Whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure, if you don’t have your own car a rental vehicle is the next best thing. Whether you’re driving all the way or you decide to rent a car upon landing in your destination country, driving a rental car comes with a lot of responsibility, and it can cost a lot if you’re not careful. From additional unnecessary GPS costs to damage fees, unless you know your way around renting a car, it can break your bank. For all the first-time car renters, the following tips will be invaluable.
Check the exterior
Regardless of how famous and trustworthy a rent-a-car business is, you should always take their reputation with a grain of salt. Don’t be fooled by the appearances, but always double-check the vehicle before driving it away. Some companies will conceal defects sneakily and make you pay for the scratch on the hood because they’ll claim it was your doing. Always inspect the rental car thoroughly and take pictures of the exterior and interior. That way, you can have before and after images to prove that you are not to blame for any damage if you bring the vehicle back in perfect condition.
Skip the GPS, take the insurance
One of the fees that many people pay without realizing that they’re wasting their money is the GPS fee. Every rental company will offer you a GPS and, at first, everyone will say it’s a great necessity. However, you can download a free map of the region you’re travelling to that will work well offline. Save hundreds of dollars by taking time to think and not rush into any decisions. However, after you skip the GPS fees, don’t skip insurance. After all, you’re paying for peace of mind. Whether it’s your fault for scratching the car or the other driver’s for bumping into you, your rental insurance will cover the costs of the damage.
The more active drivers, the higher the fee
Did you know that, in some countries, you’ll have to pay extra for every active driver? You’ll need to tell the rental company about the number of drivers that will take turns behind the wheel during your trip. You’ll have to pay up to $20 per day for every driver. The price will go even higher if the driver is under 25 years old but still legally allowed to drive. So, when you decide to rent a car, only have one or two drivers signed up. If the trip is long and you don’t want to stop for a sleepover, having a spare driver will be a safer option than driving tired all night.
Choose the right size
The size of the vehicle you’re renting is crucial for a comfortable journey. You won’t feel equally comfortable in an SUV and a sports car, so think well about your needs. If your entire family is going on a trip, with luggage and all, you’ll need to look for a 5-seater SUV hire that will offer a wide range of quality SUVs to make you feel at ease and enjoy your trip from day one.
Stick to paved roads
Unless you’re renting a terrain-friendly vehicle to go on safari, you’ll want to stay away from unpaved roads. Highways are the safest routes that will keep the rental car in good condition. People at the rental company will advise you on the most suitable and less suitable routes, so always take their advice to avoid getting in trouble.
Fill the tank before you return the car
Finally, once your trip is over and you’re about to return the vehicle, don’t forget to fill the tank up. If you return the car with an empty tank, the rental company can overcharge you for all the gallons you were supposed to fill but forgot or denied. Those 10 minutes that you’ll spend at a gas station can save you plenty of money.
Renting a car will require careful thinking and good planning. Know your rights and your duties so you don’t get overcharged. Look after the car, and drive responsibly for everyone’s safety. Stick to paved roads, inspect the vehicle before you drive off, and always fill the tank before you return the car.