header print

Keep These Tips in Mind Next Time You Rent a Car on Vacation

Vacation season is here, and after being cooped up in our homes for the better part of two years, the entire world population is in a travel frenzy. So much so that airports around the globe are on the verge of collapse. We're here to help you enjoy the long-awaited vacation with a guide and tips for the easiest car rental ever: what to look for, what to avoid, and how to score some sweet deals.

Take size into consideration

Car rental sign
When traveling abroad, especially in Europe, a smaller car is usually easier to maneuver. The roads tend to be smaller, and if you're entering a city, finding parking will be much easier with a compact car. They also use less fuel too. That being said, if you're going to spend a lot of time in the car, if you're traveling in a big group or with children, or if you have a lot of luggage, it's best to invest a bit more and rent a bigger car. You'll thank yourself later on when you don't have to be crammed in a tiny car with all your suitcases.
To easily decide which car will suit you best, define your needs by considering the following factors: the distances you'll drive, the time you'll spend in the car, the size of your luggage and party, and the budget.

Make sure you know how to operate this vehicle

Car rental tips, accepting keys
What do we mean by that? Of course, you have a license and many years of experience on the road, but if you haven't driven a manual gear in over a year, it's best to best avoid it. Manual gear cars are far more common in Europe than in the US. Personally, I prefer those because they use less fuel, but if you haven't driven a manual in a while and still think it will be a breeze, here's a tip from my own painful experience: re-adjusting to manual gear may take up your entire vacation. Skip it.

Opt for larger companies

As much as we love supporting small businesses, when it comes to renting a car for your vacation, your own comfort should be your only concern. Bigger companies always have the biggest fleet to choose from, thus increasing the chances you'll find a car tailored to your needs.

Read the fine print

Car rental tips, accepting keys

Some fees you can't avoid, and that's fine, but some unnecessary fees will try to make their way into the final bill through the fine print. Read each section in the paper you're signing carefully and ask about anything that may seem out of place.

Some fees are unregulated and don't have a set cost, meaning one company can charge more than the other for the same thing. Here are the most common fees you're likely to pay:

- Sales tax
- Vehicle license recovery fee
- Parking
- Concession recovery fee
- Customer facility charge.

Your best strategy to score the best deal is to do your research at home first, gather information about fees and rates, and compare them. Read into customer reviews as well, and take into account the customer service experience as well to know how smoothly things are likely to be if you get into an accident or your car breaks down. 

Look around for any services included in the fee, such as free GPS or additional driver's insurance. 

Additional things to keep in mind

Car rental tips, renting at the airport
- The fewer drivers, the cheaper.
- Young drivers under 25 usually increase the fee.
- Check whether your personal car insurance covers rentals.
- Just like flights, prices for car rentals fluctuate almost hourly. Booking early is a great way to have a little more wiggle room and, perhaps, even score a lower price.
- Rentals at the airport tend to be the priciest due to the airport fee they add. In other words, the same car from the same company will likely be cheaper if you rent it away from the airport. Here's the nice thing: you can still return the car at the airport. Just don't rent it from there. What a win. 
- Document and photograph the car from every angle when you rent it, including time stamps. Return it with the gas tank full.

A word on car sharing

Ask yourself: do I even need to rent a car? If you're going for a city vacation, chances are you'll use the car for very short and occasional rides. While car rental companies do offer short-term rentals, or pay-by-distance/minute deals, sometimes car-sharing services and apps end up being more economical. 

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Next Post
Sign Up for Free Daily Posts!
Did you mean:
Continue With: Google
By continuing, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy
Sign Up for Free Daily Posts!
Did you mean:
Continue With: Google
By continuing, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy