Contest! Win a 5 Day Rental from National (closed)

You guys know I love contests…. any time I can get something for my readers I go for it!! So here is one from our friends at National Car Rental. I am giving away a five-day rental from National. Enter by writing a comment to this post about the following: What is your best tip for a business traveler renting a car for the first time? A winner will be chosen by a random drawing on Wednesday, May 18. So easy!!! Only one entry per person.

My own favorite tip? Besides the obvious (make sure you’re in the right car!!), if your employer has a rental company that they require you to use, sign up for the club. Not all of them give you points, but the time saved when you can bypass the counter is a huge bonus. Plus they will often upgrade you for free.


  1. I would suggest being familiar with the insurance requirements of your company. Do you accept the rental insurance? Do you decline? Do you accept some? Many times companies will have you decline the insurance because they have a policy that covers employees – however, it pays to be sure! 🙂

  2. This goes for any rental situation, not just business, but walk around the car before driving it off the lot. Make sure any damage (scratches, small dents and dings, etc.) are noted on the rental agreement so they don’t hold you and your company responsible. It’s tempting to just hop in and go, but these extra few minutes can save you a headache.

  3. Ask, “Hey if you are out of midsizes (that I booked), you can give me that CTS.”

  4. Have a conversation with the rental agent about the terrain and traffic in the city. Take in account the route to the location of your business and any leisure trips you might take! I say this from personal experience on a trip to Salt Lake City. The suggestion of getting a all-wheel drive car instead of a economy car or a gas guzzling SUV was a life saver when driving up the mountainside and it city traffic.

  5. Don’t be afraid to get a GPS if you’re not familiar with the area … better yet bring your own. Don’t rely on your BlackBerry / iPhone (you shouldn’t drive with it anyway!).

  6. As u drive out, scope the area for a gas station to fill up on your return

  7. know your company policy for gas and mileage reimbursement! sometimes they won’t reimburse if you fill up at the pump yourself, but will pay for charges directly on the rental car bill.

  8. I think my two most important tips are to definitely check out the car to make sure any preexisting damage is noted before you leave. Also – on your way out of the aiport make sure you look for a gas station closeby to refill on your way back… will save you lots of $$.

  9. Make sure to call the day before to make sure the car is ready when your flight arrives. Also, this is a no brainer, rent a car with an office at the airport!

  10. As mentioned earlier, check for damages before you check-out. Sign-up for the rental car club – the best programs are National, Hertz, and Avis, but they’re usually the most expensive on average. Don’t fret – using discounts (e.g. if your company has a discounted contract with that rental car company) usually puts the price within an acceptable range.

  11. My best tip for a first time renter, is simply to take a look and know what side of the car the gas tank is on. When I forget to check, it can be frustrating having to reallign the car at the pump.

  12. Know your company’s coverage policies in case of an accident. I’ve heard of one too many stories of how difficult the process is to get it straight.

  13. many have already been said but another one might be, you may not always want the “upgrade.” I got upgraded to an SUV once and was excited until; 1. it took more gas and 2. since it was bigger it was harder to get around, ESPECIALLY in unfamiliar areas. When you are around unfamiliar territory it is much easier in smaller car, I wish I would have kept my compact, lesson learned.

  14. What is your best tip for a business traveler renting a car for the first time?

    Sign up for the Emerald Club, and take any car you’d like from the Emerald Aisle. You’ll feel great as you drive off the lot in a very nice car.

  15. Locate the nearest gas station to where you are returning, BEFORE you are rushing to catch your 6 AM flight.
    Better yet: Stay near the airport and turn the car in the night before!

  16. Make sure that you know how to work the wipers, the lights, the defroster, and how to get the keys out of the ignition before you leave the lot, so that you can look in the owner’s manual or ask for help while you are not in traffic. One time the car had been started for me, and when I arrived at my destination it took me over 15 minutes to figure out how to get the keys out of the ignition.

