You are finally ready to take that long deserved family road trip vacation but you are going to need to rent a car. Before partaking in your road adventure, you want to make that the vehicle you’re renting fits all your needs.
Factors to consider before renting a car
Needs Assessment. This should be your first consideration. If you are flying somewhere and plan on doing some sight-seeing independently, then you need a car. A car allows you the freedom to pick where you want to go and on your own schedule. Although some package deals offer excursions for a nominal fee, you have to adhere to the tour company’s agenda. However, a car rental will provide you with the opportunity to plan out your vacation and sight-seeing destinations according to your own itinerary.
Car Selection. Nothing is more frustrating than arriving at the car rental company and realizing that the car you reserved in advance is too small. A common mistake amongst travellers is to pick a smaller car in hopes of saving some money; however this can result in major problems depending on the number of passengers and their accompanying luggage. When choosing a car, consider the age and size of the occupants that will be riding in the car, and the amount of luggage that you will need to transport from the airport to your accommodations. Keep in mind that the longer the vacation, the greater the amount of luggage so plan accordingly. Also, consider what kind of activities you will be doing: if you are planning on taking long trips from your base accommodations, a larger vehicle is more comfortable for travellers than being cramped into a compact car.
Finding the Deals. Some car rental companies’ offer a discount if you are travelling on certain airlines, employed by a specified company or association member such as CAA or other similar organizations. You can also search online for promotional deals advertised on selected travel sites or check the rental website to see if there is a discount for booking online. Compare rates from companies located directly in the airport versus those off-site such as Discount Car and Truck Rentals which are usually cheaper due to reduce service fees paid by the rental car company that are passed on to the consumer.
The Insurance Factor. Check with your current automobile insurance company and see what coverage you have that can be transferred to a rental car. Also, some credit cards offer limited coverage; contact the credit card company and inquire as to what insurance components are covered if you pay for the car rental on their credit card. Additionally, be sure to obtain a copy of the credit card agreement which will provide proof of the coverage they offer.
Get it in Writing. A common complaint with rental cars is that the final price never matches the advertised price. Nothing is more frustrating than discovering the total cost exceeds the price you were quoted and now you feel trapped into signing the agreement. Prior to your actual vacation and booking the car, ask the agent for a written quotation for the final cost of the car rental including insurance (if needed), taxes, service charges and fees. With this quotation, you will know exactly what you are renting, and at what price.
Check the Fine Print. Before signing on the dotted line, read the contract thoroughly for any restrictions that make apply. Restrictions to be aware of include limited travel range or mileage allowance, who can drive the vehicle and late drop off charges. Senior travellers should check to make sure there aren’t any maximum age restrictions and related service charges.
To improve your rental car experience, be sure to shop around for the best price and ask questions so you know exactly what you are paying and what you can expect.
About the Author: Riley Gladstone is a travelholic. When she is not traveling the world, she’s writing about her travel adventures. You can find more her travel tips on her blog, TripHole.com. The photo in this post is fully owned by Riley Gladstone, the author of this post.