Choosing a rental car can be an important part of...

Choosing a rental car can be an important part of family vacation planning. Credit: Dreamstime

Choosing a rental car can be an important part of family vacation planning. Here are five ideas to consider:

1. EXPLORE NEW OPTIONS. You may be comfortable renting from the same name-brand agencies, but you might get a better deal using an outfit like Sixt, a German company that entered the U.S. market in 2011 and has expanded to 20 airport locations. It has earned a strong reputation in Europe for good customer service, fair pricing and top-notch cars that exit the fleet after six months. Another choice: Download the Silvercar app for access to Audi A4s that come with in-car Wi-Fi, SiriusXM radio, roadside safety assistance and Bluetooth at no extra charge.


2. COUPONS AND DISCOUNTS. Before making your final auto selection, search the Internet for available discounts and coupon codes. Numerous sites will provide options for upgrades and discounts that might not be promoted on the rental agency’s site. Consider a less expensive weekly rate even if your travel plans do not extend seven days.


3. USE YOUR OWN RESOURCES. Are you a Costco or AAA member? Existing memberships, credit-card perks and miles or discounts from frequent flier and hotel loyalty programs can provide savings for your car rental. Check with your credit card company and insurance broker about coverage.


4. BRING YOUR OWN. If your child needs a car booster seat, bring your own to avoid extra charges. Don’t forget to bring phone chargers and directional apps if you are accustomed to using navigation software in your own vehicle.

5. CONSIDER AUTOSLASH. This site continuously tracks rates and searches for coupon codes and puts them to work lowering your rental car rate right up until the time of your car pickup. Use the site to monitor a deal you’ve booked elsewhere. You can also book directly through Autoslash, although the inventory of participating companies is more limited than other comparison booking sites.


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