Friday, 14 August 2009

Top 20 Secrets Of Car Rental - 20 Car Rental Tips!

Okay, so I've been working at this company for over 6 months now.
I feel like I can finally give you guys tips and secrets of car rental.
These tips will save you money and a lot of headache!
  1. Always make a reservation in advance! The desk price is ALWAYS higher, and by quite a bit. Shop around on travel websites and look for good deals.
  2. PRE-PAID VOUCHERS will be the cheapest option, and the rental company will "block" your card for less, because you've already paid for the entire rental! Also, Make sure you verify what extra charges you might incur on top of the pre-paid vouchers - airport fee, extra driver, baby seat, different location drop-off!
  3. Smaller car rental firms will offer better deals, but their locations will be less conveniently located and will most likely not be open 24 hours a day.
  4. Airports are expensive! Airport surcharges can reach $30!
  5. Bring your own baby seat / GPS - these will save you about $5-10 per day each.
  6. Prices vary from day rates / week rates / monthly rates. Consider taking the car for 7 days instead of 6, this may save you quite a bit. Some companies offer weekend deals, check!
  7. Bait & Switch! They'll lure you in with "$9 per day", but you'll be forced into spending an additional $20 on mandatory insurance.
  8. Insurance is expensive! In most European countries, insurance is not optional and you'll spend anywhere from 50% to 70% of the rental charge on insurance alone. CDW is the basic insurance.
  9. Rental employees will usually try and sell you supplementary insurance (NDI or LDW) This is usually not necessary. It's a sure-way of the company to get their money. IF YOU THINK that you may be involved in an accident, this will be worth your while, because you'll spare the "deductible" which is usually anywhere between $400 and $1500, depending on the car. No types of insurance EVER cover glass and tyre damage. ONLY PREPAID VOUCHERS DO ON SOME OCCASIONS!
  10. Always book the smallest car you think will fit you. Since the smallest and cheapest cars are the most commonly booked, they'll be the quickest to run out. We've often given out Intermediate sized cars even when the client booked the smallest car available. If you book at the airport or a large location, this will probably not be the case. This will more likely work in smaller locations
  11. Diversify your credit cards! A lot of times, various companies will offer better deals for different types of credit cards. American Express Centurion, Mastercard WORLD, Visa GOLD (Canada) all offer cheaper and more comprehensive insurances!
  12. Fill up right before you get to the car-return! Some companies charge 150% more for petrol! NEVER opt for the 'prepaid petrol'
  13. Additional drivers will cost you $3-10 per day. Consider whether this is really necessary. If it is, try and book this in advance, it may save you a few $$$. Some pre-paid vouchers will offer this free of charge! Try Holiday Autos or Dertour!
  14. You really don't need the International Driving License unless your license is in a non-roman alphabet print. Make sure your license is valid for the country you are traveling to!
  15. Be nice and get an upgrade! Since upgrade rates don't exist per-se, you may be able to score a better car for less! A standard upgrade will be about $10 per day, but you may be able to get a car two classes up for the same price. Negotiate and be friendly to the car rental employee, and they'll likely oblige! Note that larger cars usually use more petrol, so the upgrade may cost you dearly..
  16. Negotiate the extra-driver charge! Some employees will be likely to give it to you for free if you are nice!
  17. Call the office you're renting from! Some locations don't offer 24hr service! Don't be stuck in the middle of the night outside a closed rental office!
  18. Remember to walk around the car and have the employee show you EVERY damage there is, and mark it down. Get a copy! Make sure the spare tyre is there and that you know how to replace it in case you need to.
  19. Make sure to get the emergency number, just in case you get stuck. Cars break down a lot, and rental cars even more so than your usual car.
  20. Different countries have different car fleets. You may have booked a manual Opel Corsa, but you may be getting the automatic equivalent of that specific country. In Europe, most cars are Manual transmission, but elsewhere, manual transmissions are rare! You may not be getting a manual/automatic car. Check online with the company that you will be picking your car up from and not the one you ordered from, because there will likely be a difference!