Tips for Renting a Vehicle for Your Next Vacation/Jun 14, 2016
Whether you’re flying across the country or preparing for a road trip, there are a few things you should know prior to renting a vehicle.
Scour the Internet for deals
Whatever you do, don’t jump at the first deal you see. Check popular websites such as Budget or Enterprise to get a feel for the market, and then begin searching around to find top value.
There are often discounts for credit card of AAA members, so spend some time to determine the best deal for you.
Always read user reviews of the companies before renting. If they have a suspiciously low price, it could be for good reason. A rule of thumb is to look for the best value, and not just the lowest price possible.
Finally, avoid renting from places in close proximity to airports, as these places typically jack up their prices.
Read the Terms and Conditions
Most customers either skim over or completely ignore the Term and Conditions before renting. Don’t let this happen to you.
Some companies have unique stipulations, and you could be in a tough situation if you find this out when you arrive at the car rental company. Companies may have a restriction on age, charge a late fee, or charge you more if you go over the mileage limit.
Learn about the hidden charges
It’s almost a foregone conclusion that the price that is advertised will not be the same as the final price you pay for a car rental. There are often plenty of hidden charges that will pop up during your trip such as: gasoline, insurance, drop-off charges, airport surcharges, and/or additional driver fees.
Beware of Deadlines
Failing to return the car on time can result in a significant late fee, so read your agreement to find out your best option. In some cases, it may be a good idea to extend the rental contract for an extra day, as this can sometimes be a cheaper route.
Pay up Front
If possible, you should pay up front. Sure, you may incur a charge if you cancel, but the odds of that happening are low if you’ve already done your due diligence.
Paying up front is typically cheaper, and it’s also a not a bad idea to get some expenses out of the way before embarking on your trip.
Avoid paying for accessories
Whatever you do, don’t shell out extra money for accessories. If you need a GPS, either bring your own portable one or just use your smartphone. Paying extra for items you can easily bring with you makes little sense.
Check Your Car for Damage
Before driving off, check your car for damage. There’s a possibility that the car company didn’t detect damage to your car before, and may mistakenly charge you for it instead. If you see anything wrong with the vehicle, report it ahead of time to avoid any unnecessary fees.