5 money saving tips for hiring a car abroad
Do you get that nagging feeling you’re being ripped off when you hire a car abroad? The prices on the rental company’s website might seem reasonable when you book; but do the hidden costs ramp up by the time you return your little holiday run around?
We’ve hired cars for holidays in Europe where we’ve flown in and wanted to explore further than the sun beds by the pool. Having some freedom is a must for us particularly when we took Tot on her first trip abroad for a friend’s wedding and when I had the opportunity for a bit of early summer sun with the girls in France last year.
France was the first time I had driven abroad and I was in the car alone with the kids – eek! I’m not sure if I was more worried about driving on the right side of the road or picking up any extra rental charges.
However, if you plan ahead there’s lots of ways you can save money hiring a car abroad. Here’s some tips:
1. Buy excess insurance before you travel
Each time we’ve hired cars aboard I’ve winced at the bit where the rep tries to sell you excess insurance when you pick up the keys. The costs are extortionate and often work out more than the daily hire fee itself. It feels like a hidden cost and, if you haven’t already thought about it, could set you back a lot more than necessary.
The answer is to buy car hire excess insurance through a company like Questor Insurance. They cover the excess should your hire car be stolen or damaged. Their policies also cover for lost keys, miss-fuelling, loss or damage to auto glass, the roof, tyres, wheel rims and the car under body, plus towing and loss of use, giving you plenty of peace of mind.
2. Make your booking early
Book your car before you travel as the prices will be higher when you reach your destination.
3. Avoid unfair fuel charges
Opt for a hire company that wants you to return the vehicle with a full tank, rather than one that charges you for the whole tank regardless. This means you’ll only ever pay for what you use. Companies who say they’ll refund you for any unused fuel may also charge an administration fee to do so. How cheeky is that?!
4. Bring your own child car seats
It might seem like another cumbersome piece of luggage to haul through the airport but bringing your own car seats will save you money on hiring them. You can also be reassured that your seats are safe.
On the one occasion where we did hire a child’s car seat through a car rental company we were given no guidance on how to fit it, it was dirty and had obviously been well used. Airlines will allow you to transport car seats for free just like they do pushchairs.
5. Navigate with your phone
Rather than paying a daily fee to rent a Sat-Nav bring your own or use the maps app on your phone to get around. Many mobile phone operators now allow you to use your data bundle abroad so unlocking this removes an extra car hire cost.
An offer for you!
Questor Insurance are offering a 10% discount to my blog readers. Use the code ‘TIN2276’ when you get a quote.
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