Budget Review

With hundreds of locations nationwide and some of the biggest discounts around, Budget has made a name for themselves as one of the best car rental companies in the industry. Some of their additional fees get a little pricey, however.

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The Good

Locations nationwide

Budget has hundreds of locations in airports and major cities and towns all over the country, so you likely won’t have much trouble finding one in your area. If you’re not sure where the nearest rental facility is, just head over to Budget’s website. You can browse all of their locations or type in the address of where you need the rental car so Budget can quickly find the closest one for you. Budget’s service isn’t just limited to the United States. International travelers will be pleased to know Budget car rental facilities can be found in many countries all over the world.

Huge pay-now savings

By paying for your Budget rental car when you make your reservation, you can save as much as 35% off your daily rate. Most other companies that offer pay-now discounts cap savings at 10% to 15%, so Budget’s deal is especially valuable. If keeping costs low when purchasing a rental car is key for you, this is a good place to start. Make a reservation online, choose whatever vehicle you want, and pay for it upfront. Before long, you’ll save enough to pay for another day’s rental. In order to take advantage of this deal, though, you have to pay more than 16 hours before your scheduled pickup time.

Dozens of vehicles to choose from

Budget has a variety of different car classes you can choose from, including compact, mid-size, SUV, high-occupancy, and more. When selecting which one you’d like to rent, you can view details about the vehicle, including how many passengers it can hold and how fuel-efficient it is. Being able to view this information before you select your car helps you narrow down your choices more quickly to find the one that best suits your needs. If you’re interested in a specialty vehicle, Budget has you covered there as well. Hybrids will appeal to the energy-conscious while a cargo or moving van is perfect if you need to transport all your belongings. There are also several luxury car models available if they’re more to your liking.

Great if you encounter car trouble

When your car ends up in the shop for repairs, Budget is a great place to turn to because they offer discounted rates on all their models just for these situations. You can book your reservation online or over the phone relatively quickly and indicate who will be paying for the replacement vehicle. If your insurance is paying, make sure you have your claim number along with the name of your auto repair facility. Budget then bills the company directly so you don’t have to worry about it. Once your reservation is made, a company representative drives to your location and brings you back to the rental car facility where you can pick up your replacement vehicle and be on your way.

Make on-the-go reservations

Budget’s mobile app, available for Android and iPhones, enables you to create, change, and cancel reservations from anywhere. If you’re a frequent Budget renter, you can store your profile information on the app as well and update it when needed. In addition, customer support is just one click away if you run into trouble. The app is free and great to have if you need to update your reservations on the fly. Budget also has a mobile version of their website with all of these capabilities for individuals who don’t have the smartphone app.

The Bad

Expensive to add a driver

Budget charges you $13 per day to add another driver to your account. This is only a few dollars more than what some other companies charge but, if you’re renting a vehicle for more than a couple of days, those few dollars could add up very quickly. If you plan on having two or more people driving the rental car, factor the additional driver fees into the price estimate before deciding whether you’d like to move forward.

Extra charges for returning early

Because of the way Budget’s pricing structure works, returning early could get you penalized just as much as returning late. Exactly what you’ll pay for an early return fee varies depending on what type of car you rented and the length of the rental. Chances are, most people won’t need to return the car early and therefore won’t run into this problem. However, it’s still something to keep in the back of your mind when renting a car from Budget.

The Details

General Info

  • Age Requirement: 21 (18 in NY and MI)
  • States Available: 50


  • Additional Driver Fee: $13/day (except CA, NV, NY)
  • Early Return Fee: Varies
  • Late Return Fee: Hourly rate for 1.5 hours, then full day
  • No Show Fee: None
  • Underage Driver Fee: $5-$35/day

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