  17. Your tip was my tip. ut, I’ll add another. Always take a good look at the car before you drive off the lot You don’t want to be responsible for damage you didn’t cause. Better yet, take a few pix with your phone!

  18. It is a combination of car and hotel. I find that if I have an ultra early flight in the morning following a multi day trip, I try to find a hotel near the airport. That way I can drop off the care the night before when the desk is still staffed and not have to get up an extra hour or so early for car drop off, to catch the 6 am flight.

  19. I dunno about the best tip for a “business traveller” but for personal use, it’s likely that if you rent using your platinum credit card the liability will be covered by your credit card company – making it unnecessary to purchase that expensive option from the car rental agency.

  20. Make sure you know what the operating hours are of the agency you are renting from. If returning a car in the early morning hours, the drop off location may be a nearby park & ride lot that could be hard to find if you do not plan ahead!

  21. Similar to your “make sure you’re in the right car,” I saw someone once insist he had a reservation with Hertz. After he berated the agent for a while, he pulled out his confirmation page to find out that he rented with Thrifty.

  22. The most important thing for a 1st time renter to remember is that this is not *your* car. Before you leave the rental lot, take the time to adjust the seat, check your mirrors, scan for a good radio station, set your GPS (if purchased), and in general familiarize yourself with the car’s operation.

    The last thing you need while trying to navigate out of an unfamiliar airport is to be distracted fiddling with your car!

  23. Get your rental car first thing during the day, ensure that the service provider is just starting up, mainly because at this time the majority of the budget car rentals haven’t been returned yet, and you can receive an upgrade!

  24. On the subject of insurance coverage, look at your own car insurance if it will handle rental cars. While car rental insurance is not much, it’s not necessary to spend an excess if you’re already covered.

  25. Put all of the rental emergency info, plate number, etc. in your phone. If the car is stolen it does no good to have all of that info in the car.

  26. Rent from a place that has a decent rewards program and quick check in – check out service, such as National. Finally, don’t rent from Enterprise!

  27. Use your smartphone to take pictures or video of ANY dents or dings, also make sure to look at the windshield. Avis once tried to bill me for a windshield ding that I didn’t notice until I had left the parking lot.

  28. Use the Emerald Aisle. It makes renting so much more quick and it’s sort of a bonus to get to the airport and scope out the selection and see what you’re driving for the week. It’s often a topic of conversation when travelers return to the office.

    I’ve seen people get giddy before they get off the shuttle and run to pick a car. That’s sort of fun to watch.

  29. Plan to spend more time than you would think is necessary to go through the rental car process.

  30. If renting for the very first time, go to their website and familiarize yourself with the company and their program.

  31. If paying with a corporate credit card, chances are you aren’t going to need the insurance – best to check company travel policies and/or with HR to be sure . . .

  32. Make sure to double check that the rental car company is on airport property. I realize that nowadays a lot if them have a central location, but for those that don’t it could cost you extra time that you have.

  33. Know that using a debit card can sometimes be an obstacle. Better to use a credit card for car rentals!

  34. Calling to reserve a car is far superior to ordering online. I have been burned twice after ordering a rental car via the generic website. Many of the dealers are independent and are still lagging in communication between what inventory indicates and what is actually available (i.e. one car came back with damage, so cannot go out). Don’t get caught like I did with a 8 am reservation, a 9am appointment, and no car.

  35. When talking to the rental agents be kind confident and courteous. Understand they have a job which may be stressful and largely unrewarding. Being the “Sunshine” in their day just may get you a great upgrade at no cost without even asking.

  36. do NOT let the car guy demonstrate your convertible top rolling down if your husband has his travel guitar resting upright in the back seat.

  37. Be nice to the agent and ask for his recommendation + don’t ad any add-ons. I have saved a lot of money that way.

  38. Be wary of gas stations that don’t prominently display their prices. I’ve seen some very high prices near airports that were “unadvertised”.

  39. I’ve found that it’s best to go for the most affordable car available. Half of the time, the subcompacts are all rented out so they end up upgrading you to a higher level for free.

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