Tampa Airport Car Rental: The Best Companies

by Elizabeth Penney  |  Published September 4, 2017

Travelers to Tampa International Airport (TPA) can choose from among eight onsite car rental companies. With a variety of options in numerous price ranges, it can be time-consuming to find the best vehicle to suit your needs. TravelMag.com has done the research for you, analyzing each of the eight companies in three categories: most affordable, best for families and top luxury options.

All arrivals and departures into TPA use one main terminal. On-airport car rentals can be found across the walkway from the Red and Blue baggage claim areas.

Tampa International Airport in Florida (Photo: Rain0975 via Flickr)

Our rental car company review results

TravelMag.com looked at each of the eight available car rental companies at TPA to find the top choices. We compared rates, services, fleet availability, reviews and policies to determine the best options across each of the three different categories. Our results are as follows.

Most affordable: Thrifty

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Both Thrifty and Dollar led the pack in terms of affordability. Prices were similar, if not identical, in most categories (economy, compact, standard, intermediate, SUV) across a sampling of dates. But Thrifty won out in two areas: one, there was no difference in price between an economy and full-size car or between a standard and intermediate SUV on the same dates. While Dollar’s prices only fluctuated slightly in this area, it was enough to tip the scale. The second factor was user rating. While reviewers on RentalCars.com gave Thrifty and Dollar an overall ranking of 7.8 out of 10, Thrifty was ahead when it came to users’ ratings of overall value, 7.6 compared to Dollar’s 6.5.

Best for families: Alamo

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Families traveling to Tampa Airport will find the right balance of price, service and amenities through Alamo. Although Alamo and Hertz are each known for their family-friendly practices, including guaranteed car seats at every location, Alamo is a better option for families due to lower prices. Hertz may give AAA members one free car seat with each rental, but even with that savings, Alamo prices are far below Hertz at TPA on several dates for the same vehicle. In addition, Alamo has plenty of family-friendly options available at its TPA location, including full-sized cars, SUVs and minivans. Car seat rentals are $9.99 a day each, with a $60 maximum per rental period. Best of all, parents can skip the line and check in at the self-service kiosk, a true convenience when little ones are involved.

Top luxury options: Enterprise

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Travelers with discriminating tastes can cruise the Tampa area in style with a luxury car from Enterprise. While it isn’t the least expensive in the luxury category — that title going to Dollar — Enterprise has more options, including the Cadillac XTS, while Dollar classifies its Buick LaCrosse as luxury. In addition, Enterprise is rated higher than Dollar, 8.3 out of 10, compared to 7.8, with users noting cleanliness and overall condition of the vehicle as high points. While other companies offer luxury vehicles at TPA, most commonly the Lincoln MKS and MKZ, they are significantly more expensive than other cars in the same class.