Finally, you arrived in Spain, your holiday destination. You’re planning to drive around the country, or at least rent a car for driving to the hotel and to be able to use the car for different vacation activities. Upon arrival at the airport it turns out that renting a car is not always easy and costs can increase quickly. If you don’t pay attention, the total costs for a rental car can increase way above your initial budget. In just a blink of an eye. The following tips can help you to avoid this in the future.
Renting a car can be really convenient on a vacation destination. A car will give you the freedom to go places, tour around and move around freely. It will give you the opportunity to not be dependent on public transport or taxis. Besides, with a car you are able to reach places you won’t be able to reach without a car. However, the actual process of renting a car can be difficult and costly.
You should keep some issues in mind when booking and renting a car.
Most people book a rental car in advance and pick it up at the airport. Others include a car in another booking. For example, as part of a complete vacation, airline booking or hotel booking. There are different ways to book a rental car. Each way has its own advantages, but also disadvantages. Therefor the most important question in this blog is: How can you book a cheap rental car?
Read more about tips on how to rent a car.
The pickup location
As I mentioned, many people prefer to pick up the rental car immediately from the airport. However, this is not always the most affordable option. In fact, rentals at airports tend to have the highest prices.
It often pays off to take a (free) shuttle bus towards a location outside the airport. It will cost you extra time, but will save money. Many rental companies near the airport (as oppose to at the airport) offer free shuttle buses towards the car rental office. The difference can be a few hundreds of euros of savings for each week.
However, a bit of research prior to booking your car pays off as well. Compare different prices of different rental agencies. Don’t only focus on rental agencies at the airport. Most people book and pick up a rental car at the airport. Therefor prices here can be high. It is very well possible that prices of rental agencies in a city or town are way cheaper. This does imply you need to go to the city first without a car. However, this effort might save you a few hundreds of euros.
Prices vary between rental agencies, but also from time to time at a certain agency. Prices depend on availability and on popularity. The higher the demand, the higher the prices. This means you might be able to find a better price when doing some research and by comparing prices of different agencies.
Tip: Keep in mind that dropping-off a car at another place cost more than dropping off the car at the place of picking up. This counts especially in countries where this is usual. For example, to rent a car for a road trip in the United States or Chile.
Of course, it is possible to rent a car while arriving. Many airports have several car rental agencies. They have a desk at the arrival area. Do expect, however, to pay the highest possible price when renting a car on the spot. It pays off to reserve a car well in advance.
Besides, car rental companies only have a limited amount of cars available in different classes. When you prefer a certain car, it is very possible they don’t have one available during your vacation period. The earlier you book, the more chance you have of availability and the best price.
Rental agencies have many options for additional things. For example: a navigation system, dropping the car off a few hours later, dropping the car off with an empty gas tank, insurances and an extra driver. You might think you need these extra’s. Do, however, carefully consider whether you really need these additions. These additions have a relative high extra price.
Also, investigate these extra’s and the prices while booking your car. The prices might be lower during booking than during pick up. This also allows you to better compare prices. Car rental agencies tend you try to sell you additions in a very convincing way, although you don’t really need them.
Also choose the car rental agency that offers the best fuel policy. Some agencies have a full/full policy. This means you’ll receive the car with a full tank and need to deliver it back with a full tank. This allows you to choose the lowest fuel price.
Other agencies have a full/empty policy and hold a high price for the fuel you’ve used + additional service costs for refuelling.
Tip: choose an agency that has a full/full fuel policy and keep an eye for cheap fuel on the way back to drop off the car.
What car do you actually need? When searching for the cheapest car it is easy to choose the wrong car.
Car rental agencies often have different categories in cars: small, medium and large cars. Small cars are cheapest, but very small as well. Small cars might seat 4 persons, but not 4 persons + 4 suitcases. Keep this in mind when booking a car. Don’t be fooled by the price, but rather choose the car that fulfills you demands.
We advice you to filter out the different options to search for the cars you actually need.
Tip: Are you traveling with small children? Bring you own car seat in the plain. Most airlines allow you to bring you own car seat. This saves costs during the booking process. Do keep in mind that a child seat takes a full seat in the car.