When I travel overseas, I prefer to hire a car to explore my latest destination. I just find it so much easier to be able to go where I want and to see what I want. Not to mention it provides shelter from bad weather, a place to put all of my things and a place to charge my phone and camera.
Hiring a car isn’t for everyone, but sometimes it is just the fear of not knowing how to hire a car that stops people from doing it. Hopefully the below tips will help you feel more confident to hire a car on your next adventure.
Step one – Researching a car
Picking the car hire company
I feel this more comes down to what comforts you. There are hundreds of different car hire companies around and some have a better reputation than others. Do your research and don’t forget to take budget into consideration!
Pick a car that will suit your needs
Are you going four wheel driving? City driving? Are there heaps of people in the car? Or will it be just you? Heaps of different factors to take in when you are browsing the internet for that perfect car.
Are you under the age of 25?
Essentially there is a fee if you are under 25 as the insurance costs so much more but it can be done. Some of the lesser known car hire companies may offer a waiver of the fee but please do your research first.
Do you need an International Drivers Permit (IDP)?
This answer can be covered with some quick Google research. But make sure you do it so you don’t waste your money or your time!! This is a step that quite a few people forget.
Step Two – Signing the Papers
List all of the drivers that will drive
This is a requirement and you will thank your lucky stars if something goes wrong. Also don’t forget about the under 25 fee.
Get all of the details about the insurance
Ask about collision insurance, excess and any other insurances/fees you may have to pay in case of an accident. Your travel insurance may cover this as well but I would recommend doing your research beforehand.
Clarify the phone numbers in case there is an issue
This is a just in case although all of the paperwork you get from the car hire company should have the phone numbers written on them.
Returning the car with a full tank
Double check if you are to return the car with a full tank of fuel. If you don’t, you may get slapped with high prices to fill it back up. While you are there, check if the car takes diesel, unleaded petrol etc.
Step Three – Checking out the Car
The cosmetics of the car
Walk around the car and film it, find any marks and scratches and make a note of it. This will hopefully save you if the car hire company has any issues with marks on the car upon its return.
Check the spare tyre, jack and brace
Is it all there and do you know how to use it? It is better to be safe than sorry!
Familiarise yourself with the car features
Reverse – I have been caught out with this one before. When I was in Scotland I could not work out how to get my car to reverse (it was manual). For the life of me, I couldn’t get it in the right gear. It turns out there was a little disk that I had to pull up and that would get me into reverse. Now this is quite common today but I had never come across it before!
Hand brake – Is it a foot pedal or is it next to the driver in the middle section?
Indicators/windscreen wipers – which sides are they on?
Cruise control – how to use it?
Petrol cap – are there any tricks on how to open it? Is there a lever you have to pull? Screw cap? Better to check before you get caught at the petrol station!
I hope these tips help you with finding the perfect car to hire and to get you out to explore! Let me know in the comments section below if you have any more tips about hiring a car!