I think I'm just going to book directly with Alamo from now on, and not spend time shopping around. Both for my upcoming trip to CA and my January trip the task of shopping around for a rental car fell to me.

First I compare prices using the usual travel sites (orbitz, travelocity, etc.) plus the Sam's Club site to get an idea of what the rates are for my location and dates. Then I check retail-me-not for coupon codes, and try some of those.

In Florida, the best rate was actually a "last-minute" rate at Alamo. Same when I booked a car in HI (that "last-minute" rate was actually over $100 less per week than anywhere else). This time, the "last-minute" rate was indeed less than the next-best rate I found (through Sam's Club), but the Alamo site actually listed its own internet coupon code that was even less than their "last-minute" special. I'll have to make a mental note of that for the future, that there is no consistency about which rate will be lowest.

Anyway, on some sites Enterprise appeared to have a better rate, but upon further clicking I couldn't seem to get that rate on the class of car I originally selected for that. The reason wasn't clear, so I gave up and went to Alamo which was next up on the price list.

The Alamo site is easy to use, they've always had availability when I needed it, and they've also always had the most convenient locations (not only in the airports, but also near hotels). They also have this "save time" feature so you can enter the drivers' license info, extra drivers, and all that online before your trip, so when you show up to get the car they just print out the completed form. So when you actually pick up the car you don't have to stand at the counter answering all their questions as the clerks fill out the form while you wait. The clerk in FL was so slow the first day I rented, that when I wanted a car a few days later I purposefully entered it all online and was out of that office so much faster than when he hunt & pecked out each answer.

What's even better, if you register online then Alamo saves all that information, so you only have to drag out your driver's license once and you're done so future trips are booked even faster. But the best part of course is that you won't be delayed by a slow employee with poor keyboarding skills when you're jet-lagged and just want to get going so you can take a nap at the hotel. You just give them the reservation number, they print it up then hand you the keys. I'll keep my fingers crossed that it will go that smoothly on Wednesday. . .