Getting the Best Deal on Your Hire Car

The flight is booked and the accommodation is paid for; now all you need to do is arrange car rental. This can be a major holiday expense, but it does not have to be. Use the following tips and you may be surprised by how little it can cost, even in peak holiday season.

Booking the car

  • Book in advance – The earlier you book the car the cheaper it is likely to be. Remember that most rental firms will charge more at the desk than via their website.
  • Shop around – Use price comparison websites like to make sure you get the best deal.
  • Local websites – Using the website of the country that you are visiting will sometimes secure you a better deal than the English language version.
  • Package deals – A package or fly-drive deal can be cheaper than booking separately. However, this is not always the case so be sure to do your research.
  • Be clear about what you want – Don’t let yourself be talked into a more expensive car. Opt for the cheapest one that fits your needs.
  • Extra drivers – If you are sharing the driving with someone else, arrange this in advance. It may cost more if you inform the car rental company when you get there.

The extras

A deal may sound good, but watch out for extra charges increasing the cost. Some car rental companies will charge extra for having satellite navigation in the car. Driving in an unfamiliar place can make it tempting to take this option, but the cost can be avoided. Using an app that turns your mobile phone into a sat-nav, or simply bring your own sat nav from home will help you to avoid this expense.

If you have young children, a car seat is vital for their safety as well as being mandatory in many countries. Car rental companies often charge by the day for the hire of these seats. To avoid these costs consider bringing your own car seat from home. If this is not possible, some airports have stalls that hire out car seats for less than the car rental company.

Fuel charges

Check the company’s fuel charge policy as they can vary from company to company. Many companies will provide your vehicle with a full tank of fuel and expect it to be returned full, however, in recent years some companies will provide and charge you for a full tank, even if you do not use it all. If you are hiring for a short amount of time and for limited driving, bear this in mind when choosing your rental vehicle.

Excess insurance

It’s a good idea to take out excess insurance; otherwise, you may end up with a hefty bill for a few scratches to the car at the end of your holiday. Car rental companies commonly provide an excess waiver option themselves, but this can be appreciable more expensive than arranging an excess policy in advance.

Car excess insurance is usually calculated per day. If you are hiring a car for a longer period, or need to hire a car more than once in the year, it is likely to be cheaper to take out an annual policy.