Discover seven easy tips for a stress-free time at the car hire counter. Keeping things simple when you arrive to pick up your rental car makes for a great start to your trip.
1) Take everything you need
You’ll need your driving licence, passport or other ID, and a credit card to pick up your car. Before you set off, check your rental Ts & Cs so you’re confident you’ll have everything with you and have no last-minute hassles. Anyone else who’s driving the car will need their driving licence with them too.
2) Get the best car for you
It says ‘or similar’ when you book a rental car, because the make and model you get is down to what the rental company has available. It’s worth asking what your options are. You may be able to choose what you drive. You may be offered a better car for more money. Don’t forget what you’ve already paid, to work out the true cost. If you’re interested, haggle on price. You could get a great deal. Decide what’s important for you: a bigger car might need a bigger deposit or excess – and more fuel.
3) Sort fuel & mileage
Most hire cars have a ‘full to full’ fuel policy. But tanks can be half full or less, so compare the gauge with the paperwork. Ask if your car takes petrol or diesel. Check if there’s a mileage limit. Some unlucky drivers get charged extra because they drove over a limit they didn’t know about.
4) Get comfy with insurance
Basic cover is usually included with the car, but it’s not comprehensive. The staff will encourage you to buy their own extra cover. You may find cheaper insurance online. Be clear and comfortable with what you’re covered for – and what you’re not – just in case anything goes wrong.
5) Be clear on charges
Sometimes you’ll pay extra charges when you arrive, such as local taxes or fees for adding an additional driver. Check what you’re being charged for so you don’t pay twice for extras. Ask how much the deposit is, and when you’ll get it back.
6) Read the rental agreement
Don’t feel rushed: take your time to read the rental agreement, so you’re happy with what you’re signing up for. You should also find your deal’s Ts & Cs online or with your booking confirmation so you can check them at your leisure.
7) Sort out your return trip
Before you head to your car, check where to drop it off to avoid stress at the end of your trip. Ask for directions to the nearest petrol station, so you can fill up before you drop the car off.
Then you’re all set to head to the car. Give it a once-over, take a few photos, check the fuel gauge and switch the sat nav to English if you have one.
Then you’re ready to start your holiday. Have a great trip!