Last Updated on November 8, 2022 by Elizabeth


Need a rental car for the Thanksgiving weekend? You won’t be alone. Every year, millions of Americans drive to see friends and family for the holiday weekend. If you’re looking for Thanksgiving car rental deals, the trick is to start looking early. You can expect that prices will be jacked up for the high-demand period and larger cars are likely to sell out fast.

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Snag the Best Car Rental Rate for Thanksgiving

Book early.

When it comes to holiday weekends and rental cars, the early bird gets the worm. This is a high-demand weekend and rental car companies can sell out of cars for the holiday. Be sure to lock in your reservation weeks in advance.

Book even earlier if you need a large car.

Rental agencies may sell out earlier on larger vehicles such as minivans and full-size SUVs. We recommend booking a minimum of two weeks out and preferably even further in advance.

Cast a wider net.

Looking for a rental car at an airport location? Consider expanding your search to easily-reachable off-airport rental car locations. Even when you factor in the cost of getting to an off-airport location, the savings can be significant. A rental at San Francisco International Airport might cost $100 a day, but if you walk across the street to the nearby Enterprise agency, a rental car might cost $30 a day.

Buy Collision Insurance For Less Than at the Rental Counter

Be wary of prepaid rates.

When booking a vehicle online, you’ll sometimes see two prices—one for “Pay Later” and one for “Pay Now.” Not every rental company offers a “Pay Now” or prepaid option, but when this option is available, the price will typically be lower than the standard rate. But by paying upfront, you’re taking a risk.

If you decide to cancel your reservation, you’ll usually be hit with a cancellation fee. At one major rental company, if you cancel your reservation more than 24 hours before pickup time, you’ll be charged $25. Cancel within 24 hours, and you’ll be charged $50. If you don’t show at all, you’ll forfeit the entire amount paid.

The other thing to know about a prepaid rate is that the discount is typically off the published rate only. If you apply a discount code or coupon, the “Pay Now” option often disappears. You’d be wise to check for coupons and compare other discount codes for which you might be eligible.

Don’t count on using reward points.

Unfortunately, many rental companies impose blackouts for redemption during peak holiday periods.

Let AutoSlash Track Your Car Rental for Price Drops

Start tracking your reservation immediately.

As soon as you make your reservation, it’s always worth tracking your rental car reservation since we may find a better rate ahead of your travel dates.

Don’t expect many last-minute deals.

As the holiday approaches, many rental agencies will sell out. Those with a few vehicles left will charge a king’s ransom. Again, this is not a time to procrastinate.

Need a rental car for Thanksgiving weekend? Don’t delay. Ask us for a quote and we’ll scour the Internet to find the best discounts and coupons available.