Holidaying on one of the great continents such as North America or Europe can be a great adventure. What adds to that sense of adventure is the freedom of movement that comes with hiring a car for the duration of your trip. Having the ability to go where you want and see things off the tourist track can create memories of a lifetime, but you should approach hiring a car with the same diligence and attention to detail that you would pay to any contract-based deal. There are often clauses in the fine print that can catch out the unwary, so to help you with your car hire decision we have compiled a list of things to watch out for and how to get the best car rental deal tailored to your personal needs.
Pick a perfect match
Sounds obvious, but make sure you book a car suited to your needs. There’s little point hiring a compact car if there is five adults plus luggage for a cross-country road trip. Select a car within budget, that suits your planned journey, and one in which you feel comfortable to drive. Large cars with automatic transmissions are the norm in America, whilst in Europe it can be the opposite. Booking a small automatic car in Europe can often mean a free upgrade to a larger vehicle due to small cars being unavailable due to overwhelming popularity.
Look before you leap
Don’t hire the first car you see. Browse individual car hire provider websites including Ace Airport Parking, to research the best deal. Airlines, hotels, or even your travel agent may also have competitive deals worth considering.
Save in advance
Don’t show up at a foreign car rental business expecting to hire a car on the spot. Car rental is big business, and as such, stock can be limited. You will most likely have booked your flights well in advance and it is advisable to take the same approach with car rental. Discounts are common for those willing to book and pay well in advance. Research a package deal when booking flights and accommodation as many are linked. Try using our car rental comparison calculator to see some of the amazingly competitive car rental offers we have been able to put together for you at your chosen destination.
Can I drive on an ordinary licence?
Whipping out your local licence to a foreign Highway Patrol officer might make you feel like an international jet setter, but it most likely won’t wash. Driving overseas will require you to have an International driving permit (IDP) which is a requirement for renting a car. If you happen to have a foreign bingle, your travel insurance policy may reject your claim if they find you don’t have one. IDPs can only be purchased from RACV or other Australian auto clubs.
Breaking down in a dangerous part of town will make for an exciting story upon your return. Just to be on the safe side, ask if breakdown assistance is provided as part of your car hire agreement. Membership to a motoring organisation such as RACV Roadside Assistance will often entitle you to reciprocal benefits in other parts of the world, including emergency breakdown assistance and towing.
Picking up & dropping off
Stepping off the plane and into a shiny new hire car sounds appealing, but you will pay a premium for the privilege of renting from the airport. Plan your journey, as car hire firms place a hefty premium on picking up from one location and returning to another.
Didn’t notice the car had a door mirror missing until you returned the vehicle? Tough luck. When you pick up the vehicle, go over it with a fine toothcomb for pre-existing damage. Check the exterior, the interior, and the underside for any hidden cracks and scratches, or missing door mirrors! Ensure that the car hire representative confirms the existence of existing damage and signs off on the damage report.
Some people consider getting lost part of the adventure. If you don’t, you can download offline maps to your phone, which connects to your phone’s inbuilt GPS, costing you nothing and you can avoid those costly global roaming data charges. Alternatively, you can bring a GPS from Australia – make sure you pre-purchase and download the country’s maps. On the other hand, rent a GPS from your car hire provider, because even if the car you choose to hire comes with a factory fitted GPS, the car hire company often disables it, so plan ahead.
Your existing travel insurance policy often includes some form of car hire insurance. It may be cheaper to pay a little extra on that policy as opposed to paying a lot more through the car hire company to ensure you are adequately covered. Just ensure any payout figure equals or surpasses that of the car hire provider’s excess.
Ace Airport Parking now offers competitive rates on car rental from major providers such as Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Budget, and more. Whether you need car hire from one of Australia’s major airports, or a car to get you around on an overseas holiday, we can arrange the perfect transport at affordable rates. Simply take advantage of our car rental comparison calculator and then book a great deal on short or long-term Melbourne airport car parking at our secure airport parking facility.