• 9.5 / 10 Number of reviews: 1968
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Car Hire Washington DC

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Car rental offers in Washington DC

Whether you're looking for a small rental car or a station wagon for the entire family, we will always have a suitable vehicle for the lowest price. Below are some examples from our selection in Washington DC.
  • For example: Chrysler Pacifica
    Mini class
    For example: Chrysler Pacifica
  • Popular category
    For example: Ford Fiesta
    Economy class
    For example: Ford Fiesta
  • For example: Ford Focus
    Compact class
    For example: Ford Focus
  • For example: Hyundai Elantra
    Intermediate class
    For example: Hyundai Elantra
  • For example: Volkswagen Jetta
    Standard class
    For example: Volkswagen Jetta
  • For example: Chevrolet Malibu
    Full-size class
    For example: Chevrolet Malibu
  • For example: Chevrolet impala
    Luxury class
    For example: Chevrolet impala
  • For example: Buick Encore
    SUV class
    For example: Buick Encore

Car rental companies in Washington DC

Below are the car rental companies in Washington DC with the best ratings. Compare all ratings and prices of these rental companies in one search.
  • Enterprise
    8.9 (1482)
    From / day
  • National Car Rental
    8.6 (321)
    From / day
  • Alamo Rent a Car
    8.6 (7079)
    From / day
  • Hertz
    8.2 (5445)
    From / day
  • Avis
    7.9 (4675)
    From / day
  • Budget
    7.8 (7658)
    From / day
  • SIXT Rent a Car
    7.8 (2228)
    From / day
  • Dollar Rent a Car
    7.4 (3539)
    From / day
  • Thrifty
    7.4 (4155)
    From / day
The rates shown above are per day based on a rental period of at least 7 days. Additional costs and taxes for optional extras may apply. Please click here for an explanation of these charges.

Recent reviews

9.5 / 10 Number of reviews: 1968

When is the best time to book a rental car in Washington DC??

Average daily rate per month

Car rental companies in and around Washington DC

Looking for a hire car in United States? Take a look at our Car rental United States directory.

Washington DC

Available locations in Washington DC

Washington Union Station
4400 Connecticut Ave Nw
50 Massachusetts Ave Ne

Washington DC Guide

Car Hire

America’s capital city is like nothing else in the country. Overflowing with monuments, world-class museums and busy-body politicians, Washington DC is rarely dull. Wander beyond the White House core and you’ll discover a vibrant patchwork of distinct neighbourhoods, each with its own demographic, attitude and ambiance. There is an overload of attractions and amenities in DC for every budget. With a car, you can also cross the mighty Potomac River and explore historic Northern Virginia, Maryland and quirky East Coast beach towns.

Who to Book With
Every car hire company on the planet, from global chains to regional outfits, has a strong presence in Washington DC. Both of the city’s airports are home to the big names in the business, but rental offices are also conveniently located around the major tourism and business zones of the city. Life never slows down in the nation’s capital, so be sure and book your vehicle well in advance to avoid high rates and a bad vehicle selection.

Best Time to Go
In most residents’ minds, spring and autumn are the best seasons in Washington DC. Summers are hot and humid, while winters are cold and damp. However, on the edges of summer, visitors will enjoy very comfortable temperatures and only moderate amounts of rain. Spring sees the cherry blossoms burst into life, but autumn, when the thousands of old hardwoods turn in October and November, is a solid contender for colour champion.

Need to Know Essentials
You need the following documents to pick up your vehicle:

- A valid driving license in English or International Driving Permit
- A second form of photo ID like a passport
- The credit card used in the online reservation
- A print-out of your rental confirmation

For more info read our FAQ's.

Driving
The original city planners laid out Washington’s streets in a very logical manner, using letters and numbers. It’s really quite easy to navigate the downtown district, although the many roundabouts and one-way streets, and traffic can be heavy. Rush hour runs from 06:00 to 10:00 and again from 16:00 to 20:00.

During the weekday, traffic is consistently dense and parking is very hard to find. There are metered street parking spots, but they require constant feeding and have two-hour limits. Parking garages and lots are found all over the city but are expensive at around US$8 per hour or US$20 for a day. Even your downtown hotel will likely charge you overnight parking fees. Fortunately, however, Washington is an ideal city for walking and public transport, so park the car, pay the fee and enjoy the capital on foot.

See our guide to the United States for more information on driving here.

Transport

Washington DC’s public transportation system is excellent. It is the transport mode of choice among locals and visitors alike due to the terrible traffic conditions that clog the downtown streets. The DC Metro subway is the best bet, backed up by a slew of bus routes and even more taxis. Driving in the capital is not recommended, but a car is ideal for heading out of town to explore Virginia and Maryland.

