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Rental Car Tips For First Timers

Post Last Modified – June 27, 2021

Rental Car Tips For First Timers – Save Time & Money

Table of Contents

After years of renting cars in our travels, I thought I would post a few Rental Car Tips that may be helpful to you the next time you’re renting a car.  Many people simply rent a vehicle based on the finding the lowest price possible. 

That may be fine, but beware, you could end up with a car that looks like the one we got in the picture above! 🙁

It was cute to drive, but a little tight for the four of us adults, along with beach bags and goodies crammed in the back!

Instead, you really should be concentrating on the value of the deal for the car you are renting.  As well, the proper coverage and equipment included in your package is very important.

Have a look at this short informative video from a travel expert Peter Greenberg.  The video outlines a couple of very helpful car rental tips that could save you time and money. 

Some useful information to know the next time you rent a car!

Car Rental Tips – Peter Greenberg YouTube Video

 

Rental Car Tips For First Time Renters

Rental Car Tips

Photo by Kaique Rocha from Pexels

Here is a short list of just a few things to consider when selecting a car to rent;

🚗 What type and size of car are you paying for?

🚗 Just what’s included in that rental car anyway?

🚗 Does the car have air conditioning?

🚗 Is unlimited mileage included in the contract?

🚗 Does the rental have an automatic transmission?

💺 Do you have to pay extra for child car seats?

As you can see, all these things add up quickly if not included in the rental policy. So, it is very important to ask a lot of questions and  read the fine print  before signing that contract!

Do not get me wrong, I hate paying higher prices for most anything, but you can save a great deal of money knowing just what is included when renting a car, especially from a major national rental car company.

I do recommend shopping around and check the various rates available, especially when it’s so easy to do these days on the Internet.

national rental car companies

I like to use reputable online booking sites that list all the major national rental car prices with one click of your mouse button.

The photo above shows a few of the major car rental companies used in North America. They all have their own websites and you can get instant real time rental quotes and more online.

 Shop Around – It Is A Very Competitive Market

Get the Best Deal on the Best Car For You

National Rental Car Tips

Rate differences for comparable quality and service are relatively small, sometimes as small as $10 to $20. These slight price differences are going to vanish in the wind when you consider;

🚣 The long lines and lost time at the cheapest car rental counter;

💰 Drop charges for remote destinations;

👮 Late return fines;

⛽ Inflated rates for gasoline.

As well, there may be other service charges you didn’t think about when you thought you were shopping for that best deal.

You need to consider other things besides the price and when you compare, please make sure you compare apples to apples and not apples to pears!

Read the fine print in your rental contract!

More Things To Consider When Renting A Car

Rental Car Tips

Photo by Torsten Dettlaff from Pexels

Here are a couple of more things to consider before renting that car;


👩 Who is going to be driving the car, is anyone under age?

😎 Are you by yourself on a business trip or are you traveling with the whole family?

🚥 If there is going to be more than one person driving, be sure you have the appropriate insurance coverage.

🚌  size of car will I need that will suit the number of people and baggage?

🛺 Is the vehicle going to be big enough?

🥜 Do I need rental car insurance?

💺 Do you need an Infant or a child booster seat?

Never take chances and drive without the proper rental car insurance in place!

My wife and I were involved in a serious rear end collision a few years back when attending the 🏁 NASCAR Races in Phoenix, Arizona.

Luckily, we had the proper collision insurance in place at the time. Because of this, everything went smoothly with the rental car company and the insurance company as well.

This saved us a great deal of time, stress and of course, money!

Do You Require Child Seats With Your Car Rental?

Rental Car Tips

Photo by Avinash Patel from Pexels

If you do need a child seat, make sure it is mentioned clearly in your car rental order. There is often a shortage of child seats and they will charge extra unless otherwise specified in your agreement.

As I have mentioned before,  price is not the only factor to consider when choosing a car rental company.

If you choose a very small, no-name company, do not expect them to provide you with the service expected from a recognized national company such as;

✔ Budget   ✔ Avis   ✔ Hertz   ✔ Alamo   ✔ Enterprise   

What About Road Side Assistance?

broken down car on highway

One other very important consideration to think about when renting a car is what happens in the event of a break down? 

❓ Is there road side assistance included in the event of a break down or collision?

❓ Is it easy to contact the rental car company, arrange for transportation and receive a replacement car immediately?

If not, find a reputable car rental company that does, especially if you are traveling on business!

Before Leaving The Airport Or Rental Car Lot

Inspect Your Rental Car Before Driving Off the Lot

Rental Car Tips

Things you should check and do before leaving the airport or rental lot with your car. 

After that long tiring flight and waiting in line for your luggage at the baggage claim carousel, it is understandable that you just want to take the rented car and drive away to your hotel as quickly as possible.

But wait!

National Rental Car Tips

Here is a list of things you must check first before exiting the car rental lot:

Start by making a careful;

  • Check Around The Car 
    Look for any small dents or scratches.  In the event you find some, don’t be lazy, go back to the office and ask a representative of the rental company to write down all of the previous imperfections and ask for a copy of that report! 

    Otherwise you might be responsible for damages you didn’t perform.

 

  • Open The Trunk
    Make sure you have a spare tire, a jack and set of tools. There is nothing more irritating than to find out in the middle of nowhere that you don’t have a jack when you need to replace a flat tire.

 

  • Get An Extra Key
    If you think you need one. Just  ask the customer service representative for one. This can come in handy for some of us who are absent minded.

 

  • Grab A Map
    Spend few more minutes to plan your driving route.  Most reputable national rental car companies will provide you with local maps free of charge.

Just ask!
 

Do Shop Around Before Renting Your Car

Rental Car Tips

Photo by Kelson Downes from Pexels

I do recommend shopping around and checking the various rates available out in the marketplace.  Especially with how competitive the rental car business has become.

Below, I have included a short list and some handy website links for some of the major rental car companies.

I have rented from most of these companies over the years and have been quite satisfied with their level of service and competitive pricing.

Major Rental Car Companies In North America

Rental Car Tips

Photo by Trace Constant from Pexels

✈    Alamo Car Rental    

✈    Budget Car Rentals

✈    Avis Car Rentals

✈    Enterprise Car Rental

✈    Hertz Car Rentals

✈    National Rental Cars

✈    Dollar Rent A Car

Returning Your Rental Car

Rental Car

  • Return The Car On Time .
    Make all necessary arrangements to return the car on time. If you are late, your credit card will be charged late return fees. 

    Late return charges are high and arbitrary!

  •  Fill Up The Car With Gas.
    If you are late, you probably won’t have time to fill the car with gasoline and the rental company will charge you ⛽ inflated gasoline rates.

 
Final Thoughts Banner

Just a few travel tips when booking a rental car to help you save time and money the next time you may be looking to rent a car on your travels. 

Your car rental should be a care free experience and one that will allow you and your family complete coverage and the equipment suitable for your needs always.

 

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Safe and Healthy Travels! 🙂

signature of author and owner Robert Tellier at https://gr8traveltips.com
 
✨   Did You Know …


“Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental & Alamo Rent A Car Are All Owned By The Taylor Family Of St. Louis, Missouri USA.”

 
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