Car hire can be a confusing experience at the best of the times. The reams of paperwork are the first factor to consider; in some cases these procedures can seriously slow you up meaning less time to enjoy yourself on holiday. With so many options today in the car hire market, it is understandable that consumers are often befuddled. Here is a brief presentation of tips and hints that should make your experience easier and cheaper.
The most important advice to those wishing to use a hire car is to book the car in advance. Like the majority of travel services, early booking will result in considerable discounts. It is the case that a number of companies will in fact increase the hire rates when there is a high demand, such as the peak tourist period or festivals. Hence, by booking in advance, you should be able to gain a discount and protect yourself from the increased rates at peak times. It is worth studying the car hire company's cancellation policy in detail as this will come into effect should you have to cancel your hire car. Cancellation however rarely carries a charge unless it is within a week of your hire period.
When you are choosing your hire company your decision should not just purely depend upon what type of car you would like. Firstly you should consider the hire rates, vehicle availability and service. It is always a tempting option to take the cheapest price, but rarely advisable, the relationship between price and services is strong, so while you may think you are getting a great deal; you may in fact be stung.
If you use a hire car company regularly it is normally worth enquiring about their loyalty packages. The benefits of these clubs can make rates more affordable although you may be limited by choice of cars. An additional benefit of being part of a car hire company's loyalty club will mean that they already know your details, so your transition from desk to car will be made that bit more simplistic and speedy.
One of your primary concerns should be the service the company will be able to deliver. At this stage you should never underestimate the worth of a personal recommendation. If you have a friend that has used a car hire company and thought the service was excellent, it would be foolish not to go with the company they have recommended. If you have no recommendations to go on, it is advisable to research as many companies as possible, comparing their prices and services via internet travel forums. Once again, the cheapest price may not bring the best service; in the same way, the most expensive does not guarantee unrivalled service either, only research and recommendation will enable you to find a good balance of cost and service.
Remember that when you are drawing up the contract for your car hire period it is advisable to add any additional drivers that may be in control of the vehicle. It is vital to tell the hire company about these people as if you do not it is likely you will invalidate any protection you may have had if something happens to the car. It may come as a premium, but adding extra drivers can enrich your trip by sharing the driving amongst the party.
With this advice you should be able to find a car hire company that not only fulfils your service requirements but is also easy on the wallet. A company with a well built reputation is the ideal as this will give more support in the event of problems. Just remember that your goal is to balance service against cost, finding a company that will serve you well at a reasonable price.
Travel expert Thomas Pretty looks into ways to select a car hire company and receive a great deal.