Car rental is no child’s play, especially when you are traveling abroad. You may have tried to organize and simplify things by booking a rental car online. But think about the ceaseless paperwork that follows through.
The rental agent may try to confuse you with a plethora of added options, ones that may seem totally necessary but would only burn a hole in your pocket for no rhyme or reason. Alternately, you might leave the desk annoyed thinking you didn’t cover enough for an unforeseen contingency.
So here are a few tips to keep in mind while renting a car on your sojourn:
1. Stick to reputed brands
Smaller rental car companies may pull you with better prices and perks, but it’s always wiser to go with the established brands. Choose between the popular labels like Avis, Alamo, Hertz, Advantage, Enterprise, etc.
2. Don’t be impulsive
That yellow Aston Martin may fancy you, but don’t book it right away. Weigh your options even when you are booking online. You can always haggle over the phone and ask for daily deals and coupons. Besides, online prices are usually a fraction of the total cost that may include a couple of taxes and fees.
3. Avoid airports for a pick-up location
For the sake of convenience, you prefer to rent a car from the counter at the airport terminal. However, you aren’t aware of the surcharge you may have to pay to the rental car company for an airport fee. To avoid any exorbitant fee, you can take a bus or a shuttle to your hotel or any nearby downtown area and then rent your car.
4. Carry your Extras with you
GPS, baby seat, radio – these are all additional benefits that rental car companies may lure you into. But take a quick peep into the rate card first. These petty perks can add up to $4-5 each per day!
It is always more economical to carry your add-ons along. Of course, carrying a baby seat would be far too much while traveling. But you can always bring your portable radio and GPS with you. Also, make sure the rental car company removes these extras from the car and the bill.
5. Prefer credit card payments
The fine print of the rental car contract entitles the rental car company to hold on your Debit Card funds up to $500! Of course the funds are returned, but that’s a tedious process and may take weeks at stretch.
Hence, prefer credit card payments while renting a car. Aside from the fact that no money is held as security in case of credit cards, your insurance also gets covered in them.
6. Auto Insurance packs
Rental car companies offer you various auto insurance options to keep you safe in a foreign land. Liability insurance is to secure you against any damage caused to a person or his property by your rental car. Personal Effects Coverage secures your personal belonging, if they get stolen from your car. Likewise, Personal Accident Insurance caters to you and other passengers’ medical bills in case of an injury caused in a car accident.
7. Extra Drivers cause extra Dollars
You must know that drivers between the age of 21 and 24 are charged extra, simply because this age group is more prone to accidents. However, even if all your drivers are above 25, you will still have to pay additional fee for each registered driver when you rent the car.
If you don’t do so and the non-registered driver crashes the car, the liability would fall on you. Additional drivers’ charges may cost you a little extra, but it’s totally worth it if you aren’t sure you will be at the wheel all the way through.
8. Always fill the tank yourself
Rental car companies demand you to return the car with a full tank. You may have the option of getting it filled yourself or assign the job to the company itself with an additional fee. Always do it yourself!
Rental companies could charge you almost double of the actual gas prices, usually amounting to $6-8 per gallon.
Ensure the return of rental car on time, as even a 5-minute delay could add another day to your bill. Drive safe and enjoy your road-trip!