National Car Rental Prize Giveaway. Give Me Your Best Travel Tips About…

Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman starred in the 1986 mini-series Fresno. Fresno was supposed to be this backwater place, an absurd location with which to parody soap operas. I lived there, a few years after the mini-series debuted. And I even have fond memories, there are many more things to do there than when I was there on and off from 1989 through 1996. I spent a ton of time playing $2 blackjack at the Indian casino…

What does this have to do with rental cars? As I’ve written in the past, there are only two real game changing innovations in rental cars that I can think of in my lifetime. One is keeping your information on file so that you can be pre-assigned a car and take off by showing just your driver’s license. The other is picking your own car.

The pioneer in the space, of course, is National with its Emerald Aisle. I love National’s “Go Like a Pro” slogan because their Emerald Aisle concept, to me, is the perfect frequent business renter feature.

National knows that business trips (and leisure trips, especially to visit family!) don’t always take folks to the most popular, most conventionally exciting destinations. If they did, there wouldn’t be air service to Omaha, Des Moines, Milwaukee, or Boise.

National, though, thinks that off-the-beaten path destinations can offer a lot to folks visiting, with the right inside tips. They call these places “Underrated, Over-Traveled.”

And since I used to live in Fresno, I decided to focus there. It’s also been many years since i lived there, and it’s changed a ton. So I’d love to learn the latest tips.

Prizes: When there’s something on offer from a company for me, my practice is to try to make it available to readers instead. I am not taking anything for running this contest. Instead, there’s a ‘grand prize’ in addition to five winners.

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • $250 AMEX gift card
  • National Extreme Sport Duffel
  • National Case Logic Zippered Tech Journal
  • National Ultimate Privacy Luggage Tag
  • National 14oz Striped Coffee Tumbler
  • National BicRoundstic & Notepad

Five additional winners will receive the following prize pack:

  • $50 AMEX gift card
  • National Extreme Sport Duffel
  • National Ultimate Privacy Luggage Tag
  • National 14oz Striped Coffee Tumbler

How to enter:

Leave a tip about Fresno, California either

  1. as a comment in this blog post, or
  2. via Twitter mentioning @garyleff and the hashtag #NationalUOT

You may leave as many tips as you’d like, but each must be a bona fide tip about Fresno.

    The tip can be about anything as long as it can reasonably be put on a map. (National will be sharing tips on its Foursquare page, and by entering you explicity grant permission for this with or without attribution.)

    Subject area examples include Dining, Sports/Activities, Bars/Nightlife, Outdoors/Park/Public Facilities, Arts/Films/Theater, Historical/Famous Landmarks.

If you enter via twitter, you must also follow @garyleff so that I can direct message you if you win. If you don’t follow me on twitter you won’t be eligible.

If you enter here with a comment on this blog post, the email address you identify yourself with (which won’t be published online) must be real so I can contact you if you win.

Entries must be submitted no later than Noon Eastern time on Friday, July 18. I will pick the winners.

The fine print: the contest is open to US residents only (talk to the lawyers on this, sorry!). I’m the final arbiter in all matters related to this contest and in all matters of interpretation. There is no appeal. I’m doing this because there’s an opportunity to send out some cool prizes from a brand I like, and not taking anything from them in return, so please don’t give me a hard time in the process. However do note that National Car Rental is sponsoring the prizes.

    You can join the 30,000+ people who see these deals and analysis every day — sign up to receive posts by email (just one e-mail per day) or subscribe to the RSS feed. It’s free. Don’t miss out!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Think like a kid to enjoy the best of what Fresno has to offer! Go for a swim or an early morning bike ride. Better yet, in this agricultural center of California, go the County Fair. This year’s dates are October 2-14.

  2. The Forestiere Underground Gardens are really cool, and a nice way to escape heat

  3. There are 25 CVS stores near Fresno and many will sell VRC’s to you with a cc:

  4. Just moved away for a job out of college 2 years ago but Fresno has some cool things to offer.

    1. Doghouse Grill – Try the Craiger (chicken sandwich) and definitely get some fries (best fries anywhere in my experience). Their pulled pork sandwich is always a local favorite too; and it’s across the street from the Save Mart Center for basketball games, concerts, etc.

