Take a few minutes to read about the things you need to consider before renting a car for a trip.
When we plan for a trip, the thing that tops our list is the mode of transportation. Of course, unless the trip is not international, the first means of transportation that comes to mind is a car! Cars are indeed a very flexible, comfortable, and practical choice compared to other modes of transportation.
What if you don’t own a private car? Or if the private car is too small for a family trip? In that case, you can always rent a car. However, despite the benefits of renting a car for the trip, you need to consider some factors to avoid problems. Keeping those in mind, I have compiled 10 travel expert tips for renting a car.
Documents Needed For Renting A Car
First things first, you need documents for renting a car. The documents required for renting a car vary from region to region. Therefore, it’s crucial that you carefully read the terms and policies while renting a car; they will also have a list of the rental company’s requirements.
Let me give you a rough idea about the documents that are generally required.
- Driving License (must-have for any region, country, or state)
- Credit Card
- Reservation Proof
- National ID
- International Driver’s permit
10 Tips to Follow Before Renting A Car
- Inspect the Car First!
Inspect and examine your rented car before you head on to the trip. If you find any dent, damage, or chirp, report it to the rental company. Either tell them to fix it before your trip, or ask them to mark it down on your paperwork. If they are not willing to fix it, you can click pictures to keep proof. Or else, later, the company might deliberately blame you and impose the cost to fix the damage on you.
- Insurance for Your Rental Car
Even if you are renting the car for a few days, having insurance for it is as important as for your own car. Although you might feel it’s an extra cost, it is part of the car renting cost. You don’t want to pay the total cost of the car if something happens to it, right?
You can contact your personal car’s insurance company to obtain discounts on your rental car. Also, many credit card companies give insurance for rental cars at a lower price, so you can contact your credit card company if you wish to save money.
The rental car companies also have insurance policies, but theirs are exorbitant in some cases. These companies cover two types of insurance mainly:
- Full coverage car rental insurance, which is the expensive one as it covers everything in the car.
- Basic car rental insurance, which is less costly as it covers only theft and accidents.
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- Know the Policies of Your Credit Card
You will probably use a credit card for renting a car as most car rental companies prefer this specific payment method. But you should also check your credit card’s policies about rental cars. To avoid paying unanticipated costs at the end of the trip, verify that your credit card can cover the rental car damages, fees, taxes, etc.
- Keep Minimal Drivers
The more drivers there are, the more you have to pay the daily fee, whether the drivers actually drive. Therefore, keep the drivers for your trip as low as possible to reduce costs.
Also, most rental companies have different fees depending on the age of the drivers. Usually, drivers below 25 are charged more (sometimes twice) than the ones above 25. Car rental companies fear frequent accidents with younger and less experienced drivers, so they think of them as their liabilities. Therefore, if you have people under 25 years in your group, don’t add them up as a driver.
- Will you have to pay Fees and Taxes for Driving in the Place You Are Heading To?
Research about the region prior to visiting in your rental car. Some regions do not allow rental cars at some specific time of the year. Others require you to pay taxes for entering with a rental car as well. Some areas require you to pay fees for even parking the car.
- Check out for Tolls
Again, to minimize the extra cost of the trip, check out if the place you are visiting requires paying a toll. Once or twice is alright, but encountering a toll booth frequently will add up to your trip cost. Therefore, either allocate some money for this expense in the trip budget, avoid the region, or look for alternative pathways.
- Try to Bring Your Extras Yourself
Car rental companies do charge for the extra convenience you enjoy! If you want to avoid that ‘benefit fee,’ choose a rental car that does not have amenities such as a GPS tracker, FM radio, music, etc. Instead, to enjoy your trip, you can carry your extra travel essentials, including a child seat (if you are traveling with a child), DVD, GPS, and device charging essentials.
Additionally, this is a great way to save money if your other costs are high, such as tolls, taxes, and miscellaneous fees for the car.
- 8. Check Out for Parking Spaces
It is way safer to park the rental car in a parking space than in an open area because parking in unauthorized areas increases the chances of car parts theft, which you will become liable for. Therefore, check whether the place you are visiting has a parking zone. Even if they do have one, check the busiest time and try to reach before all the spaces get occupied.
- Don’t Drive on Off-Roads
It is one of the essential car rental policies that drivers often tend to forget in the merry of a trip. Avoid unpaved and off-road paths! If the rental car tires or any other part of the car damages due to an unpaved road, you still have to pay for the damage even if you have insurance cover for damage protection of the car. Therefore, always stay on smooth and gravel-free roads!
- 1 Return the Fuel Tank Filled
Before returning the car to the rental company, you need to refill the fuel tank. It is a general rule for renting a car, and everyone should follow it to avoid paying two/ three times higher prices per gallon of fuel for the emptied tank. Therefore, make the car tank full to avoid penalties.
A Brief Check-List For Renting A Car
Here, I will briefly point out a few things you need to add to your car-renting checklist. Of course, all these points will vary from person to person. However, after you have checked these things, you can safely rent a car.
- The size of the car – depending on the number of people traveling.
- The cost of renting the car – depending on your budget.
- The distance you will be traveling.
- How comfortable the car is – if it has comfy seats for a long trip.
- How many fringe benefits does the car have? – GPS, Air conditioner, etc.
- Sufficient space for the bags depending on people.
- What gas mileage will you drive on compared to the mileage the car has? Also, lower gas mileage means you have to constantly refill the car.
- If the car has an extra track on the roof to carry baggage.
A car trip is fun, exciting, flexible, comfortable, and all those satisfying adjectives you want to add! At the same time, you must be aware of the important things to consider to avoid issues later. Get all your documents ready and be well-informed about your hired car rental company’s policies for a stress-free trip.