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Car rental on holiday: tips for a carefree journey

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We sometimes like to rent a car when we’re on holiday abroad. A study on car rental carried out by Sunny Cars shows that for 62%, the ultimate feeling of freedom and flexibility is the main reason for renting a car.

However, there are many more reasons why car rental is popular. In any case, renting a car offers the perfect opportunity to access places where you simply cannot get to otherwise. It also avoids long travel days by public transport. Car rental on holiday is synonymous with comfortable travel.

Popular car rental countries

Spain is the most popular holiday destination to explore by car rental. Greece is also popular, followed by Italy, the United States and Portugal. If you go to these countries on holiday and want to rent a car, it is definitely advisable to book in advance. This reduces any chance of disappointment.

For almost four out of ten holidaymakers there are countries where they absolutely do not dare to drive. Thailand is mentioned the most. Though many people also prefer to take a bus or train in South Africa, Turkey. The traffic situation is a significant factor in this.

The most popular extras when renting a car on holiday

Many people pay for the excess in case of damage and theft when they rent a car. They also often pay an extra fee to be able to use an extra driver. In addition, they pay for unlimited mileage during the holiday, a navigation system and glass, tyre, ground and roof damage cover.

At a number of car rental companies or car rental brokers, almost all of these items are included in the rental price as standard. Booking a navigation system is in most cases not necessary at all. With the free apps on your mobile phone, you can plan your route offline. Make sure you have a charger with you, because using the app will quickly drain your phone’s battery.

The biggest irritations when renting a car on holiday

Our main annoyances when renting a car are unforeseen costs, such as a compulsory insurance and a long queue at the pick-up time. Unfriendly desk staff and unexpected credit card payments are in the top 5 of irritations when renting a car.

Our tips for carefree car rental on holiday

Book from your home country

The advantage of large international car rentals or car rental brokers is that you can book the car in your own country in advance via an English language website. This gives you plenty of time to read the terms and conditions quietly and carefully in your own language and you won’t be faced with any unpleasant surprises.

Book with a rental company or broker with an all-inclusive formula

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No one wants unforeseen, additional insurance costs. That is why several car rental companies offer all-inclusive prices as standard. You know where you stand in advance and you don’t get any unexpected extra costs afterwards. That certainty is worth something!

Read and save the rental agreement well

The rental contract includes all agreements made, such as who drives the car, who rents it, the type of car, mileage at departure, the rental period, damage already present, agreed period and contact details in the event of damage or technical problems. Make sure that this also clearly states who is driving the car. You are insured for those persons, for those who are not listed as drivers you are not insured.

Take valid identity papers with you

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Make sure you have a valid ID when you pick up the car, not only for yourself, but also for any other drivers. Make sure that all drivers have their driver’s licence with them. Check in advance whether an international driving licence is required in your holiday country.

Have sufficient balance on your credit card

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Almost every car rental company requires the deposit to be deducted from the credit card as a reservation. If you don’t have a credit card, this means that you have to pay the deposit in cash in advance. Therefore, a credit card is more convenient. Make sure you have enough credit on your credit card to pay the deposit. If the balance is too low, this will not work and you will not be able to take the car.

If the rental car is returned and everything is in order, please ask for proof that the reservation of the deposit on the credit card can be undone. Take the proof of this with you and keep it in a safe place. Please check the credit card payment from your car rental company later. Is this in line with the agreements made? If you have the correct proof, you can reclaim any unjustified charges from your credit card company.

Choose the right car

When driving in mountainous areas, it is wise not to rent the smallest car with the lightest engine. A car from a higher category drives much more comfortably and is also much more economical during your mountain rides.

Choose a car with enough space for all passengers and luggage. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a free upgrade on the spot. In many cases, however, the rental company will charge you the first price for an upgrade if they see that you have actually rented a car that is too small.

Check the car thoroughly for damage beforehand

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When picking up the rental car, make sure it is in order. Make a note of any damage and check that everything is working. Take pictures of the damage and have it noted on the rental contract by the rental company.

Be careful with pick-up and return times

If you want to rent the car for a week and you take the rental car out at 11:00 a.m., make sure you return it on the last day before 11:00 a.m. If you do not return the car until 12 noon, the rental company will charge you a full extra day. Sometimes it is cheaper to rent a car for 7 days than for example 5 or 6 days. This gives you not only a financial advantage but also a margin of manoeuvre for the return time.

Please note the agreements on refuelling

Although it is usually customary to return the car with a full fuel tank, there are also companies that work with an arrangement whereby you can return the tank empty. This is often very disadvantageous for the customer. The landlord charges a high fuel price and adds a substantial amount for service costs. An arrangement whereby the car is delivered with a full tank of fuel is therefore much more attractive.

Damage and technical problems

In case of technical problems, please contact the emergency number or the rental company directly. Make sure that you always have this emergency number at hand. Do not go on your own to a garage to have something done for the car. This way, you avoid having to pay for it yourself.

Our advice for a carefree car rental on holiday

We regularly use a rental car when we are on holiday. We have experienced that renting a car at Zest Car Rental was always easy, and without any catches! When we picked up the rental car at our destination, there was never any hassle with insurance, paying extra for an extra driver or any other issues.