If you’re going on holiday this summer and want to explore all the hidden parts of the destination you decide to travel, then hiring a car is the way to go. Granted, public transport can often by more affordable, but nothing beats a day of touring unknown parts of a country, stopping off at remote beaches and historic sites and landmarks along the way. People are often put off by the worry of hidden charges or unexpected costs when hiring a car, so we’ve put together our top 5 ways to save on car hire this summer.
1 – Always check multiple search websites
If you like to get something ticked off your to do list, you may head to the first search website you find and pick the best deal that pops up for a hire car. Even if you’re on a comparison website, its always best to shop around and perform a search on multiple websites. You may find that some websites such as Ryanair and Holiday Autos produce exactly the same results, but head to Rental Cars, one of the bigger sites, and Zest Car Rental, voted best car hire site by Which?, for some competitive deals.
2 – Take your own car seats
Car hire companies know you’re a captive audience when you’re at the pick-up spot with specific needs whilst you’re away. That’s why they will hike the prices for certain extras like children’s seats, sat navs and winter packs. Avoid extra charges when you pick up the car by taking your own children’s’ car seats. Ryanair charge between £15-25 per flight to transport a child seat, significantly cheaper than the €95 charge for a child seat on a two-week rental.
3 – Avoid adding a second driver unless its free
Its always nice to share the driving to some extent, but if you’re looking to save the pennies on your car hire, adding an additional driver can significantly increase the cost of a week or two’s hire. Typically, the charge for an additional driver per day is around €6, but this could increase if you decide to add an additional driver at the airport. Make sure you have a discussion with the people in your group before you book a car to decide who should be the lead driver on the hire agreement.
4 – Book a four-door vehicle
If there is little price-difference between three and four-door vehicles, always book a four-door. Car hire companies always run out of four-door vehicles in their cheapest mini or economy level and will have to upgrade you to the next better category without being able to charge you. That mean’s you’ll get a bigger, better car for the same price.
5 – Take the full to full fuel policy
Once of the many questions you’ll be asked when you pick up the car is if you’d like the ‘full to empty’ fuel policy. This is where you pay for a tank of fuel on collection and return the car with no fuel. The cost of fuel when purchased like this is often much more expensive and, if you don’t plan on driving that far, you’ll end up paying for fuel you won’t use. To combat drivers who don’t take this option though, car hire companies often block the cost of fuel on your credit card and charge you an administration fee of up to €40 for returning the car full. Always check the small print.
- Don’t be bullied into taking optional extras when you pick the car up from the airport, buy a separate ‘excess insurance’ before you arrive
- Read the contract fully before leaving the rental office and make sure you have indicated ‘no’ to the extras you don’t need, take a picture of the agreement so you have an ‘unaltered copy’ for future reference
- Don’t pay twice for breakdown cover – most standard insurance includes breakdown
Most importantly – enjoy your holiday once you’ve hired your car!