If you need to hire a car for a few days, maybe to take a short trip or escort visiting family members around your area, hiring one is the obvious choice. But, where can you find the best deals? Well, here is where: our guide will show you which are the best sites to visit when hiring cars online.

Try a comparison site for the best range of deals

Just as with insurance, comparison sites are a great way to find a number of different offers without the hassle of checking out individual companies yourself. These include Travel Supermarket, Kayak and TripAdvisor, all of which can substantially cut down the amount of research needed, as you only need to fill out the details of when and where you want the car once then have the site do all the heavy lifting on your behalf. 

Within seconds you’re provided with offers from a number of leading hire companies, all usually showing the price so you know how much you’ll need to spend.

Where to hire a car online

Many of the comparison sites are those you would normally use to find holidays and flights. The advantage of this is that should you be travelling abroad or coming to the UK then it’s easy to arrange the hire care while booking your trip.

Short hires in cities

While some of the sites above are great for longer breaks, there is an increasing demand for short car hire – sometimes only a few hours – within cities. These are covered by a number of companies now, with Zipcar being the one most commonly associated with the scheme.

With this service you can hire a car in seconds using the app (so long as you’ve set up your account beforehand), then pick it up from a number of locations across the city (in the UK there are Zipcars available in London, Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford) and drop it in another location nearer your destination. You only pay for the time you have the car since petrol and congestion charges are covered by Zipcar, and you can drive up to 60 miles a day.

On the company’s site, it estimates that a one-hour errand that returns to the original location will set you back £15/$20, which is an excellent deal when you consider that a full day’s hire from other companies can cost upwards of £40/$50.

Where to hire a car online

It’s not just Zipcar that offers these short deals though, as the Hertz 369 program now offers cars or vans for 3, 6 or 9 hours, with differing allocations for miles you’re allowed to drive, Europcar’s Ubeeqo scheme offers rentals from one hour upwards with prices starting at £3/$5, while Enterprise has its Car Club with very similar features.

Car hire loyalty schemes

If you’re intending to hire cars on a regular basis, perhaps because it works out cheaper than owning a car, it might be worth choosing one company and signing up to its loyalty scheme. For example, the Avis Preferred loyalty program offers money off vouchers, provides priority booking to members, and there are free rentals after you reach certain levels. It’s a similar story with Europcar, Sixt, Hertz and most other companies.

Where to hire a car online

Armed with these tips you should now be able to get a good deal on your car hire, no matter how short or long a time you need the vehicle. If you're travelling abroad then also check out our guide to the best hotel booking sites and we also explain how to get a cheap fight online.