Convenient but beware
Renting a car while on holidays abroad is a great choice if your looking to explore in a greater distance where your visiting. Sometimes renting the car can be straightforward but there’s always a few key things you should be aware of before you rent and before you arrive at your destination.
How to choose a rental company
In almost all cases it is cheaper to book a car to rent online before you travel than it is to try and book a car at the desk at the destination airport. You are also more likely to find a better car to suit your needs. There are a number of comparison websites to get the best deal possible. You should remember to compare like for like cars as similar cars could still vary wildly in their pricing.
Many English speaking countries will allow you to use your Irish driving licence to rent and drive a car abroad for a short period. Often this is two or three months at a time, which is plenty of time for most people. If your travelling within the EU and are an EU citizen you can use your own licence for up to a 12 month stay. However, if you are planning on travelling to a non-English speaking country you may be required to get an international driving permit. This is a document which translates your licence into a number of different languages and is recognized in hundreds of countries. If the country your visiting requires this you’ll need to carry it alongside your own driving licence. More details on this is available here.
What to consider when renting abroad.
size is going to be one of the first things for you to consider. There’s no point renting a two-door coupé for a family of 6, but the opposite is also true. The car size is going to directly relate to the price you pay. The bigger the more you are likely to pay. Have a look at your actual needs and choose and compare based on that. In the same vein new cars and powerful cars are probably going to have a premium. Skipping the newest year model with 400bhp is an easy way to save a few bob on holiday expenses.
Sharing the driving is a good idea if your going to cover long distances. Some car rental companies charge extra for additional drivers but many don’t. Its good to check this when your doing your research before heading on your trip.
Many factors influence the price of renting a car. We mentioned the car type, size and year, but other factors include the length of hire or which days of the week or year. Renting a car for the weekdays is almost always cheaper than the weekends, and renting over the Christmas holidays for example will probably cost a lot more than normal. Booking well in advance can help reduce these extra costs.
Most care rental companies will have their own driving insurance built into the price. The excess on this insurance can be thousand’s of euro which you’ll have to fork over before your own insurance kicks in in the event of an accident. It may be worth paying a small upfront fee to reduce this excess.
Fuel Charge and added extras:
When you rent a car you’ll normally receive it with a full fuel tank. Some companies will charge you for a full tank of fuel and you may use as much or as little as you wan’t. However if you only use a quarter of the tank your still charged for the full tank. Another way is to be charged on a full to full basis. In this way you still receive the car with a full fuel tank but you use only the fuel you need and refill the tank with your own money before you return it. If you choose this option and don’t refill the tank there will likely be another charge for the company to fill it themselves. This will likely be at a significant increase to what you would have paid at the pump filling it yourself. So always leave enough time before returning to make a trip to a service station close to the drop off point.
Along with potential charges for the fuel you use the car rental company will have charges for other extras you may want. Child seats, sat-navs will have additional fees. A child seat may be required but using your phone and its maps can save you a few bob over their dedicated sat nav.
Inspecting the car
Lastly before setting off on your road trip abroad be sure to give the car a thorough inspection both inside an out. Take pictures of the condition of the car and any marks, scuffs scratches or broken trim and inform the staff before you leave. If you miss these and they are noticed on your return you may be charged for them and it can be hard to fight it. This is also where your high excess can come into play.