Top Tips for Hiring a Car
If you’re heading off on a holiday with your friends or family members, you might be looking to rent a car for the duration of your trip. Hiring a car means never being beholden to public transport systems, giving you much more freedom to explore this new environment. In some remote regions, renting a car is the only way to travel – unless, of course, you’re content to stay in one spot for the entirety of your holiday!
Ironically, though hire cars offer freedom and flexibility, they can also be the cause of plenty of complications – not least escalating costs that can really put a dampener on your trip. Here are some top tips for hiring a car on your next getaway:
Do your research beforehand
If you turn up at your destination airport or train station without a booking, you might face an incredibly high rate for your hire car – not the best start to your trip! Conduct as much research as you can in the run-up to your departure, shopping around all of the popular providers, as well as some more localised hire firms.
It’s worth checking your quotes numerous times before you commit to a booking, because prices can fluctuate enormously, especially in peak season.
Choose a suitable vehicle – and consider added extras
The type of car you choose to book will depend on the number of people on your trip, how many children are present, and what type of terrain you’ll be tackling. A couple with no children and minimal luggage on a city break may be best-suited to a small, efficient car (perhaps an electric vehicle, if they’re available), while a large family with children and lots of suitcases and bags are sure to need a people carrier or an SUV.
You should also think about whether you’ll need any added extras. Car seats for children can be expensive when they’re booked through the car hire firm – why not see if it would be cheaper to bring your own from home? The same goes for bike racks, satnavs and snow chains.
Don’t be fooled by the insurance hard-sell
The sales staff at any car hire desk will be well-drilled on convincing their customers to buy extra insurance which can be very expensive. Steel yourself for some scaremongering – and be prepared to turn it down.
You might be better placed to turn down any extra insurance they’re offering if you have already booked a policy in the UK. Hire car excess insurance is available from independent providers for as little as £1.99 per day – an enormous saving on the high rates quoted at hire desks on the day.
Pay with a credit card if possible
The vast majority of car hire firms out there will need some kind of deposit or a copy of your card before you drive away. Providing a credit card not only prevents the firm from having access to your bank account, it also offers you an added layer of protection, in case there’s a dispute you need to raise with the hire firm. If you find that the hire company has taken money from your account unnecessarily, typically you can have the transaction frozen while a dispute is raised and investigated.