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Daisy Dog
02-28-2012, 11:15 AM
Hi, We are driving to WDW in March as the airline tickets for a family of 5 are crazy high right now! My husband would like to rent a mini van for the whole trip. I have searched for reasonable prices and found the best deals through hotwire. We do not have any experience renting through hotwire. We are concerned that we have to pay in full up front and cannot change or cancel our reservation. Also, they said we are guaranteed a mini van but not the type of mini van (make and model). Has anyone had good luck with hotwire car rentals. We don't want to show up and find any "surprises" after paying in full! Thanks! :)

CourtneyL
02-28-2012, 11:24 AM
If I read that right, you are planing on driving from home, but in a rental car, right?

If thats the case, I would search for prices renting from your nearest airport. The airport will usually have more selection and I think the prices might be cheaper. If there is an Alamo, you can join their Alamo Insiders program (for free) and you can get better rates plus an additional driver for free.

I know at least out of Orlando, the price of rental cars changes A LOT. I would usually book something a few months before the trip, but would always check back to see if there were better rates/deals. Every time I would check I could find a better rate, up until about two weeks before the trip. I would just reserve a car at the better rate and cancel the reservation for the higher rate.

I have no experience booking rental cars through a third party like hot-wire, but personally, I would be cautious. I wouldn't be comfortable booking through a third party just because it might be difficult if there were issues with the reservation later on. Thats just me though.

Daisy Dog
02-28-2012, 12:24 PM
Hi! Yes, driving from CT to Orlando, and trying to find a reasonable rental car. Thanks for the tips!

GrnMtnMan
02-28-2012, 01:29 PM
Through Hotwire, you probably only get one driver. They want to charge you $10+ per day for each additional driver, so factor that in to your research. I've found that Priceline and Hotwire can be a good deal on a solo trip, but if I want my wife to be an authorized driver, then regular discounts can be a better deal: most of the companies give an extra driver if you join their loyalty program.

richmo
02-28-2012, 02:11 PM
This is a tough one.

Most of the rental info you'll see on this board relates to renting a car in Orlando. What is typical in Orlando may not be true in CT.

If you were renting in Orlando, I'd probably tell you to stay away from Hotwire. Rentals can get quite competitive and if you read the March rental thread on this board, you'll see posts of fairly dramatic price drops as the date gets closer (of course, it gets down to a certain point then can go back up again). Those that use Hotwire (or other prepay option) more than a week or two out will usually see their deal easily bettered had they waited. If I were you, I'd at least check out all the companies where you're renting (are you renting from an airport or somewhere else?...I know where I live, sometimes the local car dealers rent at quite reasonable prices...even minivans).

Another option that might be worth a look: I know some companies have some good one way rentals OUT of Florida now (I know Alamo does, others may too). Could you consider flying down and driving home?? Or maybe two one-way rentals (but, be sure to add in the drop off charge in Florida)

On the multiple driver issue (if it is an issue for you), are you a Costco member? If you are and use the Costco Alamo code (7014627), there is no extra charge for the 2nd driver. And they have a nice discount as well, usually 25%.

Daisy Dog
02-28-2012, 02:46 PM
Thanks! There is a Costco near my house, I wonder if it's worth joining for the discounts?

richmo
02-28-2012, 03:59 PM
Thanks! There is a Costco near my house, I wonder if it's worth joining for the discounts?

Costco is somewhere around $50 or $60 to join these days. Personally, I think its well worth it even without the car rental discount, but thats another subject for another board.

What I would do is go into Alamo's site, click the 'More Options' link, then your locations and dates, then enter 7014627 in the I.D./Corp Id field and AD8221SDF in the Coupon Code field and see what you get and compare it to your Hotwire numbers. Also note that when you look at the details, 1 additional driver is included.

Now, I will say that I've used Costco codes with Alamo IN ORLANDO (and a few other places) and have never been asked to produce my Costco membership. However, I've always been prepared to do so.

I'm also not trying to imply that the Costco discount is the only one that has the additional driver, nor am I trying to imply that Alamo is the only one that sometimes includes the additional driver. I would encourage you to look around for discounts with other rental companies and see what kinds of deals they have going on. I see you're going in March...if very early March, you may have already missed the discount windows, but for mid to late March, prices (again for MCO) appear to be dropping.

When you do look at other companies, use the companies website, not aggregators like orbitz, expedia, kayak and the like. They show basic rates, but generally don't find specials.

Finally, and importantly, when you find something, book it, but don't prepay. This gives you the option to switch to something else. Rates can often change daily, or even multiple times in one day, so if you're not prepaid, you can look right up to when you leave.

Zion21
02-28-2012, 05:27 PM
I have had good luck setting up rental cars with Orbitz. There is usually a bus waiting for you to bring you to their office and get everything filled out. Good prices too.

francie57
02-28-2012, 05:35 PM
We rented a car a few years ago to drive to NC from a local Budget office in CT and got a good deal. Make sure that you know the companies policies about taking the car out of state. There used to be some that wouldn't let you do that so make sure it is okay since that would nullify any insurance you may take on the van if you had an accident. Hopefully the companies don't worry about that any more.

richmo
02-28-2012, 09:09 PM
I have had good luck setting up rental cars with Orbitz. There is usually a bus waiting for you to bring you to their office and get everything filled out. Good prices too.

Huh? Orbitz buses? I stand by my earlier comment...orbitz and the like are good for research, but they often dont find the specials.

We rented a car a few years ago to drive to NC from a local Budget office in CT and got a good deal. Make sure that you know the companies policies about taking the car out of state. There used to be some that wouldn't let you do that so make sure it is okay since that would nullify any insurance you may take on the van if you had an accident. Hopefully the companies don't worry about that any more.

Good point...especially with local companies, they sometimes make you stay in state...check it out.

Daisy Dog
02-29-2012, 09:13 AM
Costco is somewhere around $50 or $60 to join these days. Personally, I think its well worth it even without the car rental discount, but thats another subject for another board.

What I would do is go into Alamo's site, click the 'More Options' link, then your locations and dates, then enter 7014627 in the I.D./Corp Id field and AD8221SDF in the Coupon Code field and see what you get and compare it to your Hotwire numbers. Also note that when you look at the details, 1 additional driver is included.

Now, I will say that I've used Costco codes with Alamo IN ORLANDO (and a few other places) and have never been asked to produce my Costco membership. However, I've always been prepared to do so.

I'm also not trying to imply that the Costco discount is the only one that has the additional driver, nor am I trying to imply that Alamo is the only one that sometimes includes the additional driver. I would encourage you to look around for discounts with other rental companies and see what kinds of deals they have going on. I see you're going in March...if very early March, you may have already missed the discount windows, but for mid to late March, prices (again for MCO) appear to be dropping.

When you do look at other companies, use the companies website, not aggregators like orbitz, expedia, kayak and the like. They show basic rates, but generally don't find specials.

Finally, and importantly, when you find something, book it, but don't prepay. This gives you the option to switch to something else. Rates can often change daily, or even multiple times in one day, so if you're not prepaid, you can look right up to when you leave.

Thanks for all the great tips! We are leaving March 16, so hopefully I can still get a good deal! I'm going to try those codes right now!

ccgirl
02-29-2012, 10:16 AM
Make sure they know you are driving to FL. I know when we tried to rent a car most places charged extra if we left New England.