5 Car Rental Tips For The New Traveler
1. Know Your Car Rental Companies
When it comes to booking a rental car, sometimes it pays to rent from the majors. Unlike smaller, localized rental car companies, a major chain offers support and services in case of an accident, breakdown or other type of emergency. Here is a list of some of the larger, car rental companies:
- Hertz: Hertz is a car rental company known throughout the world. With a rental car hub in virtually every airport, this company can get you where you need to go, with practically any style vehicle you’re looking for.
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car: Like Hertz, this is another major car rental company that can be easily found in most major airports. They also have numerous hubs located throughout major cities, offering convenient pick-up and drop-off services.
- Avis: Aside from offering a great frequency program for those who regularly do business with them, Avis also offers a chauffeur service known as the WeDriveU service where guests need not worry about driving or navigating through unfamiliar roads or areas.
- Budget: Budget Car and Truck Rental has one of the largest selections of rental vehicles, from pick-up trucks to luxury sedans. Frequent renters can also enjoy special privileges and perks when doing business with Budget.
- Thrifty Car Rental: Offering 24-hour roadside assistance, pick-up and delivery service, preferred customer programs and Virgin Velocity points, Thrifty Car Rental is the epitome of why anyone would want to rent a car from a major company as opposed to a smaller, local company.
Before selecting a car rental company, make sure you review any club membership options that they offer. Some car rental companies may have more appealing perks and membership services than others. This can be very useful for frequent travelers.
2. Choose Your Car Wisely
Once you’ve gotten familiar with the car rental company you’ve decided to go with, you should have a good idea of what variety of cars they have available for you to choose from. Often times, these companies will have a list of cars available, with pictures, descriptions and gas mileage listed. While this is a convenient way to examine what car is best suited for your needs, it may not be enough to make a proper decision. For example, you may find an SUV rental that says it seats 7, when in reality it should only seat 5 adults and 2 small children. Do some online research or even visit the car rental agency to inspect a vehicle before choosing.
3. Use Online Resources
There is an abundance of online resources that can help you obtain the best car rental deals available. Start by visiting travel sites that might offer discounted rates on car rentals. You can even score bundled packages through airlines and travel sites for airline tickets, rental car services and accommodations to popular destinations.
Also, be sure to search for any car rental coupons or car rental discounts online. For example, Thrifty rental car coupons or Hertz coupons and discounts can be found with just a little internet research. Also be sure to visit the rental car company’s website for any news on discounts or special promotions, especially during travel season. If you do manage to find coupons for car rentals online, make sure you mention this to the car rental agency and present a printed coupon upon picking up the vehicle.
4. Read The Fine Print
Before you book your car rental, make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions as stated by the car rental company. What happens if you are late when picking up the car, or dropping it off after you’re done using it? Do you need to return the car with a full tank of gas? Is there an additional charge for adding more drivers to the vehicle, and must you list these drivers on the contract? How old does a driver have to be to operate the vehicle? Will you be penalized for returning the vehicle early? These are important things to look for before confirming your reservation.
5. Car Rental Insurance
Car rental insurance is one area where renters can lose money by paying for the optional service, or by waving it; it all depends on your particular situation. Many people often purchase the optional insurance, only to find that their own personal auto insurance or credit card company would have covered the damages. Many people also waive the optional insurance, only to find they have to pay a large deductible if they want any damage to be covered by their personal auto insurance. Before you decide on anything, talk to your insurance agent or credit card representative to find out if the optional insurance offered by the rental agency is worth the money.