Hiring a car can be a fantastic way of exploring a country at your own pace. No need to rush to catch trains and buses, and a great way of avoiding inflated taxi rates. But with so many horror stories surrounding car hire, many holidaymakers are often put off the idea, plagued by stories of huge excesses and hidden fuel costs. WLMG car dealership has put together ten helpful tips, from planning your vehicle hire to driving on the roads, to try and ease the fear of foreign car hire.
1. If you are pre-planning your vehicle hire and booking before you go away, shop around. Car rental comparison sites only show the bigger companies, many smaller companies are not listed on these sites in order to save themselves money so you get you a better deal. Check forums and travel sites for reviews of companies in the area.
2. Try to avoid hiring a car from the airport as the prices are extremely high. If you can use public transport, or a taxi to your hotel. Booking from where you’re staying, or in the nearest local town could save you a lot of money.
3. Be sensible about the type of car you hire. Do you really need the latest sports model, or would a small city car suffice? The more expensive the model, the more expensive your hire.
4. If there is an option, rent a diesel car. They are much cheaper to run than petrol engines and you won’t feel as if you have wasted your spending money filling up the tank.
5. If you are traveling with children take your own car seat. Hire companies charge outrageous prices for the rental of child seats, adding up to 30% on to the price of the rental in some cases.
6. With a hire car you are covered by the most basic of insurances, and leave yourself open to high excesses if you are involved in an accident. Hire companies will try to sell you top up insurance, which is highly priced and often does not cover excess. However, you may be purchasing unneeded cover. Many insurance policies you hold with your own car at home, will cover you in such instances, check with your own insurer before you leave.
7. Always double check you have the right documentation with you in order to hire a vehicle, it saves disappointment and your deposit. In general you will need your passport and both parts of your driving license, as well as a card to make your payment. Some countries require you to have international driving permit, you can apply for one of these through the Post Office, always make sure you check each countries requirements before flying.
8. Always pay using your credit card, as it provides better security. Many credit companies will cover unexpected costs acquired with rental vehicles such as damage, theft and towing with rental insurance cover. You are also then able to hold the credit card company jointly responsible if anything goes wrong with your payment, not to mention you won’t be left stranded in a foreign country with no money.
9. When you receive your hire car, take time to thoroughly check the entire car for any dents, scratches or damage that you might be charged for when you return the vehicle. Taking pictures on receiving the car is often a good idea, and will avoid any charges for anything that wasn’t your fault. Don’t panic about how long it takes you to complete these checks, it’s better to take your time, than to be charged for something that wasn’t your fault.
10. Driving laws vary dramatically between countries, so check up on local driving laws before you fly. Being aware of the road law and how other cars around you will be driving, will lower the risk of accident.
When driving on any roads you are not familiar with, keep aware at all times, and if in doubt slow down, get plenty of rest and if you can, assure there are two drivers so the pressure is not always on one person. But most importantly enjoy your travels, keep your eyes up, some of the most beautiful sites can be seen along the road side in many countries. Happy holidays!