent a car for long road trips rather than put wear and tear on our everyday vehicles. We typically visit NYC once a year and rent from Dollar!

  59. We usually take one vacation a year that requires a car rental. We have used Dollar before and have been very pleased! Choosing a car rental company usually depends on who has the best prices and offers an AAA discount.

  60. We usually rent a car every 2 years to go to the family reunion. We need a car that had air conditioning, and a mid-size so we can fit at least 4 people comfortably.

  61. I usually rent a car about once a year. I'm always a little nervous driving in new areas as far as the traffic and unknown streets but I love the freedom of exploring that you have when you get a rental when you're on vacation!!

  62. I'm going to be doing a bit of traveling in the spring, so this would be such a huge help. I always look for friendly service.

  63. I enjoy having a rental. It's a good chance to try out a different vehicle, plus you can tailor your request to your specific needs at that given moment.

  64. We always rent a car when flying. It saves on shuttle and taxi fees. And you can also see the sights (especially when you drive 60 miles the wrong way!!!)

  65. We like to rent cars when we do road trips because sometimes it;s just more comfortable than our own car. We get one with more space and then we can travel easier.

  66. Renting a car gives you the chance to travel in a car you may be interesting in buying. Or give you a chance to have a little more room when traveling with family...

  67. Last time I rented a car was to take a convertible to Key West for a long weekend. I would love to drive one all the time!

  68. probably only rent a car once a year but look for great rates for the level of car we need and how convenient pick-up and drop off are.
    tvollowitz at aol dot com

  69. We always rent a car when we fly. We look for the best rates from a rental car company.We have always had good luck when renting from Dollar.
    smchester at gmail dot com

  70. we generally rent a car for all long road trips--it provides good peace of mind that your trip will not be ruined by a break-down, etc.

  71. We rent a car whenever we go on vacation where we don't have family nearby. We look for friendly service and clean and upkept vehicles!

  72. We have occasionally rented a car when we've flown somewhere on a trip. We drive an older vechile at home, so it's always nice to drive a newer vehicle that's nice and clean - at least to start out!

  73. We rent maybe once a year (vacation). I like excellent customer service combined with good pricing and convenient pickup location. Tho you didn't ask: what I do NOT like are those who try to high pressure you into (unnecessary) upgrades!

  74. I don't rent cars too often, but I thoroughly enjoy doing so...it's an added perk to a vacation. We love having a "new" car to try out and enjoy instead of piling into the same old thing day after day. And, when the rental company provides good service, you can't ask for anything more!

  75. We rented a car when I went to my grandmother's 2 years ago. My daughter (6) still spots and comments on the make and model of car we rented till this day.

  76. I just rented a car from Dollar in September for my husbands class reunion. I like to rent a car vs. borrow a car from a family member when we travel. It makes it seem more like a vacation when we are on our own not to mention the liability factor

  77. We rent cars quite often, more often for weekend mini vacations. The kids love to go and pick out the car....

  78. Actually I have never rented a car before... I was told you had to be 26 to do so and I just turned 26 recently! I would love to do so the next time I go away though, its so convenient to have a car on vacation!

  79. As a family, we rent a car once a year for vacation. My husband rents one more frequently when he travels for business, usually once every couple of months. In a car rental company we look for quality, fast service, easy pick-up and drop-off. Thanks!

  80. I have only rented a car a few times on vacation. I look for a safe car and one that will comfortably seat 4. Now that my boys are teenagers and over 6ft tall, I also look for one with plenty of leg room in the back seat.

  81. I have never rented a car. I guess I have not needed to. But if i had the opportunity I would rent one and drive to disney for a weekend.

  82. I have not rented a car in quite a few years. The last time was to drive from illinios to florida. To long of a trip in my opinion.

  83. Haven't needed to rent a car in a few years and have always had a nice experience in doing so. Last year we bought another Forester...I got the 2009 and hubby got my old one...we love them, they are the only vehicle we'll consider from here on out.

  84. We always rent a car when we go on vacations, which is about twice a year. We LOVe Dollar, my husband is a Dollar Express member, which means we bypass the long lines at checkin and it goes FAST! Everything I want in a car rental company Dollar provides me: the BEST rates, nice cars, easy checkin, and a really easy website to navigate. Great contest, this is one I'd love to win!

  85. My husband is very picky about rental cars. He once had me go to every kiosk at the airport. He wants a mid size caror suv. I wouldn't dare come home with a compact car.

  86. I would love to win, my car is broken down right now, I need a new transmission, and I don't have the money for it

  87. We always rent a car if we opt to fly somewhere - Hubby and I both like to be able to make spur of the moment plans, or leave something early if the kids have had enough, or... basically, we're used to having our freedom at home - we like to have it when we're on the road too!

    Oh and the Forrester... I'm car lusting over that one, we're looking to replace my 10 year old Explorer in the next year or so and the Forrester is definitely on my "I want" list!

  88. We rent on vacation if we don't drive to our destination but I've also rented when a vehicle is out of commission for a time or if its not road-trip worthy. I generally look for the best price on the size I need and the proximity to my home for easy pickup/drop off.

  89. We rent a car nearly every time we travel, which is almost every 6 weeks or so. We usually go for the cheapest price and we go for a economy so we save on gas and don't harm the environment quite as much. It seems no matter what company we rent from we have to wait the longest for the shuttle!

  90. We rent a car if we don't have ours with us. Then you can like go do random things or abandon plans you had. Guess I am pretty spur of the moment on vacation. Plus if you ask for an upgrade you can usually get one for free, or at least my husband always gets us a free up grade.

  91. We always rent a car when away on a trip. I really don't like to inconvenience family or friends by having them drive us around or picking up from airports. I also like being able to just get up and go, drive to wherever, whenever, and find new places.

  92. I agree, renting a car makes vacations so much easier. We often try to share/borrow cars from family when we travel but we feel like we are always being a bit of a nuissance. When we travel where so do not have family we are always sure to rent a car with enough room for luggage and all the extra baby items!

  93. Often times my family likes to rent vehicles when going on a road trip to reduce the wear and tear on our own vehicle. Especially if we can get a decent price, then it is more practical. Thanks!

  94. We normally do not rent a car. Usually because Joe's parents rent one or we use one of theirs when we visit family. But as our family is getting bigger and bigger I am more and more tempted to rent one. Especially getting to and from the airports seem to be more of a hassle for his family. We like to come in really late so the kids sleep on the plane. Another reason for not renting a car is expense.

  95. We rented a car, and while it was super handy to have one while on vacation, the actual process of getting the car was not thrilling. I think we waited over an hour to get ours, with our two year old bouncing off the walls and it was late at night, like 10pm. I'm ready to try a different company!

  96. My husband and I have been discussing buying a mini-van because we take a lot of road trips and need the space then. The rest of the time, around town, our little sedan is fine. So, we're thinking of just renting a larger vehicle when we need it. It makes a LOT of sense budget-wise. I really like not having a car payment!

  97. There is no doubt that with children, renting a car is a must for vacationing by plane. The car rental companies have made it super easy for the most part! I guess if you are visiting family and they have a spare car, not spending the extra cash would be preferable! But under many circumstances, renting is a great choice.

  98. I love the anticipation of finding out what car I'll get when I rent. It's as close as I'll ever come to playing the lottery. We have been very happy with Dollar and they're always the first company we check prices at when renting.

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