When traveling, it is often best to rent a car. It gives you much more flexibility for getting out and exploring. Please note the following when renting a car.
Remember your driver's license and your credit card.
The most important thing first – you will need to have your driver's license with you. Leave it at home and you can say goodbye to your dream of driving a convertible in southern France.
Depending on where you are traveling, you may also need an international driver's license (IDP). This does not replace your driver's license, but complements it by translating it into different languages. It's handy to have one because it can resolve local law enforcement issues. IDPs cost $ 20, and AAA is entitled to issue them. More information on the application can be found on the website.
Another peculiarity of car rental agencies is that they generally require a credit card in the name of the person driving to secure any debris. They do not accept debit cards or credit cards in the name of another person. This can cause problems if a group of friends rent a car for everyone.
Check your insurance options.
You need insurance to drive a rental car. Most importantly, Collision Waiver Damage (CWD) coverage protects you against damage to the rental car. There are a few ways you can get it:
- If you have comprehensive insurance coverage for your own car, you may have CWD protection. Ask your insurer.
- Some travel insurances offer CWD protection.
- Many premium credit cards offer CWD protection as an advantage. See if this is the case with you and check the conditions.
- Some insurance companies offer CWD coverage plans. Contact a broker for more information.
Check the conditions and exclusions for these options. Your credit card may cover US, but not Europe.
If you do not have CWD coverage from another source, it will be sold to you by the landlord. However, their plans are usually costly and often have high excesses. If you can get it elsewhere, do it.
Book a Car
If you choose a rental car, you should research sites like AutoSlash and book kayak directly through the landlord. Aggregators are a great way to compare dozens of offers. However, booking through them can cause problems later.
If something goes wrong, customer service is much easier to handle if you book directly with the rental agency. It is far less likely that you will have problems with your booking, eg. They also receive loyalty points that can lead to better rates and upgrades across the board. As a rule, aggregators also offer a very low price, which excludes fees (eg insurance) that you have to pay to collect the keys. Booking directly through the rental company is less likely to incur additional charges.
There are no last-minute car hire deals. It is best to book a few days before your arrival if you want a specific vehicle class, eg. As a convertible or a van.
Pay attention to the extras when picking up
When picking up the keys for your rental car, be aware of the extras that they are trying to remove or upselling to you. If you do not have CWD coverage, the company offers them, and this can be difficult. The basic insurance coverage of a car rental company often includes a deductible of approximately $ 2,000. Some agencies insist that you leave this as a deposit or keep this amount on your credit card if you do not pay for one of the more expensive, lower-deductible policies.
Another common burden is the upfront payment for a tank of fuel. If you return the car with a full tank, they will refund it to you. If you do not, your payment will be forfeited. Landlords try to make this an advantage because you do not need to refill the car with gasoline before you return it. This is not the case – the price they usually charge for fuel is enormous.
A GPS device or satellite service is some optional extras that you may need to purchase. If you have children with you, additional fees may apply for car seats. You're better off skipping the ridiculous daily fees for all these things. Use your phone as a GPS and bring your own child seats.
Check the details
The devil is, as they say, in the details. Here are a few things you should check before you drive off.
- The Cleaning Directive . In rental cars, smoking is rarely allowed these days, but what about the chaos? Different companies have different policies when it comes to things like sand and dirt. If planning a beach trip, make sure you are not charged a high cleaning fee in addition to the rental price.
- The Toll Directive . Toll roads are a problem if you are traveling with a rental car – especially if you can not pay in cash. Check with the landlord how the toll is paid. Some charge a ridiculous "administrative fee" while others require you to pay with an app.
- The features of the car . Diesel and manual transmissions are widespread in many parts of the world. Failure to verify the details of your booking may cause a shock. Before handing over the keys to your agent, make sure you get the gear you want, and know what fuel the car consumes.
- The return process . Where and when do you have to leave the car? What if it's outside business hours? Inform yourself before departure so you do not panic at the end of your trip.
- Whether your insurance insures you internationally . In Europe, it's very easy to travel across international borders without your noticing it. This can cause a problem: you may not be covered by your insurance. If you are planning a trip that could take you to another country, make sure that you are insured there. There is almost certainly an extra charge.