23 useful tips for renting a car for your trip

When it comes to making a tourist trip through a certain country where you are not going to focus on a specific city, renting a car  is from my point of view the ideal solution.

It allows you a great autonomy, not depending on public transport, and in practice it becomes the only way to visit the most hidden corners .

That’s my experience and that’s why I always try to use the car as a means of transport during my travels.

Glastonbury south of England
Glastonbury south of England

Then, and from that experience, here is a series of tips to take into account when renting a car and try to get the best offer .

Tips for renting a car

Car rental offers

The offer of rental car companies is very broad, and the prices and availability of models that offer you may differ depending on the country and the location where you are going to rent.

Therefore, when renting a car, it will be necessary to spend some time looking for the best offer.

What car to rent

The models car rental offering the usual you are in the country you are visiting, so you can find any make or model you might not know.

But in the end what you really have to hire is a type of model with a certain size and characteristics.

Fataga in Gran Canaria
Fataga in Gran Canaria

Book a rental car online

It is essential to  hire the rental car online in advance of your trip, even more so in times of high tourist season.

In this way you can analyze the existing great offer, choose the type of vehicle you need, find specific offers, and ensure that when you arrive at the destination you have a car already booked.

If you leave it for the end, and you try to rent it directly in one of the rental offices of the destination, it will cost you more expensive and you will have to settle for the model you have at that time … if there are vehicles available.

Driving rental car for several countries

When you rent a car to take a trip, it is generally possible to use it to travel through other neighboring countries, except in some cases where it is not allowed.

Therefore, if you plan to visit another country with the rental car , you have to make sure in advance that it will be possible.

Of course, in general, you must return the car in the same country where you have hired, and if they allow you to do it in another country, they will charge you an important surcharge on the price.

Rental car in the United States
Rental car in the United States

Type of car rental companies

International companies to rent a car

To hire a rental car , you can do it through international car rental companies like ( Hertz ), which offer a wide range of models that tend to be renewed with great assiduity. They often have offers and price promotions, such as a discount if you book in advance, although, in general, their standard prices tend to be more expensive.

Local companies to rent a car

You can also hire it in small local car rental companies .

These last ones will offer you cheaper prices, although their offer of models will be more limited, and surely you will not be able to contract it in advance via internet .

Car rental comparators

From my point of view, the most interesting alternative are the car rental comparators  like Rental Car , which is the one I use regularly.

They work with numerous rental companies and usually offer the best prices since they can manage surpluses.

Rental car in the United States
Rental car in the United States

Prices and conditions of car rental

The prices of rental cars vary considerably depending on the country you are going to visit, the type of vehicle you hire and the company where you rent it.

Payment of car rental card

In general, when looking for a rental car on the websites of rental companies, although you have to provide the number of the credit card, the payment is not made until you pick up the car.

Of course, keep in mind that you may have an additional charge later on the card if you have to pay the franchise for an incident or a fine.

Online car rental payment

There are rental companies that if you make the payment online when you hire the car through its website , they offer you a better price  with a discount of plus or minus 10 percent.

Likewise, in the case of the comparison websites of car rentals (like Rental Car ), you also make the payment online , and when you pick up the car you will only have to pay the rental company the supplements you can hire (second driver, franchise … )

Final amount to pay

Now, keep in mind that in the end the amount of this supplement can be important, so get used to the idea that the amount you will finally pay can be almost double the price that they offer initially.

Rental car in the United States
Rental car in the United States

Which rental car to choose

When looking for the car, the important thing is to have well defined the type of vehicle you need and the size that offers you enough space for the number of travelers you are going to travel.

And, above all, do not forget the space needed for luggage. Therefore, it is better to hire a larger vehicle than you might be happy with.

Rental car equipment

The equipment of rental cars is usually basic, but there are elements, such as air conditioning, which is important to determine. There are other options, such as GPS, which can be very useful when traveling in other countries.

What insurance to hire for the rental car

Very important is the subject of car rental insurance .

In the price that you advertise the different companies, and for which you initially hire the car, includes only basic insurance in the case of collisions and theft, with a franchise that would force you to pay, in case of incidence, really important amounts, which they can go from 500 to 1,000 euros.

Therefore, you should seriously consider extending the insurance benefit, for example, with the relevant additional cost with respect to the initial price in order to cover said franchise.

Gas station in the United States
Gas station in the United States

Optional insurance for the rental car

When you pick up the car you will be offered the improvement of these collision and theft insurance , as well as an insurance for possible personal injuries or all risks for the aforementioned collision case .

As I said before, in the end, the actual rental price of the car can be almost double that initially advertised and hired. Keep that in mind.

Is it worth paying the franchise for the rental car?

Another different formula is that offered by some companies, specifically, car rental marketing.

You can hire an additional insurance franchise  for which you will be paid the amount that you can claim the rental company in case of having an incident with the vehicle.

The amount of this insurance of the excess for damages comes to suppose about 10 percent of the initial price. Yes, read the “fine print”, that is, the terms and conditions of this insurance to know the exceptions.

Requirements to rent a car

To rent a car you need to have a credit card type Visa (OJO, no debit cards), because that is the means of payment which will charge all costs, initially contracted, and possible future expenses such as traffic fines or expenses of repair of the vehicle.

The minimum age to rent a car is usually 21 years, and if you are between 21 and 24 years old, you may be charged a surcharge.

Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms

If during the trip you are planning to have a second or third driver , this is an additional service that you must hire in advance.

You have to indicate the name and the driving license number, and keep in mind that you will have to pay a small surcharge.

Cancel car rental reservation

If you are not going to travel at all and you have to cancel the reservation, you can usually do it without charge up to 48 hours before the scheduled time for collecting the vehicle.

Collection of the rental car

The most usual place to pick up the rental car is usually the airport, although you can also do it in the offices that are in the railway stations or even in the center of the city.

When you arrive to pick up the car, you may not have available units of the specific model you have requested, so they will deliver a model of the same category (or size).

It can even happen that they give you a car of a higher category, or with better equipment of the contracted, but you have to respect the price.

Isle of Skye in Scotland
Isle of Skye in Scotland

Gasoline in the rental car

In general, the rental car will be delivered with a full tank , and you will have to return it under the same conditions.

Before delivering it, it is totally worth stopping at a gas station to complete the deposit, otherwise, you will be charged an estimated amount of this cost, which is always much higher.

Another option that they will offer you is that you pay the amount corresponding to, for example, 85 percent of the cost of filling the deposit, which will save you the time and the worry of filling the deposit before returning the car.

Delivery of the rental car

If you rent the car at the airport , make sure you arrive early enough so you do not miss your flight. Even up to an hour before the advisable time of arrival, since the delivery procedures may be delayed with the vehicle’s revision.

Also, the rental car rental offices may be located in an adjacent area of ​​the airport, from which you will have to go to the terminal by bus or indoor service train, which will require additional time to get to the counter boarding

Delivery of the rental car in another city

If you plan to deliver the car in a different place than where you have picked it up, in many cases you will be charged a surcharge.

You have to previously inform yourself of this point, because it can significantly increase the rental of the car.

Where to hire the car rental

Then, for hiring the rental car for your trip, you have the link to one of the most prestigious international companies.

You also have a link to a car insurance comparator