While holidaymakers might book their flights and accommodation months in advance, far too often hiring a car is treated as an afterthought. But, like so many services, booking your car rental at the last minute could cost you more.
That’s why TheIrishSun partnered with Europcar to write this guide to everything you need to know about renting a car while you’re abroad.
1. Make sure you’re eligible to drive abroad
You might have a driving license, but that’s not enough to guarantee that you can rent a car while you’re overseas. Lots of countries have a minimum car-hire age, and while in certain countries that’s just 18, in others it can be as high as 21, 23 or even 25. Also, even if you are eligible to drive, if you’re under 25 you might have to pay a surcharge on top of the standard hire cost. In most countries, you’ll also need a minimum of one year’s experience in order to hire a car.
2. Check you have all the necessary documents packed
When packing your bags for your holiday, don’t forget all the ID and other documents you’ll need to hire a car. To give you an idea of what you’ll need to bring, here’s what Europcar ask for when renting one of their vehicles:
– Your driving license
– Your passport or similar photo ID if you have the older-style paper license
– A utility bill or bank statement from the past 3 months – it needs to have the same address as your driving license
– A credit card that expires after the rental period – if you’re pre-booked, make sure you bring the same card you paid with
– Depending on the country you are visiting, you may also need to get an IDP (International Driving Permit).
3. Buy your car excess insurance in advance
Car hire insurance can often prove a minefield, so it’s good to get this sorted well ahead of your holiday. Rental companies across most of the world are legally required to include basic insurance in their hire costs. That means you’ll never be liable for the cost of the whole car if it’s stolen, set on fire or written off in an accident.
But that doesn’t extend to extra risks such as damage to the bodywork, windscreen or tyres – check the excess amounts and coverage before booking your car.
4. Prepare yourself for driving in a foreign country
Driving is not the same everywhere across the world – and you might be in for a culture shock if you drive a car abroad for the first time. We’re not just talking about which side of the road you drive on: it’s also worth going on a few travel forums for a primer on driving to your destination.
Are the signs marked in miles or kilometers? What’s the national speed limit? Are the roads notorious for potholes and aggressive local drivers?
These are all potential things to prepare yourself before you head abroad – armed with this knowledge, you’ll feel much safer behind the wheel.
Are you ready? Vehicles can be hired on a nightly or hourly basis, and vans are available too. You can book both one-way and return trips. So if you’ve got a holiday planned, you know that Europcar’s got your car rental covered.
Content edited from The IrishSun