#cheap car rentals
Advanced tips for US road trips
Car rental tips from Lonely Planet’s travel experts
Dreaming of the open road? Car rental is all you need to hit the highway. Here’s how to lock down the right car hire deal.
Desert road trip, winding mountain passes or zooming around national parks? Wherever you’re headed, the only thing between you and freedom is nailing down your car rental. So how do you find the car hire gems among the clapped-out rustbuckets, and navigate the fog of fine print? Grab the best car rental deals with our tips.
How to snap up the perfect car rental
Lonely Planet’s expert road trip tips
Got wheels? Here’s how to ensure a smooth journey.
- Safety first. Don’t start assembling your perfect road trip soundtrack before you’ve checked the weather forecast and road conditions. This is especially important if you’re exploring a new destination. Make sure you have the local emergency phone number, your insurance details, and a charged mobile phone – just in case.
- Pack emergency supplies. A steady supply of sugary treats to stave off road boredom? Worth packing. A few bottles of water, extra food and a blanket in case you end up stranded wildly off course? Essential.
- Bring a back-up map. Malfunctioning sat-nav, tablet with a flat battery… when it comes to navigation, don’t put all your faith in technology. Make sure you have at least one hard copy of a road map in case disaster strikes your gadgetry.
- Plan your pit-stops. Road trip pit-stops aren’t just to prevent the chorus of ‘are we there yet’ from the back seat. Plan some stops along your way to keep you feeling refreshed on your journey – and swap drivers if you can. Don’t try to drive for more than 2-3 hours without taking a short break.
- Check in with friends or family. We know, you really don’t want to text your mother. But if you’re planning a road trip somewhere remote, let a friend or family member know your route and expected arrival time.