Tampa Airport Car Rental

Tampa International Airport Background…

Tampa Bay, Florida was the birthplace of commercial flights. The first commercial airline flew from St. Petersburg, FL to Tampa Bay, FL on January 1st, 1914. In 1928, six miles from downtown Tampa Bay, Drew Field was completed. It served as the main airport in Tampa until 1935, when Peter Knight Airport finished being built. Mostly unused, Drew Field was taken over by the United States Army Air Force during World War II, was modernized and renamed Drew Army Airfield. After World War II, the major airline operating out of Peter Knight Airport, which were Eastern and National, moved to Drew Army Airfield because Peter Knight Airport could not handle the larger aircraft that were starting to be used to move more passengers at a time than ever before.

When the Army relinquished control of the airport, the name was changed back to Drew Field and the Base Operations Building was converted into a terminal. International flights started when Trans Canada Airlines created regular routes from Drew Field to Canada in 1950, causing the name to change to Tampa International Airport. The airport is the thirtieth busiest airport in North America, with more than fifteen million passengers per year, and was named one of the ten best airports in America by CNNGo in 2011.

Starting out in Tampa

Tampa International Car Rentals…

There are two sets of car rental companies available to passengers at Tampa International. The on-airport companies, located in both the Red and Blue Baggage Claim Areas, include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, National and Thrifty. The off-airport car rental agencies that can be accessed by the Commercial Ground Transportation courtesy vehicle service found in the Baggage Claim Level include Ace, Action, Advantage, E-Z, Fox, Payless and U Save.

Ace and E-Z Rent-a-Car (picture below) are located right next to each other on W. Cypruss Street – just East of Highway 60.  There is a convenience store located right next to each of these, making it a great place to re-fuel before returning your rental car.  Payless is situated on 1965 North Westshore Boulevard, just South of West Spruce Street.

Regardless of where you pick up your rental (on-site, or to one of the various off-site locations mentioned above), make sure you get specific directions on how to return your rental car.  You certainly don’t want to travel back to the airport to return a rental car that was never picked up there. 

To get to downtown Tampa Bay, after landing and obtaining your rental car from an on-site location, drive away from Tampa International via George J. Bean Inbound Parkway, which is the only road in or out of Tampa International. Continue to follow the parkway until you merge onto Memorial Highway, and keep left until turn onto I-275 East. A few miles later, you’re in the heart of Tampa. Coincidentally, if you follow the same directions, but go right onto I-275 West instead, you’ll end up crossing Old Tampa Bay, which is an actual Bay, and head straight into downtown St. Petersburg.

E-Z Rental Car Tampa Florida
The Above picture is copied from Google Street View
Tampa International’s Other Amenities...

There are no hotels located on the airport’s premises. However, if you follow George J. Bean Inbound Parkway out of Tampa International and turn left onto W Spruce Street. From W Spruce St you have access to W Boy Scout Blvd, N Obrien St, and N Westshore Blvd, all of which sport popular fine hotel accommodations.

There are a lot of restaurants open inside Tampa International for more than twelve hours a day. Whether you’re looking for something quick like Burger King or something nicer like Carrabba’s, Tampa International has something for your dining needs. It’s something nice to look forward to both before and after a long flight.

Also, Tampa International has a myriad of shopping boutiques and establishments to fit all your needs. You can find whatever you need, whether it’s a book to read during your flight or a change of clothes. Tampa International is also a great place to pick up last minute souvenirs and gifts. Most shops are open from seven in the morning until nine at night, something to keep in mind when deciding on arrival and departure times.

Other Car Rental Options at Tampa International…

Need an SUV, truck, or luxury sedan? Looking for a taxi, limo, or some other form of transportation? Tampa International Airport has whatever you need to make your ground transportation dreams a reality. With so many different car rental companies to choose from, you are the only person standing in the way of you and your dream rental vehicle. Remember, waiting last minute is a sure way to end up with a vehicle you’d rather not be caught dead in or paying ridiculously high prices for the vehicle you want. Use a little foresight and reserve your vehicle online at a cheaper price, saving yourself both time and money in the long run.

Source: Tampa International Wikipedia

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