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Compare car hire made easy
If you’re going on a touring holiday abroad, plan on visiting lots of different locations of the UK/worldwide this year, or just need a car for a special occasion, then it’s time to seek out car hire firms. But we’re well aware that choosing the right car hire company in Spain, France, Poland, UAE, Italy or even in London can seem like a real minefield; not only are there so many actual car rental firms to choose from, but there are always seems to be pages of ‘extras’ to have to read through and decide on – making the process extra difficult. And that’s why we’ve devised this guide to car hire right here:
Certainly, don’t just accept the first decent quote for a car hire rental you come across. Rather, sift through exactly what that particular deal entitles you to and look for any ‘extras.’ This could mean getting a big enough car to fit the whole family, having unlimited mileage for your road trips, or making sure that the pick-up and drop off location is exactly right for you. Ask others who have been to the same country or area if they can recommend a company they’ve used themselves.
Different types of car hire
Depending on the number of people in the car, how much luggage you’re taking and whether you’re looking to hire a car for business or pleasure, there are various types of vehicles you can choose from, such as:
Mini – great for a short weekend trip since there’s not much space for luggage and it has a small engine size
Economy – the budget choice for couples or families with one or two kids since the cars are small, but also fuel-efficient e.g. Swift car hire or Adria car hire etc
Family – a large 7-9 seater roomier car such as Volvo, Mondo or US Dodge car hire
People carriers – for groups of up to eight people or less with lots of luggage
Sports cars – also known as the luxury range and takes in flashy convertibles. Expect to pay a lot of money for this particular type of car hire e.g. Lotus in Italy, Porsche car hire in Turkey or Dubai
4x4s – great for going off-road or driving on snow and other difficult surfaces e.g. SUVs/jeep car rental in Norway
How to save money when booking a car hire?
- Always book in advance to be able to benefit from any special promotions etc.
- Just like you would with a rental flat itinerary, take pictures before you drive off in the car and point out any potential defects or bumps, scratches etc so that you’re not charged for these when you return the car. Take photos again at the end of your trip before giving it back as evidence of the good state it was returned in
- When abroad and looking to hire extras such as GPS navigation then ask to pay in the local currency there. If it’s in pounds the company will convert it and it could prove much more expensive that way. Alternatively, take your own sat nav in the form of a phone app!
- Think about booking the car from a website in the language of the country you’re going to. It’s often cheaper this way than booking say a French hire car in the UK
- If you’re just going for a short holiday then there’s no point paying for ‘top of the range luxury’
- If your road trip is going to take some time and cover quite a bit of distance then consider going for an unlimited mileage package
- Don’t hire a car seat from the car company as this will be far more expensive than renting one at the airport or even buying one while in the country
- Make sure that if your foreign car hire firm doesn’t offer airport pick up, that they will supply shuttle service to where it can be picked up (otherwise that particular leg of your journey could prove quite costly)
- Don’t pay for a tank of petrol offering from the car company as it will be more expensive than buying petrol yourself
- Be careful with a ‘fuel to empty’ option when it comes to how much petrol you return the car with. It’s pretty difficult to gauge just the right amount of petrol to get you to the drop-off point so chances are you’ll end up paying for petrol you’ll never use
Frequently Asked Questions
How old do I have to be to rent a car?
Most car hire companies insist on a minimum age of 21 and a maximum of 70. It may be possible to rent If you’re under 25 or over 70, but this could involve an additional penalty.
What is an excess waiver?
This is when you don’t have to pay the excess if anything happens to the car while in your possession.
Are there typically mileage limits for car hire?
It depends on the company but usually. There is sometimes the option of ‘unlimited mileage’ with some policies.
How do I find the cheapest car hire deal?
Certainly, you can’t go wrong using QuoteRadar. We work with more than 900 companies in 160 countries and search at least 40000 locations worldwide in order to find you the best deal.
Can I specify that my hire car is an automatic drive?
Most car rental firms will allow you to choose at the time of booking.
Will I have to organise breakdown cover separately?
No, this should be included in the policy – it’s always worth checking though.
Do I have to return the car back with a full tank of petrol or diesel?
Not necessarily. Most companies will ask you to return it in the same state you got it i.e. whether a full or half tank etc.
Will I need to make sure I have a credit card on me when booking car hire?
Most car rental companies like Avis, Alamo, Sixt, Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty, Europcar or Budget do indeed work this way. But it’s not necessary. Although it is a good idea since under the Consumer Credit Act you’ll be protected if you paid more than £100.
I’m always being offered car hire at the same time as I’m booking a flight online. Is this a cheaper way to book?
Unfortunately, this isn’t always necessarily the case in Europe. But when it comes to American car hire there very often are good Fly Drive deals. Always take the time to do your research.
What is the likelihood of me getting to drop a hire car off at an alternative destination i.e. other than where I picked it up?
This is all down to the car hire company you’ve signed up with. They may allow another drop-off point, but it will probably cost more.