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Everything You Need to Know About Car Rentals

August 23, 2019
Though Flyavel doesn’t have cars for rent, we believe that everyone should be saving money with their travel. This means that even renting a vehicle for your next holiday should be hassle-free and budget-friendly. Today, we are going to discuss the best insider strategies for finding the best price for a rental vehicle as well as what to look for in the terms and conditions.

Book in Advance

Just like you book your airline tickets with Flyavel in advance, you should also get your rental car in advance. This means that you have time to get the price that’s right for you, as well as the car you want. Planning even slightly behind schedule can make you susceptible to price-gouging, so be aware!

Get Your International Driver’s Permit

Whenever you plan on renting a car abroad, whether in America or anywhere else, depending on the license you have issued, you will need an International Driver’s Permit. Basically, an IDP is a piece of paper that translates your license into another language. Many countries require the IDP, and fines can be costly if you don’t have one.

Outmaneuver Hassles & Fees

There are some junk fees that car rental services sometimes charge. For example, if you plan on getting frequent flier miles while renting, there might be extra service charges. Other fees include toll transponders (up to an extra 4€ a day), GPS navigation systems, satellite radio (7€ a day), and other similar fees. If you absolutely do not need it, don’t get a car with it. Use your smartphone or other tech instead. The upgrades aren’t worth it most of the time.

Rental companies also have added taxes and fees based on how many kilometers/miles you drive, and so on. Also, avoid picking up your rental car at the airport, if possible. Renting at an off-airport location can save you up to 20% or more on your bill - just keep the opening hours in mind as usually only the car rental airport locations are open 24/7, other locations usually follow a different opening hours schedule.

Lastly, sometimes there is a hidden fee for adding extra drivers or hiring child seats. If you are going to be needing another driver, be sure that you aren’t going to be charged an exorbitant fee!

Terms & Conditions

No one actually enjoys reading the fine print, but you definitely should read it when renting a car. The terms and conditions of the contract you sign will detail any limits on the distance you can drive, where you can go, car rental fuel policy and sometimes even what kind of petroleum you can use in the vehicle. Aim for a contract that allows for unlimited distance, or at least a low rate per kilometer over the specified distance. Our Flyavel team also prefers a full-to-full fuel policy when renting the cars as we believe it is the most transparent and easiest to understand which diminishes the possibility of being charged a hefty fee upon returning the car due to not adhering to the fuel policy.

You will also want to have a look at the terms and conditions of the insurance you need. Since you have to have insurance to rent a vehicle anywhere in the world, knowing how you are covered is essential. “Fully comprehensive” has individual meanings throughout the world. For example, if you sign a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW - also known as a Loss Damage Waiver or LDW) with a 1,000€ excess, that gives the company the right to claim compensation for any damages that occurred to the car to the amount of up to 1,000€! Most CDWs also don't cover things like damaged windshield, wheels, interior, roof, undercarriage, etc.).

Credit vs debit card vs cash

Very few car rental agencies allow renting a car with a debit card. Even fewer allow renting a car with cash. Usually, if a renter is able to rent a car with cash or debit card, the insurances are more expensive and the deposit is higher. However, the safest option to rent a car is by using a credit card like MasterCard or Visa with a high enough limit to also cover the deposit. While you should always check individual car rental agencies terms and conditions to learn about their deposit amounts as they differ greatly from agency to agency, the rule of thumb is that the deposit is never higher than 2-times the cost of the total car rental. So if your car rental costs 500€, the deposit will usually be around 500€ and will rarely exceed 1,000€. Therefore, your credit card limit should be at least 1,500€.

We know a lot of people are confused whether they have a credit card or a debit card. It's really pretty easy to distinguish both card types - the credit card is the one that you can spend up to the limit your card issuer allows you (eg. up to 1,000€ in a month) and you pay what you spent within the previous period on a specific date, while the debit card is the one on which you have to deposit money before being able to spend it and has no limit. Credit cards usually have the card numbers and owner's name embossed, while the card numbers and owner's name on the debit cards are usually printed.

Inspect the Car Before Driving Off

Before you take your hired vehicle onto the open road, there are a couple of things you should do to ensure you aren’t going to get in trouble later. Check the car for tiny scratches, dings, and any other abnormalities in the bodywork. Take pictures of everything, interior and exterior. Also make sure that the engine is running soundlessly.

Now that you know the ins and outs of international car rental, you should have no problem with transport during your holiday!

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