How to Rent a Car for Your Vacation

You’ve booked your family’s next vacation. Congrats! You know you need to rent a car but have yet to make your reservation. Before you book, take a look at this handy how-to guide to help you choose, rent and enjoy the perfect rental car for your vacation.

Determine Your Travel Details

When and where do you want to rent and return your car?

Once you’ve booked flights to your vacation destination, reserve your rental car with pick up and drop off times that allow time for you to get to and from your flights. Also, be sure to include your flight number and airline in your car rental reservation so the Alamo team can accommodate any delays that may affect your schedule.

What kind of rental car should you reserve?

The cars in Alamo’s fleet come in all shapes, sizes and colors — from the economy car that holds four people and two bags to the premium SUV, which holds eight people and three bags. Check out our vehicle guide to find out which ride is best for your family. And if you’re traveling with a small child, don’t worry about packing a car seat. You can lighten your load by renting one of Alamo’s Child Safety Seats with your vehicle. You can also keep your travel crew entertained by purchasing SiriusXM® satellite radio with your rental, which offers more than 150 channels ranging from commercial-free music and comedy to sports and news radio.

How old do you have to be to rent a car? What are the requirements?

Consider who will be driving the rental car during your trip. The driver must be at least 21 years old, except in New York and Michigan, where the minimum age is 18. Depending on your location and the size of your rental vehicle, there may be restrictions or additional fees if the driver is younger than 25.

The driver must also have a valid driver’s license from his or her country of residence. If the driver’s license is not in English, he or she must also bring an international driving permit. Lastly, the driver must present a valid credit card in his or her name when picking up the vehicle. There are some exceptions to these rules. For further details, please visit Alamo’s Driver’s License Policy page.

Planning to share driving duties during your vacation? Add a second driver for an average of $12 a day (exact cost varies by location), but make sure he or she also meets all of the requirements listed above.

Do you know where you’re going?

If so, then you’ll be ready to get on your merry way as soon as you start the engine. If not, consider renting one of Alamo’s GPS navigation devices, or a TravelTab device, which features unlimited 4G data service for up to five devices and includes voice-activated navigation and other travel tools. If you plan to drive on toll roads, you may also want to purchase a toll pass device/waiver. With the toll pass, you’ll be in the fast lane, free to breeze through tollbooths without slowing or worrying about finding exact change to pay. You’ll be billed separately for any tolls you drove through.

How to Rent a Car: Your Step-by-Step Guide

Book It

  • First, join Alamo Insiders for free and save 5 percent off the retail rate of your rental. Visit the Alamo Insiders page to provide your name and email address, create a password and agree to the terms and conditions. Then, click “join” to begin saving.
  • Another option for savings is to prepay for your rental when you make your reservation on If you prepay online, you’ll save 5 percent off the retail rate.
  • Check in online to expedite the process of picking up your vacation vehicle. Be sure to check if your rental location offers “Skip the Counter.” If it does, you can skip the counter and go straight to your rental car once you arrive at your destination.
  • Or, breeze past others waiting and step right up to the self-serve kiosk. By using the self-serve kiosk to complete your rental process, you can also skip the counter. Collect your car and just present your rental agreement and license at the exit booth on your way out.

Drive It

  • Once you land at your vacation destination, follow the signs to the car rental area of the airport to find the Alamo location. Note: If your flight is delayed, your car will be held for 12 hours or until the close of business, whichever is first. Many Alamo locations are open late or operate 24 hours a day. Your rental confirmation will list the location’s operating hours and phone number, so if you anticipate your flight will be delayed beyond the close of business, call Alamo at the number listed so your reservation can be changed to accommodate your delayed arrival.
  • Plan ahead and save yourself the hassle of having to find a gas station to fill up before returning your rental by opting for the Fuel Service. This enhancement allows you to prepay for a full tank when you’re picking up your rental so that you can bring it back empty without worries.
  • If you ordered any enhancements such as a car seat, GPS or toll pass device, be sure to see an Alamo employee to pick them up. Once you’ve loaded everyone into your rental car, take a moment get familiar with its features, checking your mirrors, seat position, the location of your lights and windshield wipers. Now, turn on your engine and begin your vacation.

Return It

  • At the end of your vacation, make sure to collect all of your belongings and throw out any trash before handing in your keys. If you did leave something behind, visit Alamo’s Lost and Found webpage.
  • Not ready to end your vacation yet? Call Alamo’s Customer Service line at 844-357-5132, and an Alamo representative will extend your rental.




Is Alamo open during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak?

Yes. Alamo is an essential services provider that remains open to meet critical transportation and personal mobility needs.

How do I rent a vehicle from Alamo during the COVID-19 outbreak?

You can make reservations via our website or Alamo mobile app. To save time at the rental counter, you can check in online with your driver’s license information and rental confirmation number.

To streamline your rental experience further and enable you to safely practice social distancing when picking up your rental vehicle:

  • You can skip the counter (for select locations) in advance after activating Online Check-In. Then, you can go straight to your car without visiting the counter or kiosk.
  • Another option is Alamo’s Self-Service Kiosk at select locations. All you need to check in is your driver’s license and credit card. When you’re finished, just show your rental agreement and driver’s license at the exit booth before you hit the road.

What steps are being taken to clean the rental cars?

Clean vehicles have always been important to us, but at this moment in time, we know vehicle cleanliness is even more critical. Each rental vehicle is thoroughly cleaned between every rental and backed with the Complete Clean Pledge. This includes washing, vacuuming, general wipe down, and sanitizing with a disinfectant that meets leading heath authority requirements, with particular attention to more than 20-plus high-touch points including:

  • Key / key fob
  • Steering wheel
  • Steering column
  • Seat belts
  • Center console
  • Door interiors
  • Door pockets
  • Interior door handles
  • Exterior door handles
  • Seat pockets / seat surfaces
  • Areas between seats & consoles
  • Areas between seats & doorjambs
  • Cupholders / compartments
  • Instrument panel
  • Accessory panel / touchscreen
  • Rearview mirror / side mirrors
  • Visors / visor mirrors
  • Dashboard / vents
  • Gear stick / gear shift
  • Trunk release
  • Among other high-touch areas

As part of the Complete Clean Pledge, we've also extended our already rigorous cleaning protocols to our shuttles and rental locations.

Read more COVID-19 FAQs.

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