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Americans are traveling again, which means flying into major airports and grabbing the keys to a rental car. Renting a car is helpful, but it can be expensive too. However, you can fly into one of the cheapest cities with a major airport and save on your rental car with a little advanced planning. 

Metro areaNearest major airportAverage weekly rental price
CharlotteCharlotte/Douglas International Airport.$490
OrlandoOrlando International Airport.$519
Dallas-Fort WorthDFW International Airport.$545.
DenverDenver International Airport.$548
AtlantaHartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.$558
Seattle-TacomaSeattle-Tacoma International Airport.$566
Los AngelesLAX$568
Las Vegas ValleyHarry Reid International Airport.$588
PhoenixPhoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.$598
ChicagoChicago O’Hare International Airport.$671

Major cities across the countries offer reduced rates on rental cars

Nerdwallet conducted an analysis of 360 rental vehicle prices across eight companies. Additionally, the test called for an evaluation of average weekly rental pricing at 10 of the country’s biggest cities with an international airport. Travelers can find the cheapest rental car rates in metropolitan Charlotte, with an average weekly rental rate of $490. 

A lot packed with rental cars | Robert Gauthier, Getty Images

It stands to reason that LA or New York City would have the most substantial rental car prices, but Chicago topped the list. Specifically, as of March 2022, renting a car in the metro area of Chicago will set you back a weekly average of $671. According to Nerdwallet, renting a car in Chicago will cost about 37% more than paying to rent a car in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Although metro area Charlotte has the most affordable rates, Orlando International Airport has the cheapest airport pricing

Rental cars packed into a lot | Robert Gauthier, Getty Images

Nerdwallet considered the cost of renting a car in a metropolitan area as well as major airports in those cities. While Charlotte, NC boasts the cheapest weekly average, Orlando, FL has the most affordable airport rates. Renting a car in Orlando will set you back a weekly average price of $517. After Orlando, Charlotte’s Douglas International Airport is similarly affordable with a weekly average of $542. Finally, Dallas-Fort Worth’s DFW International Airport comes in at a close third with an average of $553.

However, like the metro area pricing, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport tops the list of expensive airport rental rates. Renting a car at O’Hare International will likely cost you an average of $743. Additionally, comparing the metro area costs and the airport rates reinforces the understanding that renting away from airports saves money. Specifically, renting a car in metro area Chicago is on average $72 cheaper than renting at the airport. Following Chicago, Seattle-Tacoma Airport comes in at a distant second with a weekly average of $657.

Save money by planning ahead and renting at locations other than airports

More Americans are ready to travel again | Silas Stein, Getty Images

3 Fun Rental Cars for Your Next Road Trip

Choosing your upcoming vacations carefully can save you money. In addition to shopping around for hotels, airlines, and attractions, pay attention to where you rent your car. In many cases, catching a ride to a non-airport rental car office to rent your car can pay dividends. Scroll down to the following article if you want to read more about the best cars to rent.