There are plenty of reasons to rent a car when it comes time to travel.
Whether on business trips, family vacations or other occasions, renting a car holds many benefits. It’s convenient and saves you money. It also gives you and any guests you have the freedom to travel on your own adventures.
However, it is not as straightforward as you would think. There are a few things to know so you can avoid renting the wrong car for your trip.
Here are five key tips for renting a car to make your life easier.
1. Do your research and book ahead of time
This may seem the most obvious of the five tips, but this cannot be stressed enough.
Search comparison websites to find out the best prices before your trip or vacation and always book at least 24 hours ahead of time, ideally longer. This is to avoid any astronomical rates.
Also, it is always the right call to avoid walking from your flight straight to the nearest rental agency. Never expect the charges that come with short notice rentals to be affordable, and this can ruin your whole trip.
2. Make note of every mark or scratch
What’s the only thing worse than the feeling you have when you get the blame for someone else’s mistakes? Paying for someone else’s mistakes! Do not let this happen to you.
Take pictures, make notes and let the agency know of any bump, scratch, mess or mark in your rental vehicle, no matter how trivial it may seem.
If the previous renter has damaged the car and no one has spotted or noted it, you will more than likely be the one who has the privilege of paying for it.
This is a small tip that can save you the hassle of an extra expense so don’t forget it!
3. Pour your own gas
Everyone loves a gesture of goodwill, don’t they? Well, yeah but there’s always a catch when it comes to car rental.
You’ll be given the option for the agency to fill the gas tank themselves upon returning the car, saving you some time. This is almost always not worth the cost as you’ll likely to be hit with a premium gas bill.
Be smart: find a few minutes in your day to top up the gas yourself in a nearby gas station. This is one of those tips you find out the hard way, and you don’t want that to happen to you.
4. Try not to be hit with airport surcharges
By now we already know that these offers of goodwill come at a price, and the airport is no different.
The airport will often offer to collect your car and return it to the rental agency you picked it up from once you’ve boarded your flight home.
Although, this convenient offer can at times be met with a hefty price tag which is not worth the money.
It might take some rearranging for your schedule, but at times it will work out cheaper for you to drop the car off yourself and make your way to the airport via public transport or a taxi.
Do your homework, check cab fares in the area and compare them to the airport’s rates because at the end of the day, no one minds keeping some cash in their pocket.
5. Avoid the dreaded second-driver charge
This final tip will likely be the one to cause tension on family or friend trips, but I promise it’s for a good cause!
Additional driver fees are easily avoidable. It is just another expense you can do without to allow yourself to save some extra money.