Before you choose to hire a car there are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration. If travelling away from home by air, car hire is often the best option and thankfully many companies have desks at airport locations to make the transition from plane to car that much easier. Here are some helpful hints that will make your car hire experience simpler and even more affordable.
Firstly if you are part of a frequent fliers plan with a specific air travel company there may be the option of preferential rates. Many companies offer their customers unique discounts on car hire for those who use the service regularly. Before you travel it is definitely worth enquiring if you can apply for these discounted prices.
The internet is a wonderful resource and in the world of car hire this is no different. Most companies, especially the larger companies have websites that offer online booking solutions. These online booking options are often cheaper than phone booking, sometimes as much as ten percent of the price.
Before you hire you should always get a clear idea of what the hire contract contains. Firstly you should get a full understanding of what the insurance covers, checking liability clauses to see if you will be held responsible for any damage to the car is also essential. An added concern you be whether you are the only driver able to drive the hire car, if you want somebody else in your party to be able to drive there is often an applicable surcharge.
At the time of booking you should always ask for a conformation number as this ensures you have fulfilled your booking obligations. Keep this number with you when you travel to ensure your reservation is upheld. If travelling by air it is also worth giving the rental company your flight number and arrival time; by doing this, if your flight does happen to be delayed your reservation should be kept open for you until you land.
Car upgrades may always seem the best option when at the car hire desk, especially when offered at no extra cost. Be careful though, larger cars are often less fuel efficient and subsequently your fuel prices will be higher. If you are worried by the high prices of fuel or even the environmental concerns of driving a larger car, insist that your hire car is smaller and more economical.
If the car had a full tank of fuel when you started your hire period, ensure that it is returned to the rental company in the same way. The fuel excesses charged by companies for filling cars can add a nasty surprise to your bill on returning the car. It is usually cheaper to refill the car yourself rather than rely upon the company's refuelling service.
Before you leave the lot of cars make a detailed check of the condition of the vehicle. Looking for signs of damage and the mileage information is essential. Let the agent know of your findings to ensure they are fully aware of the state of the car before you left, by doing this any queries over the condition of the car when you return can be negated.
Most of us would not even think of drinking at driving, but this is especially important when using a hire car. Most contracts will be declared null and void if you are found to be over the limit. The insurance policy you have with the rental company will be most likely voided if you happen to have an accident under the influence of drink or drugs.
Enquire about the specific time when the car must be returned, many car hire companies will charge heavy penalties for late returns. Charges are usually worked out on a twenty four hour basis so even if you return the car just an hour late, it can be considered the start of another twenty four hour period and hence another full day's charges.
Following this advice should lead to a pleasant car hire experience; ensuring your liability is clearly defined and the rental company are fully aware of any defects with the car is fundamental. Other than that, just remember to take a map of the area to ensure you do not get lost.
Travel expert Thomas Pretty looks into ways to make your car hire experience more enjoyable and to ensure your contractual responsibilities are fulfilled.