Hiring a car for holiday travelling is the normal situation for visitors from overseas who want to explore the country in their own time and fashion. However, holiday hire cars are also becoming increasingly popular with interstate visitors. By taking advantage of discount air fares, travellers can save time by flying to their destination, driving around in a hired car, leaving it at the airport at the end of the holiday and flying home.
For the traveller embarking on this option for the first time, there are a few things a novice needs to know about hiring a vehicle that will save time and money. The first thing to consider is whether it is more cost effective to buy a basic package and pay for extras independently, or opt for the hire company’s add-ons. The only way to be sure is to cost both options and decide which one is the best for individual circumstances.
Is BYO the Cheapest and Best Option?
If you need a satellite navigation device to find your way around, it could be cheaper to bring your own than to pay the daily cost for one from the hire company. The same applies to baby seats and child booster seats which can become expensive, especially if there is more than one child who needs them. Again, check the car hire prices and decide if you would rather bring your own. Remember to check if the airline will allow them as luggage and what the extra cost it will be to bring them along. It may be cheaper to pay the hire company charges but unless the comparison is done, you will never know.
Ensure that there are ample funds on your credit card to not only cover any unexpected expenses during the holiday, but to cover the cost of the car insurance excess that the hire car company may pre-authorise in the event of an accident. This is normal practice but if it is not explained clearly at the outset, people run the risk of maxing out their credit card.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Before taking delivery of the car, note all damage and video or photograph both the exterior and interior. Make a note of any pre-existing damage on the rental agreement unless the hire company provides an inspection checklist for the same purpose. Ensure that someone from the hire company countersigns the notes to avoid any disputes when the vehicle is returned. Do the same again when the vehicle is handed back and keep the paperwork. This should prevent an unscrupulous hire company from trying to assign blame for damage you did not do.
The final thing to be careful of and one of the most important, is to check credit card statements to make sure nothing appears on there that was not part of the rental agreement. Do this for several months to make sure nothing sneaks on there when you least expect it. Most hire car companies are ethical and value positive customer feedback and repeat business, so if you see something out of the ordinary just give them a call and they will sort it out for you.