Renting a car in Los Angeles is almost a necessity if you want to get a real look at the city and are planning on going anywhere other than from your hotel to Disneyland and back.
Luckily for you, there are plenty of rental car agencies all over the city and, most importantly, in each and every airport that you might fly into. As a general rule, car rentals are all basically the same and whether you reserve a car with Alamo, Hertz, or Enterprise won’t really impact your vacation a whole lot. Hertz does give you a few more extras in terms of service and sweet smelling air-fresheners, but you pay for those frills and you’ll often find a better deal at Budget or Avis.
When in doubt, reserve a smaller car. If you reserve a Geo Metro and all they have in the parking lot is a Mustang, chances are you’ll get the muscle car at the Metro rate. At most rental agencies, reserving at the smaller car rate establishes a price level you were promised and negotiations begin from there. You’ll still have to pay for gas for the larger car, so use that as a bargaining tool if the words, “Does that sound OK to you?” come out of your rental agent’s mouth. That means they need your approval for the price and, unless there is a long line of customers waiting for a car, you’ve got room to drive the price down.
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Several car companies are wrapping up their economy cars in “Green” car packages that can make you feel as eco-friendly as a hippie living barefoot in a biodiesel bus. These “green” packages are basically just a repackaging of a small, fuel-efficient or hybrid car and are available from any of the car rental companies, not just the ones who advertise their environmentally friendly policies. The real eco-friendly car rental option is a bus.
Best of the Rest
SuperCheap is as good a deal as the name sounds and the company has multi-lingual rental agents and claims to understand the specific needs of a foreign visitor from their car rental company. There is also no increase in the price if you’re not yet 25, although they won’t rent to you if under 21.