7 Best Tampa Airport Car Rental Companies — Browse Tips on Renting a Car in Tampa (June 2023)
There are many rental car companies to choose from at Tampa International Airport (TPA). Like many major airports, TPA has an on-site rental car facility with approximately 15 brands and a complimentary shuttle service for a handful of discount off-site agencies.
As a result, you have more options to choose from which can make it easier to find the best price and ideal vehicle type. Whether you’re on a budget or want the best service we rank the best Tampa Airport car rental companies.
The Vacationer Tip
Before booking your Tampa rental car, browse our Best Websites to Book Cheap Car Rentals guide and our How to Find and Book Cheap Car Rentals tutorial. Our recommendation is to use RentalCars.com. And, if you’re flying to Tampa, see our Best Websites to Book Cheap Flights guide.
What are the Best Rental Car Companies at Tampa Airport?
In most situations, you will find competitive rates and save time by booking an on-airport rental car. The Tampa Airport is relatively big and you will need to take the SkyConnect train (it’s free) to reach the consolidated rental car facility with parking spots for over 8,000 rental cars.
Another benefit of picking up your rental at the airport is the ability to quickly drop off your car. You can also use the remote bag check station to easily get your luggage to the gate.
Enterprise usually receives high customer service reviews across the board at many of its nationwide locations. Its TPA location is no different as most renters report an enjoyable and helpful check-in experience, but there are times when the agents may not have the best customer service skills or response times.
The location is open 24/7 which makes it easy to pick up your car if you’re catching the last flight in, an early bird special, or finally arriving after extensive delays. This location offers a self-service kiosk which speeds up the pick-up process when there’s a line.
It’s possible to rent many vehicle types including electric, premium SUV, luxury cars, 15-passenger vans, pickup trucks, and exotics. Several off-site locations are nearby that may offer competitive rates too.
Pros: Wide vehicle selection, open 24/7, excellent customer service ratings
Cons: Potentially expensive
Phone: (813) 396-4000
Google Rating: 4.4
Kayak Rating: 9.5 (Wonderful)
Click Here to See the Best Car Rental Deals at Enterprise
2. Alamo Rent a Car
Alamo has many happy renters as the TPA rental desk usually has short wait times and it’s open 24/7. Additionally, travelers can use the self-service kiosks or the Alamo mobile app’s “Skip the Counter” and “Accelerated Check-In” features.
You can rent luxury vehicles and families or large groups will enjoy access to pickups, minivans and 15-passenger vans. Renters can pay with a debit card or credit card.
While there is much to like about Alamo Rent a Car, its rental rates tend to be on the higher side for Tampa Airport. Unlike the well-known premium agencies, its loyalty program doesn’t offer many perks either.
Pros: Expedited check-in, good vehicle selection, friendly customer service, open 24/7
Cons: Potentially expensive, basic loyalty program
Phone: (813) 396-4140
Google Rating: 4.4
Kayak Rating: 8.9 (Very Good)
Click Here to See the Best Car Rental Deals at Alamo
Consider Hertz if you want a free additional driver as long as you’re a Gold Plus Rewards member. Other loyalty benefits include the Ultimate Choice vehicle selection benefits and the opportunity for complimentary upgrades.
This rental agency offers many types of economy and luxury car classes. Specialty collections including sports, electric, passenger vans, and convertibles are available. Unfortunately, the average rental price is relatively expensive and the rental desk closes at 1 a.m. daily when other companies are open 24/7.
Pros: Extensive vehicle selection, robust loyalty program, free additional driver
Cons: Potentially expensive, closes at 1 a.m. (after-hours drop-offs are available)
Phone: (813) 874-3232
Hours: 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Google Rating: 3.6
Kayak Rating: 7.5 (Good)
Click Here to See the Best Car Rental Deals at Hertz
Consider Sixt to secure competitive rates on luxury cars, convertibles, minivans, and SUVs. This agency also lets you pay with a debit card. Unfortunately, this location doesn’t offer pickup trucks or passenger vans.
Some customer reviews indicate check-in lines that are a little longer than other premium competitors but the customer service team is friendly and efficient. While you may need to wait a bit longer, the average rental rate is usually cheaper than the premium services.
Another potential downside of renting through Sixt is that the airport counter closes at midnight which can affect late arrivals.
