Although at times it can feel like the whole market is controlled by a few key companies, you still have lots of options when it comes to renting a car.
That being said, there are a few crooked operators out there who will try to take advantage of the fact that they know you’re in an unfamiliar situation and are likely hoping to get the matter settled as quickly as possible. Here are some smart and sensible tips to help you find a car rental, so that you can get the best value for your money.
1. Don’t end your search at the airport
Depending on the logistics of your journey, it might be worth it for you to pay the premium price that you’re likely to get from airport rental services. It is true that if arriving by plane, it is convenient to rent from the airport, but it is a convenience you pay for. Of course it depends on the city, but in many places you will find dealers that are located close to the airport but just far enough away to avoid having to pay the extra charges associated with having the operation set up right on site.
It is also worth looking into how close your accommodation is to a car rental service. You might be able to avoid the stress of airport pick-up, save yourself some money, and get your trip off to a better start if you take a ride from the airport to pick up your car elsewhere.
2. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone
Not all car rental agencies have been quick about getting their websites up to standard. Many still offer unclear information that is possibly even out of date. In order to avoid surprises when you go to pick up the actual car, call ahead.
When looking online, you will likely feel that you’re looking at mostly identical entries, differentiated solely by price and pick-up location. By making a call, you’ll have the opportunity to ask a few pointed questions and gather information that could take you hours to assemble navigating sites and review forums.
3. Don’t necessarily accept the first rate they give you
Companies will often try to charge a premium for younger drivers or people that their perceive as inexperienced or naïve. For rental companies, the statistical risk associated with youthful drivers may be a smaller liability that what would possibly happen in a few frustrated renters take to the online forums in order to speak out against their ageist penalties. Be honest about your expectations and make it clear that you’ve done your research before arriving.
4. Be smart when it comes to buying insurance
This is probably the biggest dilemma most people face when renting a car. Of course, no one wants to think about getting in an accident, and chances are that you won’t end up in one anyone, but you also have to take your peace of mind into consideration, not to mention what could happen in a worst-case scenario. One doesn’t have to look too hard to find a few horror stories of car rentals gone wrong.
Most experts will be quick to advise you that you are going to want to make sure you have insurance from the moment you take your seat in the car to the moment you’ve returned it safely to the rental company. That being said, the cost of insurance should still be reasonable and it is worth it to do your homework in order to make sure you’ll be able to identify a situation where someone is trying to take advantage of you.