Raleigh Durham Airport Car Rental

Raleigh-Durham International Airport Background…

The first airport to open in the Raleigh, North Carolina region was the Raleigh Municipality Airport in 1929. However, it didn’t last long. In 1939 the North Carolina General Assembly called for a new airport to be built that could facilitate the air traffic for both Raleigh and Durham. Four years later, On May 1st, 1943, the Raleigh-Durham Airport was opened to commercial flights by Eastern Airlines. Its passenger terminal was built from left over barracks materials that were originally used to build four barracks at the nearby Army Air Forces Air Technical Service Command Airfield. The three runways that were all first implemented in 1951 are still used today.

Slowly over the years, mainly after World War II, more airlines began to add Raleigh-Durham Airport to their list of hubs. International flights eventually became a regular occurrence through Raleigh- Durham Airport and the “International” was added to the title accordingly. While it may come from humble origins, the two terminal/three runway airport now sees more than nine million passengers annually.


Raleigh-Durham Intl. Airport Terminal


Raleigh-Durham International Car Rentals…

Eight car rental agencies are located throughout the airport grounds and accessible by shuttles that run every fifteen minutes. You can catch a shuttle at any of the terminal baggage claim areas under the green bus shelters marked “Rental Car” and you will be taken directly to the car rental agency you choose to purchase your rental car from (of course, Eurocarrental will get you the cheapest, but maybe you don’t want the cheapest?). The eight choices include Avis, Alamo, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty.

Once you have your rental car, you can get out of the airport a variety of ways depending on where you’re trying to go. If you’re trying to get to downtown Raleigh then you’ll want to follow Terminal Blvd until you reach the I-40 South on-ramp and then follow I-40 South all the way into Raleigh. Durham can be reached by taking I-40 North, which will also start you off along the path towards Charlotte or Richmond, although you’ll want to get further directions for either location before heading out.


Reedy Creek Bridge


Returning Your Rental Car to the Raleigh Durham Airport…

After you pull into the Terminal Boulevard, you will essentially circle around the area in front of every terminal and begin to travel out of the Terminal Boulevard.  Just before you exit out of the area, you will exit left.  The sign will say “Return to Terminals – Rental Car Return”.

Once in the rental car return center, simply watch for your rental car company’s sign and enter in.  Budget, Enterprise, Avis, and Thrifty will be on your right and the rest of the car rental companies’ parking lots will be on your left.  A shuttle will take you back to the terminal that you will need to fly out of.  That’s it!


Before you take your car back, however, you will probably need to re-fuel your rental car.  There are three gas stations to choose from located close to Raleigh-Durham International. A Kangaroo Express and Mobil can be found straight down Terminal Blvd close to the I-40 on-ramp after the road turns into Airport Blvd. Sheetz can be found south of the airport along Aviation Parkway just before you enter the airport, a great location if you want to make sure without a shadow of a doubt that you will make it back to the rental agency with a full tank of gas.

Hotels Near the Raleigh Durham Airport…

Raleigh-Durham International offers the Fairfield Inn on airport grounds. If you’re looking for a hotel off the airport but still nearby, just drive down Terminal Blvd until it turns into Airport Blvd and take your pick from one of the many you’ll pass by. Otherwise, there’s always the interstate, which has plenty of different hotel accommodations on nearly every exit.  It’s exactly what you would expect with an airport hotel.  Prices are slightly higher than you would pay off-site, but the convenience may just be worth it to you.


Fairfield Inn Raleigh Airport



Other Airport Amenities…

Terminal 2 is the main place for all your dining needs, although there are a few choice restaurants located around Terminal 1. There are only three little shops in Terminal 1, all of which can also be found in Terminal 2. So pretty much your best bet for any leisure before or after your flight is to head over to Terminal 2. You’ll also find a spa, a flower shop, and a foreign exchange store during your time in Terminal 2. Wi-Fi is offered throughout both terminals thanks to AT&T. The only real item of note in Terminal 1 is The Club, which offers complimentary food, drinks, free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, and a full service bar.

Car Rental Options at Raleigh-Durham International…

Whether you’re looking for an SUV, a typical sedan, coup, or an off-road vehicle, you should be able to find something at one of the car rental agencies around the airport. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, then you either missed out because someone beat you to your dream rental vehicle or you have too high of aspirations. To combat the former, reserve your vehicle as soon as you possibly can. To combat the latter, realize that no one in their right mind would allow someone to rent a rare or extremely expensive car. 

Source: Raleigh Durham Airport Homepage

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