Pros: Competitive rates, friendly customer service, offers luxury, sports and minivans
Cons: Doesn’t offer self check-in, cannot rent 12- or 15-passenger vans
Phone: (813) 666-8606
Hours: 7 a.m. to midnight (after-hours drop-offs are available)
Google Rating: 3.6
Kayak Rating: 7.4 (Good)
Click Here to See the Best Car Rental Deals at Sixt
Travelers on a tight budget will find the prices and customer service for NextCar pleasing. Unlike some discount car rental companies, this one is located within the Tampa Airport Rental Car Facility and is accessible by riding SkyConnect.
You can rent many economy and premium vehicles including sports cars, SUVs, minivans, and 15-passenger vans. Each rental comes with unlimited free miles within the continental United States and Canada.
Joining the VIP Express Club lets you skip the counter and head directly to your rental car from the self-service kiosk plus enjoy exclusive discounts.
By downloading the NextCar mobile app, you can join the Touch Free VIP Club which lets you reserve a car and pick it up 24/7, even when the branch location is closed. This perk can be valuable as its TPA rental desk closes at 8 p.m. daily.
Pros: Affordable rates, wide vehicle selection, unlimited miles, 24/7 VIP Club pick-ups
Cons: Closes at 8 p.m., relatively few locations, expensive additional fees
Phone: (813) 706-6990
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (after-hours drop-offs and pick-ups are available)
Google Rating: 2.3
Kayak Rating: 8.0 (Very Good)
Click Here to See the Best Car Rental Deals at NextCar
6. Avis Car Rental
Avis has an extensive vehicle selection including passenger vans, hybrids, electric, and luxury cars. Customer reviews indicate that it’s best to have Avis Preferred status to check in at a dedicated service desk as the wait times can be lengthy at times.
This location is open 24/7 which is beneficial, although its rental rates tend to be relatively high. Booking directly through Avis lets you qualify for the agency’s Best Price Pledge and you may qualify for additional limited-time offers.
You may also like using Avis as you can earn rewards points on car rentals to book free rental days in the future. However, the loyalty program doesn’t offer as many perks as other competitors.
Pros: Expansive vehicle selection, expedited check-in for Preferred members, open 24/7
Cons: Potentially expensive, long wait times periodically
Phone: (813) 396-3500
Google Rating: 3.3
Kayak Rating: 6.8 (Okay)
Click Here to See the Best Car Rental Deals at Avis
7. ACE Rent A Car
ACE is another budget-friendly car rental agency that offers cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans. This company offers some of the cheapest rates for on-location airport rentals and the customer support is usually pretty good.
Potentially the most significant drawback of this affordable rental car agency is only being able to drive your rental within Florida. Additionally, the operating hours are only from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. which suits most travelers but impacts red-eye flights.
This rental agency also offers a no-frills loyalty program to earn bonus points on rentals. However, there are no additional perks mentioned.
Pros: Affordable rates, offers cars, trucks and SUVs
Cons: Rentals cannot leave Florida, no vans, closes at 10 p.m., no after-hours drop-offs
Phone: (813) 636-8999
Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Doesn’t offer after-hours drop-offs)
Google Rating: 3.7
Kayak Rating: 6.1 (Okay)
Comparing the Best Rental Car Companies at Tampa Airport
Here is a quick comparison of the best Tampa Airport rental car companies.
|Brand/Rental Provider||Google/Kayak Rating||Types of Available Services||Budget or Luxury?|
|Enterprise||4.4/9.5||Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury vehicles||Luxury|
|Alamo||4.4/8.9||Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury vehicles||Budget|
|Hertz||3.6/7.5||Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury vehicles||Luxury|
|Sixt||3.6/7.4||Cars, trucks, SUVs, luxury vehicles||Mid-Range|
|NextCar||2.3/8.0||Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury vehicles||Budget|
|Avis||3.3/6.8||Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury vehicles||Mid-Range|
|ACE||3.7/6.1||Cars, trucks, SUVs, minivans||Budget|
These agencies didn’t make the cut but still offer affordable rentals and an ample vehicle selection.
|Brand/Rental Provider||Google/Kayak Rating|
Types of Available Services
|Budget or Luxury?|
|Advantage||3.6/6.1||Cars, SUVs, vans, luxury||Budget|
|Thrifty||2.1/7.4||Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury||Budget|
|Budget||3.1/6.4||Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury||Budget|
|National||4.5/N/A||Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury||Luxury|
|Easirent||3.6/5.0||Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury||Budget|
Tips for Renting Cars at Tampa Airport
The greater Tampa area is an exciting place to visit for leisure and business. Whether you’re staying local or heading to a nearby beach town or even Orlando, these suggestions will help you find the best Tampa rental car deals.
