1. Choose A Car To Suit Your Needs
Choosing a rental car to suit your needs is more than just picking one that looks nice. Here are a few things to take into consideration before booking your vehicle:
Can you drive both a manual and automatic car?
If you only hold an automatic license, you will need to ensure you book an automatic car. Of course, manual license holders can drive either, but it depends what you’re comfortable driving. Remember to factor in distance and how long you’ll be stuck behind the wheel — in this instance comfort will be key (see below)!
How many people will be with you?
Travelling by yourself gives you the option of picking what car you prefer and what suits your budget. However, if you’re travelling with your family or friends, consider selecting a car with some extra legroom for your companions.
What will you be using the car for (sight-seeing, off-roading etc.)?
Although you will have to check if adventurous activities, like off-roading, are permitted with the hire car agency (in some instances such driving can void your insurance), your plans will affect the type of car you choose. If you’re just seeing the sights, a standard car will suit your needs, but you may need a 4WD for visiting some national parks.
Will you be in the car for long periods of time?
Planning on being in the car a lot? Think about how comfortable you will be in the vehicle for prolonged amounts of time. Most cars come with air conditioning and heaters, but making sure you have comfy seats may save you unnecessary stops to stretch your legs.
Are you on a budget?
Generally, smaller cars are cheaper to rent, and will use less petrol. If you plan on driving a lot, select a car with good fuel efficiency — this will help make your trip more cost-effective.
2. Before Booking Your Rental Car
Before booking your car, here are a few things to find out:
Use an online comparison website to check out any current deals and the best prices for car rentals. When you find one that suits, lock it in!
Find Out Any Inclusions/Exclusions
Thoroughly read the rental car website FAQ’s page to find out as much information as you can. Items such as car seats may be included for one car or company, and not another.
Ask About Pick Up/Drop Off Times
If the information is not provided, ask the car rental agency if they have specific pick up and drop off times. If they do, ask if there are any penalty rates for outside these times. If you’re looking to hire a car from the airport, you may be charged an extra fee, so be wary of hidden costs! If you’re not sure, call the company and ask.
3. When You Collect The Car
When you collect your rental car, chances are there will be a security deposit to ensure the safe drop off of the vehicle. To help ensure you get the entire security deposit back, check out these tips:
Before you leave the lot of the car yard, thoroughly inspect the vehicle. If you find anything worth noting, take a photo on your phone. This will give you a time and date stamp to confirm any dints or marks were there before you drove the car. The company should also provide you with their pre-inspection paperwork, which details any damage on the car prior to being in your possession. If you find any extra damage that is not shown on their report, write it on your copy of the report and talk to the staff directly.
Write Down The Emergency Number
Touch wood it doesn’t happen, but in the event of an accident or breakdown you need to know who to call. Find out if a fee is charged for calling the relevant person for the incident involved prior to leaving the car rental agency.
Read The Rental Agreement
Thoroughly read the rental agreement form before signing. Make sure you understand all conditions, including some roads that may be off-limits, and ask any questions needed.
Fill Up & Clean Out
Prior to handing the car back to the rental agency, fill the tank up (check the fuel type first) and remove all your belongings and any rubbish from the vehicle. Sweep out any sand or dirt and make sure the car is in good, clean condition.
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