Orlando Boasts Cheapest Rental Car Rates in U.S.


2019 results compiled by SmartAsset in its annual vacation survey

Orlando, Florida is the top vacation destination in the U.S. when it comes to daily car rental rates, according to a recent survey released by financial technology company SmartAsset. The results were part of a study examining 25 of the cheapest vacations spots that would involve a family of four that also examined hotel rates, airfares and restaurants.

Taking the average cost of a three-day rental among companies renting vehicles, SmartAsset determined that Orlando was the cheapest with a daily rate of $36. Excluding additional fees and taxes, that means a family could get around the Florida city for as little as $108 during a long weekend.

San Antonio, Texas and Savannah, Georgia tied for second at $41, followed by Tucson, Arizona at $44. Not far behind were Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Milwaukee and San Jose at $45. Recording the highest in the 25 cheapest cities listed was Tampa Bay at $86 a day.

Orlando’s top berth was also reflected in a study issued a few years earlier by although the daily cost was considerably lower at $26. Rounding out that survey’s top five at the time were Miami ($28), Tampa ($30), Fort Lauderdale ($32) and San Diego ($40).

The biggest reason for variations in price usually has to do with the number of cars sitting in a car renter’s lot. If the space has plenty of vehicles, a company will lower the price, while higher bookings will have the reverse effect. But considering Orlando’s popularity as a tourist destination, a number of factors are at play, including a higher concentration of competitive car rental firms that keep the price down.

Another consideration is a certain number of tourists who visit the city to catch the popular Disney theme park and might also stay at a Disney hotel a short distance from the attraction. But Orlando does have a few annual price spikes, mostly near the beginning of the year with the annual spring break student migration and the Daytona 500 in February.

Experts point out that consumers can find lower rates not only by choosing a vacation destination, but also when they plan to go on holidays. Renters can save up to 60 percent by booking for a weekend than during a weekday, while savings of up to 10 percent can be realized if you book at least six months in advance. Other cost saving incentives include booking the smallest car possible, avoiding airports to book a vehicle and watching for gas prices across the country.

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