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Renting A Car: Who Has What?

Guide to Rental Car Companies & the Cars They Offer

by Jessica Howell

More than 80 percent of all leisure and business travel occurs on the nation's highways, according to the Travel Industry Association of America. Whether by bus, personal automobile or rentals, millions of travelers are packing up for long hauls across some of the most scenic of U.S. highways and byways.

While most families own or lease their own vehicle, many face the obstacles often associated with extended travel: putting unwanted miles on your car, normal wear and tear, and the possibility that an unreliable car may not make it to Point B in one piece.

If you don't have your own vehicle, or if you face on of the fore mentioned problems, road trips may seem like a distant dream. Thankfully, you won't have to set aside your cross-continent plans for long - America is host to many, many automobile rental companies who would be happy to set you up with a vehicle.

To find out which rental company suits your taste, preference and budget best, read on. We've compiled a list of some of the nation's top renters — and were making it easy for you to choose so that you can get out on the open road in no time at all.

Alamo
With locations all over the world (and we do mean all over) Alamo is a great choice when traveling overseas. Tours are nice, but sometime you really need to get out there and explore on your own. Whether you're in the United States, Belgium or Italy, you'll find an Alamo that will seat between two and eight people.

A well designed website makes booking a rental online a breeze. We especially like the driving directions and road trip games for kids that Alamo provides on their website under "travel tools."

Avis
The world has always known that "Avis tries harder." And now it shows more than ever. For those who frequently require rental cars, you'll be happy to find that Avis' frequent renter program gives way to great deals and even offers free weekends to repeat customers throughout the year.

An easy-to-use website makes planning your trip easier than ever. You can choose from 16 car classes, some of which feature free XM Satellite Radio.

Budget Rent A Car
Founded back in 1958, Budget Rent A Car serves cost-conscious travelers worldwide with nearly 2,000 locations. Offering a wide range of vehicles, from small compact cars to hefty SUVs to moving trucks, Budget keeps customers on the lookout with last-minute deals online and special weekday rates.

Known for it's "Fastbreak" program, which offers a virtually paperless transaction and speedy service, Budget will keep get you in and get you out quickly without having to drop a pretty penny.

Enterprise
Consistently ranked top in customer service, Enterprise Rental was originally created as a leasing company and still offers the option to buy their cars. With over 120 models, you're sure to find one to suit you — and if you like it well enough on vacation — you may want to park it permanently in your driveway!

Boasting locations within a 15-minute drive from 90 percent of the U.S. population, you won't have to look far for Enterprise. Working to make things easier for you, Enterprise also offers 24-hour roadside assistance, pick-up service and allows an additional driver at no added charge. Need a car for a month or more? They have plans to accommodate. From two-door economy cars to pickup trucks, Enterprise makes car renting easy.

Hertz
Recent introduction of the Hertz Fun Collection has made renting a car fun again. Vehicles like Jeep Wrangler, Mazda Miata, Chevrolet HHR and Hummer H3 can be specifically reserved and guaranteed at locations across the United States and beyond. An added perk: all Fun Collection vehicles come equipped with Sirius Satellite Radio — with over 120 channels guaranteed to satisfy every picky driver.

If you're looking to make a classy entrance during your travels, you may want to consider the Hertz Prestige collection which offers a line of superior performance vehicles including Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover. With locations all over North America, Hertz makes it easy to rent a car. In fact, Hertz offers an industry first: brand and model reservability for specific cars and SUVs at 23 major airport locations for it's #1 Club and Club Gold members.

For ROAD & TRAVEL's top tips on renting a car, click here.