Car hire can be confusing for some; it can be a complex procedure of choices and paper work that can leave you tired before you even leave for your onward journey. Here a few hints however that will help those who have never used a hire car to get the best from their experience.
Firstly it is important to book in advance. As with many elements of travel, booking your hire car early can pay dividends. Some companies will in fact increase their rates if demand is great, so by booking at least a week in advance you should be able to secure the price you will be paying. Also by booking in advance over a longer period it is possible with many car hire companies to receive considerable discounts on rates. It must be remembered that the company's cancellation policy should be studied in detail to see if any fines will be applicable.
When choosing a car hire company there are certain factors that you should base your decision on. Firstly of course should be rates, then vehicle availability and finally services. While it may be tempting to take the cheapest option it may be the case that services and availability suffer.
Regular travellers may want to look into frequent customer benefits while the occasional traveller will be more interested in the types of car that are available. Remember that if you are after a specific model you will have to book well in advance and perhaps call many car hire companies to ensure that model is available for reservation.
Service, as with many things in life should be of primary concern. If you have used a car hire company previously and liked the service or if you have a personal recommendation it is usually worth using this company again; selecting a company will however take some consideration. Research the efficiency and effectiveness of a company on travel websites to find a company that has a good track record; as stated previously, while a cheaper company may offer fantastic rates, service is something that is harder to quantify.
Whilst at the desk you will be bombarded with a variety of extra insurance policies for your hire package. This smorgasbord of options can be befuddling and while the benefits for some of these policies might be evident, the price does not always relate to value. A general rule of thumb is that if you are renting on business or for a short period these extra policies will probably be worthwhile, however if you are renting for a longer period of time it may prove to be an expense that is not viable.
Remember that when booking it is important to include all of the drivers that may be in control of the vehicle in the hire contract. By letting someone drive the car without them being included on the contract can void any protection you may have had. It may cost a little extra, but this sum will seem trivial if anything serious does occur.
Before you head out on your journey it is essential to inspect the hire car carefully and ensure that any damage is reported to the representative immediately. Charges for any damage above average wear and tear can be costly, so by doing this you cover yourself from any claims that the representative may have when you return the car. If the car does happen to break down, check you hire contract as many companies have their own free towing service.
By following this advice you car hire experience should go smoothly. While you cannot help accidents and breakdowns, you can plan for them, so look in detail at the insurance and policy extras. By finding a company with a good reputation any problems should be settled quickly and easily and you journey should be stress free, apart from the traffic of course.
Travel expert Thomas Pretty advices customers on how to get the best from their car hire experience.