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7+ Do’s & Don’ts of Car Rental

Shopping for a rental online has never been this easy until the emergence of seamless digital markets and online car rental outlets. Today, car rental agencies offer virtual windows with convenient booking calendars and pricing options, making it just a few clicks away! Customers can virtually stroll and choose the best available option and make bookings without stepping out of the house. Easy access, quick response and seamless money transfer functionalities have helped this industry grow to new heights. 

Digital intervention has resulted into a steep competition, pushed car rental companies to specifically focus on improving their fleet of vehicles, customer services, 24/7 online support and flawless money transferring system to help customers finish the process without any barrier. 

But there are still some do’s and don’ts of car rental. Mind these car rental tips and tricks to avoid getting burned by all the small details.

1- Do try smaller rental companies: A large segment of car rental market is dominated by popular rental companies; however, small independent companies are slowly filling the gap in between. Despite the hegemony that large car rental companies enjoy, there are a lot of viable options for budget conscious travelers or for people who are ready to serve a little more time on digging about the market, rates and trends. The more car rental companies are pouring in, the more competition is getting steeper than ever in pricing and variety. So, if you are looking for a vehicle that suits your need and budget, look out for what small agencies are offering! Although, renting a car from a reputed company may be more convenient, and looks reliable but small or mid-level agencies tend to be more responsive to your needs and budget. New companies innovate more often, not just their fleet but services to retain existing customers and have new clients, so, why not cash the opportunity? Gain more insights by checking multiple car rental sites to have rate comparisons, so that you are able to make informed decisions. 

2- Don’t compromise on the vehicle: Before you pick any vehicle, think about the purpose you are hiring for. If you are renting for a family or any business trip where you are accompanied by your family and colleagues, you may need a large sedan or SUV. Or if you are alone, you can go for the smallest model to save bucks. Discuss your requirement thoroughly without compromising on the vehicle space or effectiveness, there is no way 6 people can fit in a small car or an old model could take you for a mountain ride. Be realistic! Focus, on the active features such as automatic or manual transmission, fuel consumption, tracker, GPS etc. so you are free from accidents or technical failures on the road.

3- Do ask for a driver: If you are new to any destination, its much easier to look around for places with a seasoned driver. It would save you both, time and money. If there are any plans for inter-city traveling, you can share the responsibility while the driver can rest too. At least he would be there for any help. Having a driver is important because, you may not know about specific no-go areas and entering that could cost you must. So if you are in a new country, make sure you have a proper road-map, a first aid kit and a driver to help you look around nicely.  

4- Don’t forget to fix rates: Car hire agencies often look for upscale fixes. So before you book any car online, read all the terms and conditions carefully while making any reservation. Do your homework and compare rates for a variety of vehicles to closely understand market trends. If you are physically trying and testing any car, ask for restrictions and penalty for not showing up on time or the same day. Also, ask about what would happen if you drive more than any fixed number of miles? Don’t skip another important question like, would you pay any less on returning before time? Dig everything especially about the toll taxes, would those be included or excluded from the rent? 

Most rental companies give prices inclusive of all taxes, so be careful or you may end up paying extra. Also ensure if the vehicle you’re hiring is legal and is free from police records. Double check with an authorization hold on your credit card upon your reservation, which allows a company to keep certain amount as security. This doesn’t get processed until you fail to return the car as specified in your contract.

5- Do inspect before signing any car: Online car booking is one of the easiest ways to reserve any vehicle, but it takes away the opportunity from you to check or inspect the vehicle you are signing for. But as soon as the car arrives your doorstep, check it thoroughly. Don’t forget to take fuel or mileage reading. Most car rental companies are reluctant about small things so there is nothing wrong in reminding them about it. However, some may find damages as a profit making opportunities. So before it gets on you, make sure you check it before signing any contract.  This is why it’s important to give the car pre-rental inspection. Mark every scratch, ding or dent in record, no matter how small or insignificant it is so that they may not count all these in your record. Take notes on the rental agreement, pinpoint even the slightest scratch or the best you could do is taking pictures of with your mobile or digital camera to record that you are not responsible for anything that have not committed.

6- Don’t wait for the last minute deals: Generally, it is believed that last minute deals are cheapest and offer more! Last minute deals are often targeted to attract customers who are less interested in a quality drive yet more into saving. However, agencies are smart enough to cover their costs some way or the other. Therefore, if you are traveling to another country, book your car one week prior to your flight or at least before you depart for that country. Never wait for the last minute deals if you are traveling to an unknown destination, where you have no one to receive you. Early booking could save you from ambiguity, mental stress and offer flexibility if required at the eleventh hour. Moreover, you have a wider gallery to select at better rates, whereas discounted deals have restricted list of vehicles to offer. Why drive any lesser?


7- DO arrange a ‘mini’ road safety kit: Accidents are always uncalled. Unexpected events may occur, therefore you should be ready with a mini road safety kit to handle any uncalled emergency. A flash light, extra battery and first aid equipment would be enough for you to handle any uncertainty.  Even though you’re renting a car, emergencies and unexpected events can happen. It’s a good idea to pack a mini-version of your DIY road safety kit and include just-in-case items such as a flashlight, extra batteries, flares, your roadside assistance card and of course, your travel assistance membership card in case you get sick or hurt and need emergency medical assistance when you’re more than 50 miles away from home.

+ Last but not least, it is best to trust word of mouth! Ask for reviews and recommendations from your friends and family. Tried and tested may work for you too!

Safe Travels