How to cut the cost of your car hire abroad
With the summer holidays looming around the corner, more and more people are considering taking a trip abroad. For some, this includes renting a car whilst they’re visiting a different country.
However, this can soon become an expensive endeavour, so this month we’ve decided to create a list of our top ways to cut the cost of your car hire abroad.
Before your leave
Compare the Market
Comparison sites are one of the easiest ways to help reduce the cost of your car hire abroad. They let you search the market for the most affordable package, then direct you to the company’s website to complete the booking.
These websites include:
With so much choice, it can be hard to make an informed decision instead of basing your choice purely on the most affordable price. However, some comparison sites do give you the option to filter by fuel type, air conditioning, airport pick-up, number of seats and much more.
Bring your own Satnav and child seat
As law in European countries requires a child seat to be used for children under three, it’s worth considering whether you have room to take one with you before you leave.
Some companies can charge in excess of £60 for one week’s rental of a child safety seat. You’ll even be expected to fit this rental seat yourself. If you’re going to be flying at the start of your holiday, most airlines let you take a child seat with you for free.
The same applies to renting a SatNav from a rental company. Some will charge in excess of £30 per week. To help save yourself money, use your smart phone. You can download SatNav apps that come preloaded with numerous countries around the world.
These can be used offline, so you don’t have to be subject to data-roaming charges from your provider.
Make a decision wisely
It can be tempting to book the highest grade of model whilst you’re abroad, but you need to ensure that you’re not renting purely on aesthetics rather than practicality.
Make sure that you’re booking a vehicle that suits your needs. For example, if you’re travelling by yourself with minimal luggage, why not consider a smaller car such as a Ford Fiesta or Peugeot 207.
If you’re travelling with your family with more suitcases and bags, then why not consider a larger car such as a Mitsubishi ASX.
Don’t fall for scare tactics
You may have heard horror stories of families being charged hundreds and hundreds of pounds for a scratch on the paintwork of a car, so you might be considering taking out the excess insurance that the provider offers when you collect your car.
However, we would advise strongly against this. Car hire providers in other countries make most of their money from add-on sales, usually with highly inflated prices. Instead, why not find your own insurance before you leave for your holiday.
Again, you can use comparison websites to find the right policy for you and your family.
Get an EHIC
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is issued free of charge for anybody that’s going to be travelling within the European Union. This means that you’re going to be insured or covered for medical treatments in another member state.
These treatments are charged the same as the locals, so if they don’t pay for their treatment then neither do you. If they pay a reduced rate, then so do you.
For more information on how to get your own EHIC card, why not take a look at official EHIC website here.
Whilst you’re away
Photograph any damage before you drive the car
As with any car rental, we always recommend that you inspect the car before you start to drive away. This helps to prevent any future claims and gives you additional peace of mind whilst you’re on your trip.
At the same time as this, take note of the current mileage of the vehicle. Some rental companies do have a specific mileage allowance and this can be affected by which package you’ve gone for.
Do the same when you return the vehicle
Make sure that you inspect the vehicle when you get back to the rental office too. Where possible, make sure that you walk around with a representative from the company and note down anything you think is relevant.
Know the local driving laws
When you’re driving for the first time in a different country, it can seem like a strange experience.
Remembering to drive on the other side of the road, whether you can have your children in the front seat, whether you need to have a first aid kit in the car at all times and whether you can use your full beams in built up areas are aspects of driving you have to consider.
One more recent law would be that drivers who visit France now have to display an emissions sticker in the front of their vehicle. This has been bought into play by the French government to counteract pollution and applies to all vehicles, including cars, lorries, motorbikes and buses.
For more information on driving laws in different countries, the AA has country-by-country regulations guide that you can use to drive like a local.
So there we have it, a collection of our top ways to cut the cost of your vehicle rental abroad. What do you think? Have you recently renting a car and been caught out by unforeseen penalties? Maybe you’ve got your own advice on how to cut the costs.
Remember, whether you’re planning a driving holiday at home or abroad, Fourways Self Drive have a wide variety of vehicles available to rent. To discuss your own vehicle rental requirements in more detail, don’t hesitate to get in contact with a member of our team here.