Car rental in Atlanta is a necessity for most visitors who arrive in Atlanta by plane. Although Atlanta does have a public transportation system, MARTA, it does not extend throughout the metro area enough to suit the needs of many visitors. In addition to ordinary vehicles, certain visitors rent exotic or luxury cars and larger passenger vans to accommodate big groups. Keep reading to find out more about Atlanta car rental options.
Types of Vehicles You Can Rent
Car rentals in Atlanta allow access to virtually any type of vehicle that you can purchase. Whether you need a large passenger van rental in Atlanta or want to zoom around town in a luxury convertible, you can find that type of vehicle available for rent. Most car rental companies offer luxury car rental in Atlanta. For exotic car rental in Atlanta, you will usually have to find a company that specializes in renting unique vehicles. Here are some of the car rental classes and examples of the cars you may find in each class:
- Economy: Mitsubishi Mirage, Ford Fiesta
- Compact: Nissan Versa, Ford Focus
- Midsize/Intermediate: Chevrolet Cruze
- Hybrid: Toyota Prius, Kia Optima
- Standard: Nissan Altima, Volkswagen Jetta
- Full size: Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu
- Convertible: Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro SS
- Premium: Nissan Maxima, Chevrolet Impala LT
- Luxury: Cadillac XTS, Mercedes Benz CLA or S450
- Luxury Elite: Maserati Ghibli, Jaguar F-Pace
- Sporty: Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Corvette
- SUV: Nissan Pathfinder, Ford Expedition
- SUV premium: Chevy Suburban, BMW X3
- Trucks: Nissan Frontier, Ford F150
- Minivan: Dodge Grand Caravan, Toyota Sienna
- Full size van: Ford Transit Wagon 12- or 15-passenger van
- Cargo van: Nissan NV200, Chevrolet Express Cargo
The makes and models listed above are simply representative of cars in that class. Each Atlanta car rental company will have its own line of vehicles. If you want a specific make and model of vehicle, you must shop around to find the exact car to fit your needs.
If you are flying into Atlanta, getting a car rental at Atlanta Airport is usually your best option. Many Atlanta airport car rental companies offer on-the-spot car availability or short-term advance rental. In addition, Atlanta airport rental car return is often available 24 hours a day.
All major car rental companies have an Atlanta airport location and they are easy to find following the directions below. When it is time for your Atlanta airport rental car return, simply follow the signs directing you to the Rental Car Center. Once your return is processed, you can ride the free ATL SkyTrain to the airport terminal for your flight home.
Helpful tip: If you will be heading straight to a hotel after picking up your rental car, consider taking a shuttle to the hotel and getting your car the next day. You can save one day from your Atlanta car rental price and possibly avoid any airport surcharges by picking up your rental car at a convenient downtown or suburban location.
Atlanta car rental companies are located at the Atlanta airport and at dozens of downtown and suburban branch offices. Some of the metro Atlanta car rental companies include:
- Avis Atlanta airport
- Enterprise Car Rental Atlanta airport
- Thrifty Car Rental Atlanta airport
- Enterprise Atlanta airport
- Hertz Car Rental Atlanta airport
- Dollar Cara Rental Atlanta airport
- Alamo Atlanta airport
- Budget Car Rental Atlanta
How to Rent a Car
Getting a car rental in Atlanta is an easy process for most visitors. Although each car rental company will have its own specific process, the following steps outline the general process for getting a rental car.
- Look online for the type of car you want and reserve it. If you are flying, be sure to provide your flight number and arrival time. This protects your reservation if your flight is delayed.
- When your plane lands in ATL, pick up your bags. Then follow the signs to the Sky Train and take the second stop for the Rental Car Center.
- Follow the signs and use the escalators to locate your car rental company.
- Provide your reservation information, ID and insurance card to the car rental company clerk or use a kiosk, if provided.
- Pay the rental fee, if you did not already pay it online.
- Inspect the vehicle carefully for body damage. Report any dents, scratches or other damage to the clerk immediately. Take photos, if necessary, and get the clerk to acknowledge in writing that the damage was done before you took possession of the car. If they are not willing to do this, request another vehicle.
- Make sure you understand the terms for returning the car, such as the time it is due back and whether the gas tank needs to be full.
Note: Most Atlanta rental car companies require a valid credit card to reserve and pay for the rental.
Important Things to Know Before Renting a Car in Atlanta
In most cases, you must be 25 years old or older to rent a car in Georgia. Some companies may allow younger adults to rent a car, but they usually charge a young renter fee due to the high rate of accidents caused by young drivers. Look for available car rental Atlanta discounts, such as AAA memberships, frequent flyer programs or credit card benefits.
Check to see if your current auto insurance company or credit card provides liability insurance on rental cars. If not, you must purchase insurance from the car rental company. Doing so usually adds anywhere from $7 to $16 to your rental bill per day. Be sure to find out about any fees for adding additional drivers and what penalties you may incur for canceling close to your reservation date.
Atlanta’s roadway system is complicated and traffic is heavy not just during rush hours but often around the clock. If your ATL car rental vehicle includes a GPS, use it or your smart phone traffic app to help find your way around the city. Interstates in Atlanta can be eight lanes wide and sometimes there is not a lot of notice to prepare to exit.
Staying alert while driving in Atlanta is a must. Pay attention to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on some interstates. You can be ticketed for driving in these lanes unless there is at least one passenger in addition to the driver. Driving in the city can be overwhelming even for lifelong residents of Georgia. If the idea of navigating Atlanta traffic sounds intimidating, use MARTA, Uber, Lyft or taxis to get to your destinations instead of renting a car.