Booking a hire car is probably one of the more complicated elements of anyone’s travel. There are always extras, insurance, pages of terms and conditions and the price advertised is never the final amount. Here are 5 tips we hope you find helpful for the next time you need to book a hire car.
1. Book in advance
Car hire is currently a hot commodity thanks to COVID. There are two major factors that have lead to the shortage of vehicles and an increase in demand. The first is that some car hire companies sold a portion of their fleet during the pandemic. The second is that people started hiring cars for business travel as opposed to flying and also the leisure traveller started taking more road trips. With reduced flight schedules, cancelations, border closures and the list goes on, people instead found comfort, security and efficiency in car hire.
Taking into account these factors, we recommend booking in advance. Generally speaking booking in advance is best practice and will provide you more vehicle options, in most cases a competitive rate and time to compare car hire companies.
2. Take Photos
The beauty of mobile devices is that we can take images on the go. We recommend that you do this before driving off into the sunset. Have a thorough inspection of your hire car inside and out and take photos of every dent, scratch, or mark you come across. You will want to do the same thing when you return your hire car to the depot. Although the hire company has its own inspection checklist, you want to ensure that you wont be accused for damages that were not your fault.
The car hire company will always want to upsell you on extras which is their job. The amount of extras you can have is quite overwhelming, but not always necessary and this is how you can save some money.
When it comes to fuel, don’t be lazy and pre-purchase their fuel option. The price per litre is generally at a premium and although convenient, not necessary. Just fill up before you drop the car back off. Take the time to investigate where the best location will be to fuel up on the return.
You will always get asked about paying for additional insurance. Before you say yes, check what you are already covered for through travel insurance, car hire loyalty programs or other things like credit card programs, health insurances etc. There are often additional value ads within these programs and memberships that cover travel.
There is no need to be paying for a GPS in the current era. Your mobile phone will have access to live maps if the car doesn’t already have an inbuilt GPS system.
4. Return Time
When you hire a car it is for a date range based on a pickup and drop-off time. It is really important that you understand what time you need to return the hire car and what time the depot opens and closes. If you return the car after the time it was due back, you will be running the risk of been penalised with late fees. Make sure you read the terms and conditions or simply ask the guest services agent when you collect the vehicle.
5. Understand the cost breakdown
When you are shopping around for car hire, each company will have a number of different fee structures however, there are some they all have in common. Understanding the breakdown will eliminate any surprises when it comes time to pay.
VroomVroomVroom.com.au has a great simple explanation of what your car hire quotes will include such as Vehicle Registration Recovery Fee and Premium Location Surcharge and what it all means.
For more travel tips and advice visit our blogs page at bluebirdtravelplaybook.com