How to Rent A Car for First-Timers
We are experts in car rental tips and how you can rent a car. There aren’t many things that we don’t like doing while traveling, but renting a vehicle is one. We travel full-time, so we will inevitably need to rent an executive car service san Francisco to see new places. Also, we have rented cars around the world, too many to list. Want to make it easy for you to rent a car, even if this is your first time.
Rented more than 50 rental cars in over 60 countries and on six continents. Also moan and grumble every time we think of renting a car, anticipating booking another.
After repeatedly repeating this dreadful task, we have some useful tips and hints for renting cars. This post will share our favorite tips and tricks for renting a car, whether you are looking to rent abroad or domestically.
Our Best Car Rental Tips: How to Rent a Car
1. Avoid Airport Surcharges
Avoid renting from airports if you can. For the convenience of dropping off your car at the airport right before your departure flight, you will be charged a premium.
Sometimes, the convenience is worth it. Many car rental agencies within the city offer lower rates. Consider your options and decide if it is worth driving to the city first, then rent.
This was done in Calgary recently when Enterprise charged $50 for airport pickup. We saved $25 on a taxi ride to the city. Since we arrived late, we didn’t have to rent a car for the first night of our stay in town.
2. Car rental insurance may not be necessary
Great Car rental companies will try to sell you insurance. This begins during the booking process and continues when you arrive at your office to pick up your car. Sometimes they are polite and decline to accept our offer.
Sometimes, they refuse to insure us and scare us until we buy their absurd insurance plan. This is more common with smaller companies, not big brands like Enterprise and Hertz. But it all depends on where you live!
Americans can own an auto insurance policy covering collision damage or personal liability. To find out what coverage is available, it’s worth calling your insurance provider. Many travel credit cards offer secondary CDW to supplement your primary insurance. A few credit cards offer primary CDW insurance. We have this with our Capital One(r), Venture(r), Rewards Credit Card, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve (r). Two great travel credit cards.
3. Get the Right Card
A credit card is the best option to rent an SUV rental car service. Let me now focus on credit cards that provide primary rental insurance. I love the Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit card, but its primary rental insurance is my favorite perk (including Priority Pass).
You get primary coverage all over the globe for up to $75,000.
4. Do your Homework
Are you looking for a way to rent a car in the UK? Remember to do all your homework first. Before we reserve a rental car, we do our due diligence online first. We will usually start with Explore Cars to get an estimate of the cost of a rental car. As these booking engines are often very low in price, we always click through to the reservation.
These third-party booking websites will also show results from random car hire companies. I have never heard of Dave’s wild west, 1800Cars, ZoomZoomCars. The list could go on and on. We always research these random rental car companies before we accept them. Google reviews are always the best place to start!
We book with well-known rental agencies like Alamo and Enterprise nine times out of ten. No more problems bookings with third-party companies, so we don’t believe they are fake. We often visit the website of larger companies when we book with them.
5. Review Your Experiences with a Grain of Salt
Learn how to read reviews about rental cars efficiently. Doing my research on car rental companies is a must. I also read reviews about the branch. It is important to remember that I do not take all reviews as seriously as hotel reviews. Reviews can easily get upset, and often it’s because of circumstances that could be avoided or are just plain stupid.
They either didn’t refill their tank when they returned their car, their GPS had an extra charge, and they were charged for tolls. All of those reviews are ignored when choosing a car rental company. If someone is unhappy, it’s more likely that they will write a negative review than if they are happy.
I note any concerns about customer service, cleanliness, quality of cars, or if the branch tends to charge credit cards in an overbilling and random manner. Do your research before you make a booking. Although I have not seen an agency that has received perfect reviews, I have seen the difference between rated places and those with 4+ stars.
6. You can fill the tank yourself
This tip is important to remember when renting a car. Although it may seem convenient, the rental agency will fill your gas tank with fuel after you have dropped off the car. You will end up paying more for this convenience. You should ensure enough fuel to fill the car up before you return it.
Because you are convenient, rental car companies may charge a premium for the gas. Some poor car rental companies (ugh, hum Rent a Cheapie in Cape Town) even required us to provide a receipt proving that we had just filled up the car at the closest gas station. We were completely frustrated and wasting our time.
You can also prepay fuel. Prepay rates are often lower than in the area. However, you will be purchasing a full fuel tank, and the rental company is betting that you won’t return it at exactly zero. Prepaid fuel is usually a winner. It’s best to refill it yourself whenever you rent a vehicle.
7. Do not walk up and book a rental car
Another great tip for car rental is this. You can find the lowest car rental rates online, just like a flight. You might find that your rates can skyrocket if you book a car less than 24 hours in advance.
You’ll be shocked at the high prices if you walk out of the plane to rent a car. Our goal is to have a car available for rent within 24 hours. You might prefer smaller independent providers that can negotiate a lower rate if you have a short-notice car rental.
8. Stay with one driver
You might be wondering if adding another driver when renting a car is a good idea. Also may be charged an additional driver fee if you add another driver. You may prefer to designate a driver to drive the vehicle if it isn’t a long distance.
Cameron is our only driver on road trips. Cameron has driven more miles than he can remember on foreign roads, like 25,000 in Africa.
9. Get 25+
You may be asking yourself, “What do I need to rent a car?”. If you are under 25 years old, the United States will charge you a “young driver fee”. Your mid-twenties can be a good time to embrace car rental rates!
I opened a free account in the USA when I was less than 25 years old. This account waives the young driver fee for partner companies. You’ll have to research this to determine if it works for you.
10. One Way Car Rentals Cost More
You will get a lower price if you pick up and drop off at the same place than a one-way rental fee. We have rearranged entire trips to avoid paying a one-way rental fee by rental car companies.
Sometimes, if you need to go somewhere, this cost is inevitable, and you might have to pay it.
11. Expect a Hold Charge
For each of the forty rental cars, we have placed a hold on credit cards for the rental period. In some countries, the hold can be as high as $1000+. It is usually stated in the reservation details. However, it is easy for people to overlook it.
Although we know they have to place this hold on our credit card, it can still be quite shocking if you don’t pay attention and end up with more than your credit limit. These extra charges can be applied to situations where you are not seen again or when you damage something and refuse payment. You know what I mean.
12. Do not buy a GPS
For an additional $10-$15 per day, car rental companies love when you add a GPS to your rental. You can avoid this fee by using your smartphone to navigate. We can download offline maps from whole countries to Google Maps. This allows us to see the entire route from one point to another even if we don’t have a data or WiFi signal. To ensure distraction-free driving, make sure you get a phone case.
We have also used Maps. to get us to Africa. Before smartphones, I bought a GPS to rent a car in Australia for two weeks. It was cheaper than the rental company.
13. Take photos and inspect the area
You will be charge for damages if you hit a guardrail while renting your car. You may charge damages if you or someone else has hit a guardrail with your rental car. This is my number one tip for renting a Wine tours Livermore car: Always inspect each rental car thoroughly.
Notify the company of any damage and take photos to prove it. Before you leave the lot with your rental car, this must be done. Cam and I are meticulous about rental car dings and scratches, windshield cracks, and cigarette burns. Don’t assume that a scratch or other ding isn’t important enough to noted. Make sure to sign a waiver confirming everything is fine when you return the rental car.
Multiple times we have been accused of things such as ” excessive dust on the floor in Mozambique,” and random pieces of cheap plastic falling off in Mexico. We were also charged with a slight scratch on the hubcap.