Car Rental For Travel: All the Nuances and Secrets
Traveling by car is a great thrill. Don’t deny yourself this pleasure! Below you will learn all the nuances of renting a car and how not to spoil the experience of your first rental experience.
When you need a car and when you don’t
Feel free to rent a car when your vacation follows one of these scenarios:
- An epic trip across the country visiting different cities and other far-flung places.
- A classic resort vacation with family or friends. Instead of cabs and tour buses, you will drive around town and neighborhoods in your own car.
- Docking or stopping on a cruise: you have a full day, and you’re crazy about exploring the surrounding area.
But sometimes there is no point in renting a car. Firstly, it is not necessary in big cities like Paris, London, Madrid. There it is better to walk and ride the subway, so as not to waste time and nerves in traffic jams, and money on expensive parking lots. But even if you really want to, you can rent Ferrari Milan and any other car you want.
Secondly, it is easy to do without a car in countries with an ideal transportation network, as in the Netherlands, where it is easier to travel to other cities by train.
Where to rent a car
To find a car for the best price and conditions, you need to compare offers from different rental companies.
A rental company – a firm that owns cars and rents them to you. There are international companies (Avis, Europcar, Sixt, and others) and small local offices. There are hundreds of rental companies in the world, so going to the site of each and comparing yourself would be extremely tedious. Fortunately, aggregators can do it for us.
An aggregator is a site that collects the offers of all rental companies, compares their prices and conditions so that you can choose the best option.
Open these sites, compare prices and conditions, and book where it is more profitable. That’s it. There is no need to search on other sites because the same car on the aggregator will always be cheaper than on the website of the renter himself.
Documents required for renting
As a standard, all agencies require a passport, a national driver’s license, an international license (not valid if you do not have a national driver’s license), a printed voucher with a reservation number (if you book through the site), a visa, and a credit card.
The rental car is issued only to the driver who is older than 21 years and has at least 1 year of driving experience.
The higher the class of the car, the stricter the requirements for the renter.
What to pay attention to when renting
Booking on the website
If you rent on the website, the renter offers two payment options: now or in the office. Paying now is usually cheaper.
Register flight number when booking a car online
When booking a car online, fill in the field with the flight number of the flight you are taking. This way the rental company knows about flight cancellations or delays, and the car will wait for you.
Take a certificate of issue, walk around the car with it. If you see any scratches or chips (even the smallest), include them in the report, otherwise, you won’t have to pay for them. And don’t forget to check the upholstery damage and condition of the devices: whether the headlights are on, whether the conditioner works. At the same time, make sure you have a first aid kit and a reflective vest.
When you rent a car, car rental companies put a deposit on your card. Usually, it is the size of the insurance deductible. The deposit must be returned within 30 days after you return the car. Fines and repair costs are deducted from the deposit. The cost of a full tank of gasoline is included in the deposit – if you return the car with an empty tank, it will be fueled at your expense.
Sometimes the offices keep track of the mileage of the car during the rental period. You will have to pay extra for exceeding it. Usually, you pay an extra 0.2 € per kilometer. This is indicated when arranging a car on the website or in the rental agreement.
Renters will ask for an extra fee for obtaining an additional driver.
The minimum rental cost is calculated for a car with a manual gearbox. Cars with an automatic are more expensive.
Young Driver Fee
Most rental agencies ask for an extra 20-30 € per day if the driver is under 25 years old.
If you pick up or drop off the car at another office or at the airport, they will charge you an extra fee. Usually, it is 12 €.
How to drive
Behave in a rented car like in a cab. Do not smoke even with the windows open: the rental company can charge the deposit for dry-cleaning the interior. Do not litter or soil the seats.
Pets are allowed, but you will usually have to pay a surcharge. It is better to clarify this with the rental company before renting.
If there is an accident
When you receive the car, ask the manager for the phone number to call in case of an accident. Also, make a note of the police number.
If you have an accident, call the police right away. Get a report from them, which you should give to the rental company when you return the car. If the car is on the move ― you leave on it, no – call the rental company, it will call a tow truck.
If you are innocent, the rental company will take care of everything. But if you are at fault and the insurance does not cover the damage in full, be prepared to pay the missing amount. The amount you have to pay (within the insurance deductible) will be determined after assessing the damage.
If you get a ticket
Pay parking tickets yourself at the post office or bank. If you don’t know how to do this, give the receipt to the rental office; they will help you pay. Tickets for speeding tickets should be sent straight to the rental company.
Be sure to pay all fines. Failure to pay may result in your being blacklisted by the rental company or visa application center.
How to return a car
Hand over the car before the end of the lease. If you rented a car for two days at 11 a.m. on Monday, it should be at the rental office by 11 a.m. on Wednesday. It is better to arrive early so as not to get nervous in line. If you are late, you may be charged extra for the whole day.
Before you rent the car, please fill it up to the full tank. Afterwards, ask to unblock your credit card.