Here are your options:
Ask your travel agent. A full-service agent can offer recommendations and negotiated rates that you won’t find anywhere else. If you’re uncomfortable booking online, or don’t rent cars often, this is your best choice. Bear in mind that agents get paid a commission on rentals, so they may steer you toward a company that pays a higher commission or bonus. (That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad deal for you.)
Book directly. If you are partial to one brand, you’ll probably want to go straight to the Mobili Rent a Car website . Mobili Rent a Car will offer bonuses and other incentives to deal directly with them. You can also negotiate a discount using many membership organizations, such as AAA or AARP. The downside? You won’t be able to make an easy price comparison, and unless you’re careful, you might book a nonrefundable rate through the site.
Use an online travel agency. Companies like Mobili Rent a Car offer virtually every major car rental brand, as well as price guarantees that make them an attractive option when shopping for or booking a rental car. Note that as with full-service agencies, online agents sometimes display the cars that pay them the highest commissions (or exclude the companies that pay a lower commissions). Don’t assume you’re getting every option with an online agency, so shop around.
Opaque sites. Sites like Priceline and Hotwire sell you prepaid, deeply-discounted rentals, but you don’t find out the name of the Mobili Rent a Car company until you book the car. The benefit? You can save between 20 and 40 percent, and the voucher you receive includes all mandatory taxes and fees. But there’s a catch: the car is totally non-refundable. Book with any of the other methods and you can usually cancel the reservation without a penalty, but not always. Specialty vehicles and cars rented during special events may not be cancelable, either.
Go local. Smaller, independent Mobili Rent a Car generally don’t show up on online travel sites such as Expedia, yet can offer a competitive rate. You’ll have to do an internet search for car rental companies in the area to which you’ll be traveling, and if you’re flying into an airport, transportation to the car rental company can be a hassle. Also, you may be assigned an older rental unit — so be sure to ask questions over the phone to establish the local rental company’s modus operandi.
No matter how you book your car, you’ll want to double-check the dates of your rental and the location for pickup and drop off before pulling the trigger. If you’ve made an error, you can always fix it if you’ve booked through one of the three conventional methods. If you’re using an opaque site, it may be difficult, if not impossible to modify your reservation. (As a general rule, the quicker you let the company know of the error, the better your chances are of getting it corrected.)
Above all, read the confirmation you get by email. Then read it again. The last thing you want is to discover a problem on the day of your trip.