When you are going away for a business trip or a vacation, sometimes it is necessary for you to rent an automobile to get you around.  Traveling ought to be a fun and exciting journey, so worrying about your car rental experience going bad is not what you want to do.  Read on for 4 tips for a hassle-free car rental experience.

1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK ON CAR RENTAL COMPANIES

This is going to take some effort on your part.  Don’t assume that all the car rental companies offer rates at about the same price because there can be considerable differences.  Also, some companies have hidden fees that will catch up with you when you drop your car off and get that final bill.  Do your homework on various companies and compare rates and services.

If you go to a travel website like Travelocity or Expedia, you can get a ballpark figure of car rental prices.  This is a good place to start.  For example, if you need a rental car at an airport, simply type in the airport and the dates that you need the car.  A list of companies will pop up with different types of vehicles and their rates per day.  I know Travelocity lists the taxes and fees and total cost for you.  There are also rules and information that discusses things like adding personal accident insurance, gas refueling charges, taxes, and much more.  Be sure to read over all of that.

You can also go to the companies website, such as Enterprise, and see if they have a better deal.  Don’t be afraid to call and try to negotiate as well or check online for promotion codes.  The key here is to take some time and become familiar with car rentals.

2.  READ THE RULES AND TERMS CAREFULLY

Let me assure you that the company that you are renting your car from will have many rules and terms.  Read them carefully and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you have them.  Listed in the rules and terms will be all the fees associated with a car rental. Some of the fees are optional, like loss damage waivers or personal accident insurance.  Check to see if your own car insurance covers rental cars because many do.  Also, Some credit cards offer car rental insurance when you charge the car rental in full on the credit card – check with your credit card company to see if they offer this benefit.  There’s no sense in you purchasing extra if you don’t need it.  It is best that you know ahead of time what you will need and what your total cost will be before signing any papers.

3.  CHOOSE A SMALL, ECONOMICAL CAR

It is tempting to go all out and rent that big SUV you’ve always wanted, but be aware that moderate and large-sized vehicles are going to cost you more per day as well as get lower gas mileage than a small, economical car.

Sometimes the lot may be out of small cars so they may offer you a moderate sized car for no additional charge.  You can always ask for a free upgrade as well.  Be aware of the gas mileage though, because with the high price of gasoline these days, it is wise to go with a vehicle that gets good gas mileage.

4.  ASK AROUND FOR REFERALLS AND KNOW YOUR OPTIONS.

Perhaps your friends or family members have had great experiences with a certain car rental company.  Ask around for references. There are plenty of companies to choose from. Some of the more common companies are: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, and National.

You can also check out travel websites such as Travelocity, Expedia, and Orbitz.

The more you rent cars, the more familiar you will become with the reservations, prices, and the entire process.  If you are a beginner, take a deep breath and enjoy the process of learning how to experience a hassle-free car rental.

 

Dominique Rodriguez contributed to this article.  Remember, renting a car should be a stress-free easy experience.  So take advantage of your credit card benefits when you charge the car rental to eligible credit cards offering car rental insurance.

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