Vacations should be relaxing, but they can get pretty stressful when you’re spending too much of your holiday checking bus schedules or flagging down expensive cabs. The solution: renting your own set of wheels. But before you hop into any car on the lot, check out these tips for getting the most out of your rental.
Find the Rental Deals
There are dozens of rental agencies littered all around most airports of the world. But the first agency you come across will rarely offer the best deals, and what you gain in convenience is often reflected in the price. If you’re looking to save some money, consider taking a shuttle bus or a taxi to the city’s core, and do some shopping around.
Once you’ve found a suitable price, do a quick Internet search for the rental company in question. Pair this search with words like “promotion,” “offer code” or “coupon.” You’ll be surprised how many additional discounts are available through online promotions.
Get to Know Your Vehicle
A lot of rental cars will come with bumps and scratches from previous excursions. To avoid being accountable for these damages, make sure to perform your own inspection of the car before you drive it off the lot. Take note of any dents, scratches, engine trouble or anything else that just seems off. Then mention it. Document any discrepancies with your camera, and alert the agent who is carrying out your transaction. Whether it’s an honest oversight or a blatant scam, a quick survey of your vehicle will prevent a lot of unwanted rental headaches.
Be Insurance Savvy
You’re not obligated to buy insurance from the rental company, but most will offer you car insurance, and some will even pressure you to buy it. So do your research before you agree to any additional fees. If you’re already paying insurance for your own vehicle, it’s likely that your coverage extends to rentals of a similar vehicle type. If you’re unsure, call your insurance company to find out exactly what coverage you’re already paying for, and ask if it might be a good idea to agree to the additional fees.
Understand Your Contract
Are you allowed to take your rental car onto unpaved roads? Do you have a maximum kilometre limit? Is your rental one-way, or do you have to return it to the same agency from which you borrowed it? These are all important details that will be outlined in the fine print of your contract, so make sure to read it fully before you sign. Don’t hesitate to ask the rental agent for clarification on any confusing points.
Investigate the World of Car Sharing
If you’re planning on spending your trip in one city, you might want to consider a short-time subscription to a car-sharing service. Each service differs slightly, but standard practice has you paying based on your total distance travelled. Car shares can often be more convenient, cheaper and use subscriptions rather than contracts, so you’ll pay for only as much time as you use. The only major downside is that car shares restrict their users to travel within specific cities, so if you’re planning a road trip, it’s often better to stick to traditional rental models. t8n
Did You Know?
In Canada, we’re familiar with minimum age requirements when it comes to car rentals. But in many countries, rental agencies impose maximum age limits, meaning that seniors and teens find themselves in the same boat when trying to rent a car.
A 2014 survey found that car-share services in Canada own a total of 5000 vehicles and serve over 289,000 users. That number has only grown.