Consider On-Site Rentals
Nearly every luxury, mid-range, and budget car rental agency has a check-in counter at the Tampa International Airport Rental Car Facility. It’s still worth comparing prices with off-site locations but the savings may not be worth the extra commuting time.
It takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the rental car facility from the gates, without stopping to get your luggage, as it’s the final stop on the free-to-ride SkyConnect Tram. You can follow these steps to reach the check-in desks:
- After deboarding the plane, follow the signs for the Main Terminal, Baggage Claim, and SkyConnect train (it’s accessible from the Blue and Red terminals).
- Board the SkyConnect train
- Ride SkyConnect to the Rental Car Center (it’s the next stop after the Economy Parking lot)
- Walk to the on-site rental car desks to board a courtesy shuttle for off-site agencies
- After checking in, you will walk to Level 1, 2, or 3 to pick up your rental
Further, you will return your rental to the same location at 5405 Airport Service Rd., Tampa, FL 33607. You will follow the signs to return your car at the appropriate level where the rental car agency’s designated parking area is.
The Vacationer Tip
In addition to comparing numerous rental car options, using the best credit card for rental cars can help you unlock complimentary insurance coverage, loyalty perks, and earn the most travel rewards.
Compare Rental Car Offers
With so many agencies, finding the lowest price for your desired vehicle type may take a little longer. You may also decide to use one of the best websites to book cheap car rentals as there are more opportunities to find exclusive offers.
As a reminder, verify the unlimited mileage policy and geographic restrictions if you’re researching discount agencies. It’s not uncommon for budget-priced rentals to require vehicles to remain within the state of Florida. Additionally, Florida residents may have a daily limit of free miles, even on unlimited mileage bookings.
Bring a Toll Pass From Home
Unfortunately, the Tampa area has several toll roads that are challenging to avoid if you’re driving outside of town or to St. Petersburg. However, they are more common in Orlando and Miami.
Opting for the rental car agency’s toll responder can be a good idea but this add-on is expensive and costs more than the electronic tolls.
Instead, you may consider bringing your E-Z Pass or a similar interstate transponder from home if you have one. It’s also possible to go online and register the license plate to your credit card for the rental period to avoid surprise charges.
Other Options in the Tampa Area
Tampa is crawling with ground transportation options if you don’t want to book a car directly from the local airport and pay expensive surcharges.
Most rental car agencies offer rental car kiosks at the airport rental car center and off-location. These agencies don’t have a location at TPA but provide a courtesy shuttle from the Commercial Curb at the rental car facility to their service area:
- Carl’s Van Rentals
- Florida’s Van Rentals
- GreenMotion Tampa
- One Switch Rent A Car
- Priceless Car Rental
- Via Car Rental
You will need to hire an Uber or Lyft to be transported to and from the terminal for other agencies not offering shuttle service.
Peer-to-Peer Car Rentals
Turo car rentals are available in the Economy Parking Garage which is accessible from the same SkyConnect train that takes you to the consolidated rental car facility. Clients can also pick up and drop off renters at the Remote Curb at the rental car center too.
Uber and Lyft
If you don’t anticipate needing a daily driver during your visit, hiring an Uber or Lyft rideshare can be more cost-effective. You can also avoid parking fees at downtown hotels if that’s your destination.
The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) offer public bus service between the airport and various landmarks.
Most visitors need a rental car to visit Tampa and the surrounding area. A car is necessary to visit Orlando, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, or another nearby beach destination. A notable exception is if you’re staying in downtown Tampa which is walkable. See our Best Beaches in Florida guide for additional information on location near the Tampa area.
All of the on-site car rental agencies are at the Rental Car Center which is accessible by riding the SkyConnect from the main terminal. Locals can be dropped off at the center to pick up their rental.
Several agencies are open 24/7 for pick-ups and drop-offs while others close earlier from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. after most people have arrived. Locations that close early typically offer after-hour drop-offs if your return flight happens before the agency opens in the morning.
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
This airport is a popular gateway to Florida’s Gulf Coast and renting a car is a travel necessity.
Thanks to the many on-site and off-site rental options, there are many options of economy and multi-passenger cars. You also have many agencies with competitive prices and high-quality customer service.
Using one of the recommended car rental agencies and these tips for finding cheap car rentals will help you get the car you need to visit Tampa at a great price.
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