You’ve just got off your flight, gone through long queues at security, waited for your luggage and now you just want to get on the road.
At Europcar we want to make sure your car rental experience is as pleasant as possible so you can get on with the important business of enjoying your trip. All you need to do is book with us and plan your journey, whether it’s a road trip or exploring a new city or country, and we’ll take care of the rest.
This article gives you 5 of the best tips to save money when you’re renting a car to make the experience as smooth as it should be!
1. Book your car before you arrive
Booking your car in advance means you know the price that you’re going to pay before you arrive at the airport. Prices also tend to be cheaper when you book your rental car online.
Booking in advance also gives you the option to select what type of car you’d like to rent. If you wait to book at the airport you may end up having to rent a luxury vehicle because that’s all the rental company has left. Or even worse, you could be trying to squeeze your family of four and luggage into a smaller car instead of the SUV you were hoping for.
We recommend booking well in advance, especially when you’re planning a trip during peak times such as Easter, Christmas or the school holidays.
2. Do your homework on airport rental prices versus downtown
It’s important to do your research before you rent a car. It can sometimes be cheaper to book a car from your final destination rather than picking it up from the airport. Some rental car companies charge more for airport car rental because this is where most of the demand is. You could save by renting a car from a nearby downtown or out of town location. Check your car rental company website for nearby locations to the airport to see if you could save.
3. Get your timing right
It pays to be mindful when renting a car so you don´t waste money. Car rental companies usually charge in 24-hour blocks, so even if you go over the return time by one hour you could be charged for another full day. Make sure you work out exactly how long you will need the car to avoid overspending.
For example, if you’re returning the car at 4 pm, you should arrive before 4 pm to avoid paying for an extra day.
The secret is not to guess the times when you’re making the booking – put the exact time you plan to return the vehicle on the form. Of course, if you’re delayed you should contact the rental company to explain why and you may not have to pay for the extra day.
4. Choose the right size and type of vehicle
You’re in the holiday mood and want to have the best of everything – we get it! But do you really need to go for that convertible 2-seater sports car? Make sure you make the right decision when choosing what type of car you want to rent. After all, most of the time the car will be used to get from A to B and then you’ll leave it in the car park to explore the destination.
You should also factor in the engine size of the vehicle. The bigger the engine the more fuel you’ll be buying so it’s advisable to be conservative. This way you’ll spend less on fuel and more on experiences for the family. Also, be sure to check local fuel prices as they vary from town to town and between the different fuel companies.
Of course, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t rent a prestige car for a special occasion, and you’ll find a choice of Europcar luxury vehicles at very competitive prices.
5. Inspect the vehicle
We know how keen you are to get on with your trip – you just want to pick up the keys to your car and go! This is the last thing you should do. Make sure you give the car a thorough inspection before you drive it.
There may be minor damage that you wouldn’t notice at first glance, but it’s important that you note this on the rental form and even take photos. You can also ask the rental company to take their own photos too.
Here’s a list of some of the most important things to check for:
– chips on the windscreen
– damage underneath the bumper panels
– scratches on the alloys
– the spare wheel is functional (and actually there!)
– marks on wing mirrors
– body panel scratches
– cigarette burns in the upholstery
If it’s dark during the inspection get the rental staff to note this. Taking this extra time at the beginning of the rental can help avoid charges when you return the vehicle and ensure giving it back is a smooth process.
Those are our top 5 money-saving tips on renting a car. Below are some other essential tips to remember, all of which can avoid you having to spend extra money:
– bring a GPS and child car seat if needed
– check the fuel level and fuel policy
– make sure your licence is valid in the country you are going to
– check the mileage limits
– check age restrictions
– be clear on the insurance policy
– get a signed copy of the damage-check form
Take a look at our car rental prices and deals – you’ll be surprised how much you can save.
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