When you’re traveling to a new place, renting a car can be one of the best ways to get around town. Depending on your trip, renting a car can be more affordable and flexible than other options like taking taxis or public transportation.
If you’re considering renting a car while on vacation, here are some things to consider before making that final decision.
Renting a car is not as simple as it might seem. There are many different cars with many different features available at various rental locations around the world. These tips will help prepare you for renting a car the next time you travel.
Top 10 Things to Consider When Renting a Car
Renting a car is convenient and affordable, especially when you need wheels for a day or two. But renting isn’t right for everyone. You might not want to invest in a car just for that one time, or maybe you don’t have anyone to supervise you while you drive. The reasons why someone wouldn’t rent a car are as varied as the person themselves, but there are some key considerations when renting a car that can affect your life in big ways. Whether it’s your first time renting a car or you’re just considering it again, consider these ten tips before renting any vehicle:
Research your needs and the market.
You might be ready to click book now, but first you should think about why you need a car, where you’ll be driving, and how often you’ll use it. You’ll also want to think about things like gas, insurance, and rental car taxes. You may also want to consider things like whether or not the location you’re renting from is busy or in a good area for parking. You don’t want to get a car that doesn’t fit your needs. You also don’t want to get a car that isn’t offered from the place you were planning on renting from.
If you’re headed to a beach town and you don’t want a convertible, you’ll want to make sure the car you’re renting has a roof that goes up and down. If you need a lot of trunk space, you’ll want to make sure the car you’re getting has a large enough trunk for your needs. These are just a few examples of how your needs can affect the type of car you choose.
Know what’s included in your price.
Many rental car companies offer a free upgrade to a larger car or an upgrade to a fancier car with a higher price tag. If you book with a car rental company that offers upgrades, make sure you know what’s included in the price of your rental. If you’re not sure, ask a representative about the details ahead of time so you can factor it into your budget. If you don’t want to rent a fancy car, but want something more comfortable than a standard economy car, you can ask your representative if they have vehicles that would fit your needs. They may have a section of economy vehicles, or they may have a fleet of mini-vans and other larger vehicles that would give you what you need without the price of an upgrade.
Check for add-on costs ahead of time.
You may want to rent a fancier car, but if your rental company charges a fee to upgrade, you’ll want to know about it ahead of time. Some rental companies charge extra for fancier cars, or maybe even for a specific engine type or size. If you’re traveling to a beach town and want a convertible, you may want to rent a fancier car. But, if the rental company charges extra for a convertible, you may need to rethink your choice and go for a different car instead. You may also want to know about any fuel fees in advance, the insurance options, and any other add-on costs. Some rental companies operate on a fill-it-up-and-go model and don’t include fuel in the rental cost. Others include a certain amount of fuel with the rental. If you want to fill the tank, you’ll probably have to pay for all fuel used.
Read the fine print.
Before you sign anything, you should read the fine print so you know what you’re getting into. This is especially important when you’re renting a car with a friend or a member of your family who may not understand the need to read all that information before signing. If you’ll be using a friend’s insurance to cover your rental car, you’ll want to make sure you read the fine print on their policy to make sure it covers a rental car. You may also want to read the fine print to find out who is listed on the rental car as the primary driver and whether or not you’re listed as a secondary driver. Some rental companies will charge you a fee for adding another driver to the agreement. This is especially common when a parent or guardian is adding their teen driver to their insurance for the rental.
Ask about additional driver fees.
If you’re planning on adding another driver, you may want to ask about the additional driver fees in advance. There are two types of fees you may encounter: a fee for adding a teen driver, and a fee for adding an additional driver in general. Some rental companies charge a fee for every driver listed on the agreement, even if they’re an adult. Other companies charge a fee for adding a teen driver if they’re under 25 years old. You may also want to ask if you’ll be charged an underage fee if you’re over 25 but not 26.
Be aware of any drop-off costs in advance.
A lot of rental car companies charge a fee for dropping off your rental car at a different location than where you picked it up. You may encounter drop-off fees if you’re planning on flying in or out of a nearby airport. You may also encounter a drop-off fee if you’re planning on driving from one state to another and are taking a different route than the one you used to get to your state of origin. You may have to drive the rental car to your state’s border, drop it off, and then catch a ride to the airport from there. Again, you’ll want to read the fine print for drop-off fees before you book a rental car.
Don’t forget about insurance.
Before you get behind the wheel, check that you have the insurance coverage you need. Whether you’re renting with an existing policy or using a new company, you’ll want to make sure your insurance coverage is adequate for the rental car you’re driving. You may have to add a rental car coverage to your policy, or you may have to purchase a rental car rider. You may also want to check your coverage limits to make sure you’re covered for any damage you may cause to the rental car. Some rental companies now offer coverage, but you’ll want to check before you sign anything. It’s always better to over-cover than to under-cover, especially when you’re renting a car. You’ll be responsible if you cause damage to the car, and you don’t want to get stuck paying for it.
Bring a GPS with you, if you have one.
If you have an older model car and it’s not equipped with a navigation system, you may want to rent a GPS with your rental car. Many rental companies charge extra for a navigation system, and you may not have one on hand. It’s also possible that you’ll have a model that needs updating or a company that is no longer in business. If you have a GPS that works with your phone, you may want to consider bringing it with you as well. If you use your phone for navigation, there’s a good chance you already have a GPS app on it. If you don’t have a GPS of any kind or need a refresh on how to use your navigation system, don’t forget to bring along an AUX cord or USB cord to plug into your phone and use your navigation app. If you forget to bring your cord with you, you may be in trouble if you don’t have service in that rental car.
Renting a car is a great way to get more out of a vacation, or even a business trip. But before you hit the button, make sure you know what you are getting and if it is going to be worth the price. You may find that renting a car is cheaper than taking a taxi, but it may also be more expensive than taking