Every time we visit Ben’s family in Germany we hire a car. We always pick one up from the airport. We usually always pre-book, but there’s been the odd time, maybe only once, that we didn’t pre-arrange and just went to a desk when we were there. It’s definitely better to book ahead of time to get a great deal and to know what you are paying. I’m never sure if they overcharge when booking directly at a desk, but I always have my suspicions!
Car hire can be relatively cheap providing you book the most basic car for your needs. We always get something that’s big enough for us and our luggage and that’s our only requirement. We never have any additional requirements as we like to keep the cost as low as possible.
Many hire cars do come with add-ons that can start bumping the price up, but often they aren’t needed. Here are eight tips to save money when hiring a car for your road trip:
How can I reduce the cost of car rental?
1. Use your own child seats
Car hire companies can usually provide child car seats, but they come at an extra cost. This is an unnecessary cost if you already have your own! Just take yours out of your own car at the airport and check them in to the oversized baggage area. It may sound like a pain to take your own, but you drop them off as soon as you’ve checked in at the airport, so it’s only a minor inconvenience and it will save you money on the hire car.
2. Take your own GPS
Sometimes our hire cars have come with built in sat-nav at no extra cost, but other times it’s been offered as an extra. If you have your own or a mobile phone with maps you can use, then it’s definitely a waste of money paying for the add-on. If you have your own sat-nav then just make sure it has the correct country’s maps loaded to it before you go!
3. Return the car on time
There are lots of ways you can incur extra fees when hiring a car and one is returning the car late. Make sure you book the return time with plenty of time to spare to avoid any unexpected costs.
4. Source your own hire car insurance
Insurance to cover you in the event of an emergency or accident often bumps up the hire car cost considerably. Check with your own travel insurance first as you may already be covered. Or if not, source your own hire car insurance as it will likely be cheaper than getting it via the hire company.
5. Check for any mileage limits
Some hire cars have limits on how far you can drive them. They’ll charge you a penalty if you go over this. Make sure you aren’t caught out by this and are aware of any limits beforehand or book a car with unlimited mileage if you don’t know how far you’ll be travelling.
6. Fill up
Check what the fuel policy is as it can also be different on different packages or between different firms. They might expect you to return it full or to where it was filled when you got it. Full is the easiest policy, rather than guessing how much was in the car, or even forgetting!
7. Read the small print
Don’t sign anything until you understand exactly what is expected of you and all the limitations and rules of the car hire. If extras are offered then always ask if they are paid-for extras or included in the shown price.
8. Check for cashback
Once you’ve found your perfect car hire deal then always remember to check for cashback at Top Cashback, Quidco or try your luck at Boom25 to see if you can save even more money. Getting cashback costs you nothing and means you’re making a saving on something you are going to purchase anyway. It still amazes me how many people I know who don’t use cashback sites. It’s basically money off all the things you are already buying and takes only a moment extra of your time.
Hopefully your car hire will go without a hitch and you’ll be able to save some money with this advice.
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Your ultimate guide of how to survive a long car journey with kids
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