Planning a perfect trip, either family or business, is daunting task involving many factors that depend on the service provider and are not under your control, such as the hotel where you would be staying or the car rental company you hire. With hotels you may get exactly what you pay for but with a car hire service that may not always be true. Anyone who has had a bad experience with car rentals would agree that the actual expense that they had had to shell out was not what they signed up for, or worse, the service and the vehicle was not worth the money.
Given here are a few tips that many have had to learn the hard way when they got stuck with the car hire service they had already paid for and had no other choice as they were in an unfamiliar territory.
A Little Research
Research is the first step in today’s competitive and often deceptive market, and what better tool do we have other than the internet to get information. Gather as much information possible about various service providers, local car hire services and national. Also making a list of places to visit, distance covered and duration of stay is an important part of planning as it will help decide how long you need to keep the rented vehicle.
Reading User Reviews
The internet is a good way to get to know what other users think about the car rental company that you want to hire. However, make sure that you do not get lured by fake reviews, which are quite easy to spot because of flowery words and empty praises. Real reviews should give you a clear idea about the car rental service, the prices and whether or not it would be a good deal.
Reading Terms of Service in Detail
Before committing to hire a specific car rental company, you must read the terms of service thoroughly. There are clauses such as extra drivers, fuel, age limit surcharge, taxes and a lot of other hidden taxes that are not always clearly mentioned and most of the times prices quoted do not include these clauses. If the terms of service are not very clear, then it is better to avoid the service provider and choose another one. Clarity and transparency are what a car rental service should offer to you and if they do not, then it is best to avoid such a provider.
Loyalty Programs, Discount Coupons & Upgrades
There are various sites that offer discounts in forms of coupons, deals and loyalty programs to their customers. It may seem too far-fetched, but enrolling for such service will help bring the cost down significantly and if you are a frequent traveler, it would make quite a lot of difference in the pricing. Purchasing the service for longer duration than per day billing is a good idea as the cost of the rental will be a lot cheaper.
Choosing the Right Car
The pricing can also vary in the model of the car, the size and extras, such as GPS device, that you choose. If you are looking for comfort or are travelling with family, then it is better to choose a bigger, more secure vehicle. Also, before paying understand what services you are selecting and if a few things seem like a necessity, you can always negotiate with the car rentalcompany and try to bring the price down. If you are travelling alone then choosing a smaller vehicle is always better as it costs less.
Upon arrival, it is a check the rented vehicle thoroughly for any kind of existing damage that you could be charged for later or if the car is fully functional without any glitches. Also while returning the car, it is better to get it inspected by someone from the company and handing over the keys in person, than being tied to any damage claim that may or may not have been done by you.
Check for hidden costs such as collision damage, child seats, fuel and road surcharge, taxes implemented by the local authorities that aren’t often mentioned in the terms. Many of the service providers fail to mention that when the car is delivered to the user the fuel tank needs to be filled and the charges are actually outrageous. There have been instances when the customer has had to pay almost fifty percent extra than the actual cost of fuel, and when the car is returned to the rental service most of the times the fuel tank is not empty.
Insurance is a factor that most customers forget while travelling. It is a good idea to check with your insurer whether car rentals are covered or not and if it is international travel then check with the travelers’ insurance provider for details.
Timeline of Booking
The duration of the rental is also quite a cost saver if you need a rental car for a longer period of time. There are various deals, upgrades and coupons that help bring the cost down even further if the vehicle is rented for longer.
Avoid Renting at the Airport
Many people make the mistake of assuming that the car rental service is not something they should pay for in advance without any negotiations and that the prices will be quite same when they reach their destination and hire a rental service at the Airport itself. However, that is not true when it comes to car rental and cost will go up when you are left with no choice in a new place, especially when you are travelling with family.