Need to know: car hire

How do I book cheap car hire from a reputable company?

Jill Starley-Grainger
The Sunday Times Travel Magazine


Book cheap-but-decent car hire?

You could spend ages checking car-hire comparison sites, such as, and cross-referencing their rate with the car-hire companies’ own websites, then trying to price up all the extras to see which offers the best value. But our go-to for quality car hire at a fair price is

This award-winning broker negotiates special rates and bundles, and vets the car-hire companies it uses, which makes it less likely you’ll be stung with unexpected fees. And it only works with firms that offer a fair-fuel policy, which means full-full or same-same, where you refuel the vehicle yourself before returning it. The reason for this is that full-empty fuel policies are nothing but a scam; virtually nobody returns a car with a completely empty tank, so with full-empty policies – where you are forced to pre-purchase a full tank - you’ve paid for fuel you didn’t use.

When we compared prices for a week in Miami in February, Zest had a compact car with Alamo for £160 – including free second driver and excess-reducing insurance. Booking direct with Alamo, we would have paid nearly double at £306 – and that was without the second driver or insurance.