Renting a car is such a common part of the travel experience that you’d think the car rental process would be straightforward and transparent, yet somehow it is anything but. Among all your options, there are some things you don’t need to do and should do when renting a car. Below are a few tips to get you on your way.
Don’t Purchase Prepaid Gas
Prepaying for gas may seem convenient but it means you’ll pay for a full tank of gas, even if you return with the tank half full. Most rentals are on a “get it full, return it full” fuel policy. If you return a car with less than a full tank, the rental company refuels it and adds it to your bill at a per-gallon charge that can be double or triple the going rate.
Avoid “Extra” Rental Fees
Drop-off charges, additional drivers, and additional extras are what you’re most likely to encounter. Drop-off charges are an extra fee if you drop the car off at a different location from where you picked it up. Adding additional drivers to your rental agreement may result in a surcharge. Some major companies allow a renter’s spouse or domestic partner to drive the vehicle at no extra cost. GPS navigation, child seats, roof racks, and satellite radio are some of the most common additional extra costs that could cost you $3 – $25 a day.
Always inspect the inside and outside of the rental car before leaving, or dropping off the vehicle. Look for scratches, scuffs, loose parts, working power windows and mirrors, and more. Anything that could potentially be considered damage should be photographed and or recorded. Make the company aware or you might end up paying for it. Never assume that a ding is too small to warrant noting or that the car company already knows about damage. If it’s not listed on the car condition form, speak up.
Feel the Freedom
Renting a car allows you the freedom to gallivant around and enjoy new places. You have the advantage over public transportation with a car that fits the nature of your trip, family members, and travel companions. Enjoy the luxury of making as many stops as you want and follow the route you consider interesting.