  5. 2. The Elbow Room – Located off of Palm and Shaw in the Fig Garden area. Great atmosphere and really good food. It’s been a local staple for years.

  6. 3. Great jumping off point to Yosemite National Park – Fresno is only 90 minutes or so from Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. If your physically up to it, Half Dome is a challenging but doable day hike and the views are magnificent. Note, you need a permit now to climb and the last couple hundred feet up the granite of Half Dome itself is very slippery so bring gloves for the cables. A couple people seem to die every year.

  7. 4. The Fresno Grizzlies – Fresno is home to the San Francisco Giants AAA affiliate. While I’m not a Giants fan, I did have a chance to see Buster Posey, Tim Lincicum, Madison Bumgardner, and a others before they broke into the Majors. Plus the atmosphere is great.

  8. 5. Fresno State Football – Historically Fresno State puts a good product on the field and has several players in the NFL. Get there early and tailgate because unfortunately, there’s no alcohol for sale in the stadium, but security is not very secure 😉

  9. 6. Fresno State Farmers Market & Winery – Fresno State has one of the best Enology programs in the country and produces both red and white wines (both are excellent) on site. Because of Fresno’s importance to American food production, the Farmers Market also has some of the freshest and tastiest produce around. Try the sweet corn (especially on the BBQ), you won’t be disappointed.

  10. The Park Inn by Radisson has a nice, big outdoor pool if staying with kids. We gave the kids a break mid-trip and just let them play in the pool all day.

  11. When you fly into Fresno, take a trip over to Clovis, and hit up the fantastic In ‘N Out on Herndon Ave. That’s a California must-stop for me, even though I rarely eat fast food.

  12. The National Parks: Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon…. Even Death Valley.

  13. Fresno is the one of the very few places in the US that has a Radisson, a Park Inn, and a Country Inn. Perfect place for a Club Carlson MR!!

  14. The Chaffee Zoo is nice, especially on nights when they serve ice cream for the Ice Cream Zoofari!

  15. I love Woodward Park too – take some bread to feed the ducks! Or go for a nice long run.

  16. Fresno is very much improving in the dining scene (finally!!) and a good new restaurant is Limon (peruvian food) in Fort Washington area. The food is catered a bit toward Central Valley tastes (aka you won’t find any cuy here) but they do have some really great dishes like Lomo Saltado!

  17. The Tower District is a great place for bars and nightlife. Hit up Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater for an enjoyable dinner show, and then finish the night at Cuvee wine bar!

  18. Island Waterpark is worth the drive if you are even close. A great time for the kids

  19. If you want to travel slightly beyond Fresno into the wilds of Clovis, you absolutely should go to Jimbos on Herndon 🙂 It’s exactly the kind of place that represents the “true” Clovis: cowboys, coors light, and juke boxes.

  20. Another relatively new, but incredibly awesome breakfast place is Batter Up Pancakes at Cedar and Nees. They serve all kinds of incredible pancakes, including oreo, ice cream sundae, pb&j, and so many more. Even the plain buttermilk pancakes are delicious!

  21. Last tip 🙂 The Berrock Shop is an institution. I’ve never actually had a a bierock outside of Fresno, but this place makes them so well that I might not have to 🙂 Now I’m feeling nostalgic!

  22. Oh! One important thing to note: If you are trying to visit Fresno as an SPG elite – you’re out of luck. Starwood doesn’t have any properties in Fresno or the surrounding area. The closest is 2 hours away in Bakersfiled 🙁 But if you have Club Carlson or Marriott, you’ll be set.

  23. OK, for those into shopping, Fashion Fair mall could be a good way of spending time (and money!)

  24. There is a vast homeless encampment on G Street where it passes under the 41 freeway. This might ordinarily not be on one’s list of places to visit, but a local artist has commemorated those who have passed away with a memorial. It’s quite moving.

  25. Fashion Fair Mall, mentioned above, is noteworthy as the only mall in Fresno to host both Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny (in season only, of course).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.