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Car Rental in Houston, TX
You will certainly want to have a rental car in Houston, Texas! As the fifth largest metropolitan area in the United States, you simply need a car in order to explore the city to its fullest, from Downtown to Neartown and beyond. Here is a brief guide to finding cheap rental cars in Houston, TX.
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Houston rental cars are available in over 80 locations throughout the city! Houston car hire typically starts at around $45 a day for short-term rentals.
Tips for Finding Cheap Car Rental in Houston
You can typically find the cheapest rental cars in Houston at both of the airports that serve the Houston area, the George Bush International Airport (IAH) and the William P. Hobby Airport (HOU). Prices typically only differ by $1 or $2 between these two major rental car locations, so regardless of which airport into which you fly, you can immediately take advantage of some of the best deals on rental cars in Houston.
Rental car rates in Houston remain fairly constant year-round, regardless of how far in advance you book your rental car. The notable exception to this rule, however, comes in the summer: Houston rental car rates are typically around $15 more expensive in July and August. If you can, avoid travelling to Houston during these busy months, in order to get the best deals on Houston rental cars.
If it is inconvenient for you to travel to the airport to pick up your rental car, you can find good rates at numerous locations throughout the city, particularly Downtown, southwest, and in Champion Forest.
Key Things to Remember: Car Rental in Houston
How to avoid rush hour in Houston:
- Particularly because a rental car is necessary to get around the city of Houston, rush hour can add a significant amount of time to your travels. Rush hour on the streets and highways typically spans from 7 to 9 in the morning and from 4 to 6 in the afternoon. You should definitely avoid driving the West Loop near Galleria during afternoon rush hour, but you can expect to experience stop-and-go traffic on any of the major throughways throughout the city at the busiest times of the day—particularly with the added hindrance of almost constant road construction.
Parking your rental car in the neighborhood of Downtown Houston:
- On-street parking is available throughout Houston, though it is most expensive and most difficult to find in Downtown and Neartown. You can park on the street in Downtown Houston for up to three hours for a fee that varies depending on location. Fees are payable by cash, credit card, and pay-by-phone.
- On-street parking is free in Downtown Houston after 6 pm Monday through Saturday and all day on Sundays.
- There are almost 100,000 off-street parking spaces available throughout Downtown Houston, in parking garages and parking lots. Prices vary quite a bit, so it’s worth shopping around. Daily rates can range from around $10 to $25 at the cheapest, especially if you park slightly outside the most popular areas. Downtown Houston is highly walkable!
Toll roads in and near Houston:
- There are a number of tolled highways in the Houston area, particularly to the southwest of the city. The major tolled roads include the Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road, the Westpark Tollway, and the Grand Parkway. Use of these toll roads typically costs less than $1 a trip and is recorded via electronic monitoring. Ask your Houston rental car company how they pass these fees onto you and whether you accrue any surcharges for the use of toll roads with your rental car.
Road Trips in Your Houston Rental Car: Where to Go Next
- Galveston, 50 miles to the south: because Houston is so huge, it’s easy to forget that it’s almost located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Take a day trip to nearby Galveston in order to breath in the sea air! Galveston is a great tourist location within an hour’s drive of downtown Houston (depending on the traffic!), located along the beachfront of Galveston Island.
- Webster, 30 miles southwest of Downtown Houston: Webster is home to the NASA Space Center, one of the most spectacular museum complexes in the United States and is well worth the 30 minute drive from downtown (depending on the traffic).
- Sam Houston National Forest, 60 miles to the north: take a break from the metal and cement jungle of Houston and spend some time in Texas’s remarkable natural landscapes at this national forest, located about an hour north of the city. This forest is a great place to relax in, hike through, and become acquainted with Texas’s unique ecosystem. Even better, it is rarely crowded.