My Top Travel Tips for Car Hire

The world is rife with amazing destinations. However, not all are easily accessible via transit. Buses and trains usually only offer point-to-point transport – that means no stops in-between. If you want true freedom of movement, you’ll need to hire a car.

If you are renting a car on vacation, you may be on new and unfamiliar roads, and may also be tired. Combined with all the regular dangers of driving, including poor road conditions, careless drivers, and distractions, increases the risk of having an accident in a rental car.

Nervous? Don’t be – after acclimating yourself to your vehicle and local driving conditions, it’ll be like riding a bike. That said, you should keep several things in mind to ensure your rental experience is a positive one. 

In today’s blog, we’ll run through them, one by one.  

Book your vehicle online – not in-person

For many travellers, car hire is a spur-of-the-moment thing. You heard about this cool place in the countryside, but you need a car to check it out. If at all possible, we advise reserving a rental vehicle online.

Rates for walk-ups can be eye-wateringly high. At the airport or even in the city, they have you over a barrel. By booking ahead of time, you force car hire agencies to compete against each other. This way, you’ll get much lower rates.

Auto Europe allows you to easily search and compare rentals from leading providers such as Sixt, Alamo, Budget and Hertz. With prices as low as £4 per day, you can find the best car rental deal for your trip. Best of all, they have 60 years of experience and offer free cancellation up to 48 hours before pick-up, plus there are no credit card fees.

Thoroughly inspect your vehicle before signing anything

Not all rental agents are honest operators. Some use dings and scratches to justify “repair charges” that can cost you hundreds or THOUSANDS of pounds. Before signing the rental papers, inspect your vehicle from top to bottom.

Photograph anything you find – scratches, dents, cigarette burns, etc. – and bring it to the agent’s attention. By doing this, they’ll be less likely to engage in shenanigans. If they do, you’ll have evidence to the contrary.

CDW – a good idea or not?

At some point, the agent will ask if you want to purchase a CDW, or collision damage waiver. This purchase can be a good or a bad idea – it all depends on your situation. It’s a great idea if you don’t own a car. While you are a licensed driver, lacking a vehicle means you don’t have insurance. Because of this, you will be on the hook for ALL damage caused.

On the other hand, a CDW might not be necessary. If you own a vehicle, your insurance policy may already cover damages incurred whilst driving a rental. Also, some credit cards include car hire damage, so check with your issuer before booking a vehicle.

Drive with care

As you pull away from the car hire agency, you may feel empowered by your insurance or CDW cover. Don’t let this feeling of invincibility seduce you. Car hire agencies are private businesses. As such, they can decide some customers are not worth the trouble. Bring your vehicle back with speeding tickets, damage, etc. too many times, and you might find yourself excluded from future rental opportunities.

Refill your tank before returning your vehicle

Weeks after bringing back a car, many car hire clients are shocked to find an unexpected charge on their credit card. If you fail to bring back your vehicle with the agreed-upon amount of fuel, you may get charged a premium by the agency.

Often, this rate can be 50% higher (or more) than the prices at local service stations. Take five minutes to top off your hire car – your wallet will thank you!

Victoria Brewood

Hi I'm Victoria, a British girl from Manchester. After graduating from university I decided there was more to life than the hours between 9 and 5, so I packed my journalism degree into my suitcase to travel the world and find a way to make money at the same time. I now call London home, although I still travel whenever I can. I hope to inspire you to be your own boss, live life and see the world.

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