Renting a car does not need to be as stressful as it sounds and shouldn’t be anywhere near as complicated as the process of buying a car. A common complaint is the that the overall experience of hiring a car is disappointing, with the main problems include lack of car availability, long queues and the added hidden costs such as child car seats.
There are several ways you can improve the whole experience and we’ve created this guide to show you not only how to save money but to also make the whole process smoother and easier to handle.
1. Book In Advance
One of the best ways to secure a good hire price is by booking months in advance instead of trying to hire one when you reach your destination. If possible you should do this when you book the holiday itself, as its been proven that users who book ahead save a significant amount of money.
Bundling your rental vehicle with your accommodation, flight or package may entitle you to further saving as opposed to making separate bookings.
2. Ensure The Size Is Right
If you are going to book in advance, make sure that you book one that will adequately fit the number of people that will be on the holiday as well as other items including luggage and prams.
If you make a mistake with the size, trying to upgrade once you reach the desk at your destination can lead to extra charges increasing the overall cost.
3. Insure Less Drivers
The more drivers you designate to the hire, the more it will cost so if you only need one driver then just stick to that. If, for example, you’ll only be using the hire care to travel to and from the airport then it may be a waste of time and money assigning another driver to the policy.
4. Bring Your Own Accessories
Hiring additional accessories is where car rental firms make the majority of their profit margin. For example hiring a sat nav from a car rental firm can cost up to $100 per week so if you already have one it’d worth bringing it on holiday with you.
Even if you don’t have one, you could buy your own with that $100 and can bring it home with you after the holiday and use it in the future. So upgrading or purchasing is definitely an option that should be considered.
5. You May Already Be Insured
Car rental insurance is a big money spinner for the companies and is a key upsell product. Most people already have car rental coverage which is provided by their personal insurance or credit card.
So, before you purchase hire car insurance, check your current policies to see if this is included. You can quickly do this by calling your provider or looking at the policy paperwork.
6. Check For Damage When You Collect
When you collect your car from the branch its recommended that you take photographs of the vehicle with your camera or cell phone. There have been plenty of stories where companies have rented out cars which already have damage and then when the customer has returned it they have been charged for damage that they aren’t responsible for.
At least if you have dated photos you can prove that it wasn’t you.
7. Renting Over Longer Periods Is Cheaper
You would think that renting a car over five days would be cheaper than over two weeks. However, its usually cheaper to rent over a longer period because firms know that business travelers usually book over a short period and aren’t as price sensitive as leisure travelers who book over longer periods.
So, if you’re going on holiday for a long period of time it may be worth renting the vehicle full the whole duration as the rental per day cost will be significantly less.
8. Avoid Renting At Airports
Rental firms that are in airport locations place an additional daily airport tax onto their rental costs which can be up to 25% of the total cost. So, you can save a large proportion of money if you pick up your vehicle away from the airport.
Airport tax is only charged when you pick the car up, so you’ll be free to return the car to the airport once your rental has been completed. However, a common added cost is when you pick up your car from one depot and return it to another, so you can avoid these costs by prick up and dropping off at the same location.
9. Comparison Sites
If you’re not able to bundle the vehicle higher in with your holiday package, then its recommended that you use rental comparison sites.
These sites will compare costs across hundreds of car rental firms allowing you to find the best deal but also have the widest range of vehicle types and sizes.
Do not assume that the cheapest price is on the price comparison site, because sometimes the best price is found directly on the car rental company website.
Also, have a look for any coupons or exclusive discounts that you can apply when you book directly on the company’s website to save you additional money.
10. Be Aware Of Added Fees
Taxes and hidden fees are common with vehicle hire, especially abroad so be aware of what you’re paying for in the rental agreement.
Petrol refills is a common issue because some agencies will charge you to refill the tank once you return. So by filling up the tank yourself you will save on these additional charges allowing you to have more holiday spending money available.
11. Do You Really Need a Rental?
Before you make a final decision, you should ask yourself whether you really need a rental car. Have a look at your destination and the local area as it may actually be cheaper to use taxis or public transport whilst saving you a large amount of money especially if your holiday is over a long period and you need to pay for parking.