How to Rent A Car

Why It Pays To Know Your Car Rental Service

Car rental service providers come in different shapes and sizes, and they all offer different sorts of promos and packages to entice more customers.  With so many car rental providers, it's quite easy to get lost in the details, and fall for a rental service that fails to meet your expectations.  Here are a number of reasons why it pays to know your car rental company.

Determine The True Rental Cost
For first-time rent-a-car customers, bear in mind that the rates advertised on TV, in the newspaper or on the Internet could just be inflated or filled-up with lots of local and state taxes and charges.  The advertised rates may even include gas bills, drop-off charges, insurance, driver's fees and airport charges.  This means that if you do not read the contract properly, you could end up paying more than what you expected for.  The good thing about the major car rental companies today however, is that they have become more transparent when it comes to releasing information regarding rental rates, booking processes, drop-off regulations, additional driver charges, insurance and other special promos.  And like the airline companies, the major rental firms have also set up a system wherein they quickly re-adjust rates according to the supply of available vehicles, therefore this means that rental rates are only valid for a specific period.  If you immediately reserve before the current rates were advertised, you could get a much lower rate.

What You Need To Do Before Returning The Vehicle
Before returning the car to the specified drop-off point, here are a few pointers to keep in mind.  First, always fill up the tank with gas so that you will only be paying for the gas you actually used.  Also try avoiding getting gas at fuel stations near the airport, as prices tend to be much higher there.  To find  affordable gas stations during your trip, try logging on to web sites like GasBuddy.com (USA and Canada) FuelWatch.com.au (WA).  According to some rental car industry analysts, it may actually cost you more if you return your vehicle early, because apart from paying an early return fee, the rate structure is most likely going to change too, which means that you'll be forced to pay extra for the difference.  Well, returning the car late will also cost you extra penalties though, as most of the major car rental firms offer only a 30-day grace period, before they start levying penalties.   

Before returning the vehicle to the drop-off station, ensure that you fully check the luggage compartment as well as the seats, so that you won't be leaving any valuables behind.  The most common items left in a rental car are sun glasses, mobile phones, umbrellas, wallets and make-up kits.  Also make sure that the check-in attendant or representative at the drop-off point fully inspects the vehicle in your presence, to verify if there any damage or alterations.  Finally, re-read and examine your rental  agreement and check all charges, to see whether the company credits any deposit to your account, or adds any extra charges.

 

Auto Rental Deals:  How To Find The Most Flexible One

Car rental services remain popular choices among businessmen and tourists today. An auto rental serves as a convenient and hassle-free alternative to riding the bus, train or taxi.  However, getting the right car rental service is getting trickier by the day, as automakers have rolled back their discounted rates, and the major rental providers are also cutting costs.  With the increasing competition among the major service providers and the local upstarts, here are a number of helpful ideas on how to  get the best,  most price-friendly car rental deals.    

Do Not Limit Your Search
To find the best possible auto rental rates, widen your search activity, and don't just limit yourself to analyzing a few prospects.  Start by scouring the worldwide web for the best deals, particularly on sites such like Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline, Hotwire, Orbitz and more. It would also be nice if you can drop by the rental firm's web site and have a chat with their representatives. 

Book Weeks In Advance
Once you've narrowed your search for the the  companies that truly offer the juiciest deals, weigh each other's offerings, and select the one that's most favorable to you.  After that, remember to book in advance, because this allows you to safely dodge any future price increases, and you won't be locked-in too should the rates suddenly drop.  Remember that no penalty is levied for anyone who cancels a reservation if he or she finds a much cheaper rate elsewhere.

Consider Convenience As Well As Cost
Some auto rental agencies have been slashing rates on SUV's and large vehicles, after their customers backed off because they're afraid of filling up a larger gas tank.  This means that if you require extra space, then getting a bigger vehicle may offer you a better deal.  In configuring car rental deals, make sure you consider convenience, as well as costs.  While you might get what seems like a "bargain" from a small rent-a-car firm, you may end up paying more for the inconvenience of waiting longer  for the next available car to arrive, or you could end up trapped in the middle of nowhere if the rental service lacks mechanics or satellite offices. If you wish for faster service, try asking the rental firm if they have frequent-user clubs or promos, so that you'll have a quicker time during checkout period.  

Factor In Taxes and Other Charges

Majority of business owners today agree that local, state and federal governments have already gone overboard when it comes to levying taxes on them. Just go the airport today, and you'll see auto rental firms pay "concessionaire" fees, "customer facility" charges, "tourism development" fees and so forth.  The state and local governments have also gleefully jumped into the tax payment-binge by  levying travel taxes, highway user's fees and more.  Before signing-up with any auto rental service, always ask for a full disclosure from the company representative with regard to whatever additional fees and taxes are thrown in. Also try considering renting "off-site".  While renting off-site will still require you to pay taxes, the rates are much cheaper at the secondary venues, as compared to getting a rental service from the airport terminal or hotel.  If you're traveling to the major cities, you may find out later that the public transport system, or even the airport shuttle are very much reliable. Should  you determine, in advance, that the area you're going to offers a reliable shuttle or public transport service, you'd probably be better off with using them, rather than renting a vehicle.    

   

How To Steer Clear of Auto Rental Traps


If you prefer to travel in style, comfort and convenience during a business trip or holiday tour, the auto rental service should be your best friend.  And while there are lots of service providers to choose from today, both the major players and startup outfits, the key to getting the right rental company lies on how you thoroughly conduct your homework.  To get the best car rental service, here are a number of potential traps that you need to carefully watch out for.

Find Out The Real Score Regarding One-Way or Two-Charges
Before signing up with any car rental firm, make sure you first ask the reservations agent about one-way charges.  Let's say for example you rent a full-size vehicle at the Miami-Dade airport, and you will drop it off in Dallas, Texas 2 days later.  If you take a closer look at the per-day rates of the major providers, you'd probably companies like Avis, Budget or Alamo, as they charge $105 per-day, and you'd choose to hire Dollar, which "charges" only $47.99 per day.  However, what need to know is that Dollar Rent-A-Car actually levies a "drop charge" of $505.44, which in effect brings your total bill to almost $700.  How you wished you could have just signed up with the other three rental firms instead,, yet it's too late now that you've already arrived in Dallas.  

Would Getting A Luxury Car Cost Me More?
If you want to travel in style, you might think that getting a luxury vehicle like a Mercedes Benz, Jaguar or Cadillac Escalade would truly hurt your budget. Let's take a look at the major service providers and weight costs.  Thrifty, Dollar and Hertz for example, charge more than $700 for a two-day trip, but National and Alamo are known to only charge $350.  So if you chose the latter, you'd get the same car, and the same route, for half the cost.  The lesson here is that you should never quickly assume that you'll be paying more for a luxury car, as long as you do your research. 

Find Out If There Are Any Extra Cleaning Charges

Most auto rentals services today reserve the right to charge customers a hefty fee for any deep cleaning that's done on a dirty vehicle.  This means that if somebody spills something inside the car, or gets sick and vomits on the flooring, once you return it to the drop off station and they see the smudges, you'll most likely be billed extra. Always remember to fully clean up the vehicle before returning it.  The truth is you'll actually save more if you pay an auto detailer to clean up the mess first, before returning the vehicle to the garage.  

Auto rental customers should also know that majority of rental service providers today hold their customers responsible for any damage cause by "force majeure" or acts of nature.  This means if that if the car gets damaged due to floods, tornadoes, hailstorms, hurricanes, earthquakes and other disasters, you'd still be billed for the damage done.  Always remember to cast a much wider net, and check out the prices and features of each rental agency, before you book.