Hiring a car abroad has been made much easier by travel sites offering the latest deals from major car hire companies like Avis and Hertz, most of which are now based at airports.
Getting the best deals on car hire abroad can still take a bit of research, however, as car hire rates can vary enormously between companies and holiday destinations.
You will also find that whereas car hire in popular holiday destinations like Spain might be just a few euros a day for a small car, elsewhere such as the USA, car hire will be more expensive.
Insurance, fuel allowances and mileage will also affect how cheap your car insurance turns out to be – and you will also have to pay a deposit to the car hire company for your vehicle and to cover the cost of any road accidents, damage or in case you do not return it on time.
Here are some tips to help you get the best deal on car hire for your holidays:
- If a tour operator offers all inclusive car hire, consider booking a holiday with this included – sometimes resorts which are more remote or villa holidays will offer free car hire
- Shop around early as booking your car hire in advance can save you pounds – car hire companies may knock as much as 30-40% off car hire if booked well in advance and also look for deals which cut insurance premiums (although check the cover offered is not limited, also)
- Choose the most economical car for your needs – unless you want to enjoy driving a more powerful or flashier car than your own on holiday, it makes sense to choose the car which will suit your family or individual needs and which will give you the best mileage and comfort for your money
- Hybrids are usually cheaper, but may be smaller vehicles – however they are worth checking out if you want to make savings on car hire for your holiday
- Smaller vehicles with less powerful engines are usually cheaper to hire as the insurance will be less costly and you will get more miles to the gallon out of your fuel allowance
- If you are a student, look out for student or young driver, check out car hire deals which many major companies like Hertz offer. Booking in advance can again save you between 15-40% on car hire if you keep monitoring the offers in advance of booking your holiday car hire
- Some professions such as entertainers, journalists or self employed workers may find it prohibitively expensive to hire a car – or some companies may not even accept these professions for car hire at all. Don’t be tempted to conceal the fact you are not eligible for car hire because if you do have a holiday road accident you will not covered by the insurances
- Make sure you can take your hire car back to a convenient location – if you choose an independent company in resort and are planning to travel further afield, getting your car back in time might be difficult and you could lose your deposit
- There are many small or independent companies advertising car hire online, but it is important to check the safety record of any deal which undercuts its car hire competitors, as vehicles may not be well maintained and might have been involved in accidents and bought cheaply – if the car looks dodgy or feels unstable or difficult to drive, don’t accept it and take it back, rather than risk your safety for a cheap car hire deal
- Check your insurance documents thoroughly to make sure you are covered for driving abroad – and ask your car hire company for its public liability insurance documents if you are hiring a car from an independent car hire company at your holiday resort.
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Peter Anderson – I love to blog about holidays abroad and travel! Google+