The most convenient ticket option is the SmarTrip card, which can be bought and then topped up with cash at automated machines in every Metro station. You simply flash the card to ride any subway or bus to enjoy reduced fares save the time and energy of buying individual tickets. A one-day Rail Pass is a good deal at US$9, but single-fare tickets can always be bought as well, costing between US$1.70 and US$5.75, depending on the time of day and the distance travelled. Metro buses cost around US$1.70 per ride, or US$1.50 with the SmarTrip card.

DC Metro
Washington DC’s subway system is the pride and joy of the capital. It should definitely be your first choice for moving around the city core and even well into the outskirts of the capital. With popularity comes crowds, however, so subways are often delayed during rush hours and on big-event days. There are 86 subway stops that hit almost every sightseeing attraction and interesting neighbourhood in the capital. The Metro operates between 05:00 and midnight (Monday to Thursday), 05:00 and 03:00 (Fridays), 07:00 and 03:00 (Saturdays) and 07:00 and midnight (Sundays). Keep in mind that no food and drinks are allowed on trains or even in the stations, and this is strictly enforced.

Buses
Where the Metro subway can’t take you, the Metro buses surely can. They cover hundreds of routes, but are not particularly user-friendly for tourists. A better option for visitors is the DC Circulator bus line that runs along five coloured routes between major tourist spots in the city. A single ride costs just US$1, and buses arrive every 10 minutes at each stop.

Taxis
There are loads of taxis cruising around Washington DC at all hours. They can be hailed on the street fairly easily, except during peak travel periods, or can be found parked in front of major attractions and transport hubs. Most taxis only accept cash and charge by both the distance travelled and time spent in the cab. Taxis cost around US$3 to get in and 25 cents for each one-sixth of a mile travelled. Yellow Cab is the most common company seen in the capital.

Exploring

There’s absolutely no reason to drive a car within Washington DC, but there are some amazing daytrips just outside the capital that add some nice balance to the urban grind. Washington is bordered by Virginia and Maryland, which begin right across the borer of the Potomac River. Choose from historic landmarks, large parks and seaside harbours, and use car rental to get you there.

Recommended Drives

The Inner Harbor - This is the star attraction of Baltimore, one of Maryland’s largest cities. This waterfront district is home to sightseeing highlights such as the USS Constellation, the National Aquarium, Camden Park baseball field and dozens of excellent bars, restaurants and shops.

Manassas National Battlefield - This is where two major Civil War battles took place, and offers a solid day out in northern Virginia. The park offers both walking and driving tours of the two battlefields, which are vast park-like expanses dotted by monuments and information centres.

Great Falls Park - Lies just across the Potomac River, offering more than 800 acres of beautiful forest for walking, biking or just enjoying a solid dose of nature. You can drive there in less than 30 minutes from DC and check out the region’s largest waterfalls and miles of casual riverside walking paths.

Practical information

  • Currency
    United States Dollar
  • Driving direction
    Right
  • City speed limit
    32 - 128 km/h
  • Freeway speed limit
    40 - 128 km/h
  • Language
    English
  • Popular car category
    intermediate
  • Popular rental companies
    Alamo Rent a Car

What most people want to know

The following questions and answers are a selection of the most popular questions. If you do not find the answer to your question, have a look at the Frequently Asked Questions page or contact us.
Is Carrentals.co.uk the cheapest? Yes, we offer a guarantee of the lowest price - because we compare various retailers, we can always offer you the best price in town. What do I need to do when picking up a car? To pick up your car, you will need your voucher, passport, driver's license and a credit card. It is very important that your driver's license and credit card are in the same name as the main driver. Keep in mind that the local rental company will reserve a certain amount on your credit card as a deposit. This requires the PIN code for your credit card. If your driver's license is foreign (for example, in Chinese), you must bring a translation with you. Only your original passport and driver's license will be accepted - a copy is not sufficient. Are there any additional costs? In general, our rates are all-inclusive. Should there be any additional costs, our booking department will get in touch with you before issuing the invoice. Should you object, you can always cancel your reservation with no obligations attached (at least 48 hours in advance). What kind of insurance is applicable to my car rental? In general, Liability Insurance, Fire Insurance, All-Risks Insurance and Theft Insurance are included in the cost of your rental car. What is a worry-free label? This label indicates that a rental car satisfies the following requirements: Unlimited kilometers, no excess liability (and no excess cover available), sustainable energy policy, and that the car rental company has a good reputation. Availability of cars satisfying these four requirements will speed up the selection of a suitable vehicle for you. How can I change or cancel my reservation? You can cancel your reservation through "My Account". We recommend contacting us by phone if your changes to your booking or cancellation takes place at short notice (48 hours or less). When will I get a confirmation of my booking? Most reservations will receive confirmation within minutes after payment takes place. We recommend contacting our Booking Department for last minute reservations (pick-up within 48 hours). Which car rental companies are compared by Carrentals.co.uk? at this location
  • Enterprise
  • National Car Rental
  • Alamo Rent a Car
  • Hertz
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • SIXT Rent a Car
  • Dollar Rent a Car
  • Thrifty