Read up on our tips to find the cheapest prices, get an excellent rate on your insurance excess and make your holiday go as smoothly as possible
1. Book Early to Save Big
Booking in advance for car hire abroad can save you a lot of money! If you book early for off-peak periods when demand’s tiny, you can drive down costs to as little as £3/day.
MoneySavingExpert.com checked hire prices in popular European resorts this summer for a family car. It turns out you could pay £100 more a day more by waiting until you step off the plane…
CAR HIRE PRICES
|Destination||14-21 June, booked now||14-21 June, booked on the day (1)||9-16 Aug, booked now||9-16 Aug, booked on the day (1)|
|Car hire policies for a ‘compact’ family car in Malaga, Pisa and Faro. (1) Estimated prices based on book now, then pay-on-the-day rates. Source: Travelsupermarket.|
2. Use comparison sites to find the cheapest deal quickly.
Comparison sites let you search the market at speed. You’re then sent a voucher to present to the hire company on arrival.
Here are the top picks. Quickly search all three, as they cover different companies.
Kayak It searches 20+ sites, and covers all the biggies.
Carrentals is another very usable site with lots of tools for filtering results, very similar to Kayak.
TravelSupermarket is good on coverage, searching 20+ sites
3. Beware fuel policy stealth charges
Some car hire companies give you a full tank that you pay for upfront, you’re told to return it empty,but you’re not going to get any refund for unused fuel. They can also charge for the petrol in beyond the local price. A family car in popular destinations can cost £90+ per tank. Seek out a firms that though offers a ‘return as you found it’ policies, so you’ll only pay for the fuel you use.
4. Beat the ‘excess insurance’ scare trick and get your car hire insurance from Car Hire Excess.com
When you collect your car, hire firms often say: “Without our excess insurance, you’ll pay huge for a scratch.” This insurance can be up to £ 27 a day and you don’t need to pay that much. You can easily get car hire excess insurance from a standalone provider such as www.carhireexcess.com and daily European cover is only £2.99.
5. Hiring a car abroad often? Get Annual Cover
If you’re hiring a care more than once a year you’ll save money with an annual cover policy. www.carhireexcess.com offer Annual European Cover from €59.99 Cheap as chips!
6. Save Costs on Child Seats Rental
Car Rental firms hire out child seats from £5 per day. That can really add up and child seats are compulsory in Europe for under-3s. Consider taking your own seat or rent a child’s seat on arrival- which could be cheaper! Malaga airport have a stall “Tots Store” which you can rent seats for half the cost!
7. Using your IPhone instead of hiring a Sat Nav.
It can cost up to £50 a week to hire a sat nav from a car-hire company. However there is a way you can use your iPhone as a sat nav without paying a huge amount of money in data fees . Navfree is a free app for iPhone and Android. It turns a GPS smartphone into a data-free sat nav, with pre-loaded maps, route planning and voice prompts. It isn’t a fully-fledged system like paid sat navs, but it’s handy if it’s for a one-off trip. You could just pack your own sat nav if you have the maps already.
8. Make sure you have enough space on your credit card for a deposit
When you use a standalone insurance provider such as Car Hire Excess, the car firm will have to hold a deposit on a credit card and this is usually required on the pick-up of any hire car.
The money (which can be typically between £300 and £500) money isn’t charged against but it is usually ring-fenced. If you bring back the car damaged, you could be charged.
People often arrive without the nesscary funds on a card and then they have no option but to take an expensive policy from the pick-up desk. Which can start your holiday on a bad note. Always check the deposit required, make sure there are enough funds on your credit card and you’ll walk away happy from the desk.
9. Check your car BEFORE you leave the airport with it.
Some car hire firms overcharge and claim damages which were on the car before the customer took it out so be extra vigilant. Take photos of the care make notes of its condition on the hire company form. Take note of any small dents or scratches as these can be the prime source of disputes.
10. Don’t risk big charges and Return your car on time.
Avoid the late charges and return your car on time! Also make sure the car is in the cleanest state possible so they don’t throw a cleaning big your way. Also make sure you stick around for the inspection and stop minor scratches being blamed on you. Don’t have time? Take photos just before returning it.