4 Things to Consider to Make Your Car Rental Booking Smooth
Wondering whether to get a car rental for your next holiday? Well, a car rental certainly offers you freedom as well as flexibility while traveling and even in certain parts of the world, it’s the only practical way to get around. However, it also may add certain complications to your plan; e.g. you may have to search a lot for the best deal or be left wondering which insurance would be the best for you. Here are a few useful tips on understanding your car rental terms and conditions, avoiding problems and possibly saving money.
1. Selecting the Right Vehicle
Selecting the right vehicle is perhaps the most important decision while going through various options of car rentals. If your children or a lot of luggage is with you, you may need a SUV or a large sedan. If you are just looking to save money on gas and rental rates, you may need to book the smallest possible vehicle.
However, size may not be the only aspect to consider. You may want something environment-friendly. Today several car rental companies provide hybrid vehicles. Unable to drive a stick shift? Make sure you book a car with automatic transmission. (A manual transmission may be the norm in several countries; so, make sure you read the fine print prior to booking). Also check if the company is offering any extras, such as a car seat, a ski rack or a GPS system.
2. Booking the Car
Major international car rental companies work all through the world. So, you can get them easily anywhere. However, based on where you are traveling, consider local companies if they are offering lower rates. However, before booking, read reviews about them to make sure they are reputable.
Also make sure you shop around. Go through main booking engines and aggregator sites for getting an idea of rates. But don’t forget to visit the website of the car rental companies; sometimes, they offer attractive discounts.
If you belong to any major credit card programs, frequent flier programs or major national organizations, ask if you can get any discount. They often provide deals on car rentals. If you are an employee of a company that often rents cars, they too may have a negotiated rate. Just be sure you check.
3. Understand Your Rental
If you want to book online, don’t forget to read the terms and conditions keenly before confirming your booking. If you will be booking over the phone, ask about restrictions. Make sure you fully understand the conditions of your booking. How long will the vehicle be held if you’re caught into traffic on your way towards the pickup station? Will you be penalized for a no-show? Can your 20-year old daughter drive the car? (This is important for liability reasons). Do they charge any fee for additional drivers and is it necessary to add their names to the contract?
If applicable, ask whether there are any restrictions on traveling across state or country borders. To protect you in the event of a breakdown, make sure the agency has offices in all the states or countries that are on your itinerary.
4. True Cost
To avoid any unpleasant surprises, understand that the rate advertised in big print may later become inflated with various other fees and taxes including airport surcharges, local and state taxes, insurance, drop-off charges, gasoline bills and additional driver fees. All these may even total up to almost double what you are expecting to pay.
Also understand that the advertised rate may only be for off season or for a vehicle size that you may not find suitable.
Recently, major booking engines follow more transparency about rates and usually show the total cost of your car rental along with estimated fees and taxes, quite early during the booking process.
Take all these things into consideration and you may book your car rental more smoothly to enjoy it truly during your vacation.