Ten tips for renting a car

12 Jul

Do not book the car at the last minute.

This advice is especially useful if your trip is to an island, because the fleets of car rental companies are not enough for all tourists who arrive in high season. In addition, the cars that are sold out first are the cheapest and you can find that you have to choose a much more expensive top model (and say goodbye to the savings that was supposed to fly in a low cost airline) or a van.

Renting for three days costs as if you rent for two.

Rental companies always charge a minimum to prepare the car, in spite of Toyota, Mitsubishi or Ford, for example, assist you and other arrangements. So if you rent a car one day, two or three, they usually charge more or less the same.

Cancel reservations with less than 24 hours in advance … for free!

Sometimes the reservation policies indicate that you can cancel up to 24 hours in advance without cancellation charge. For cancellations after 24 hours, the total rental amount will be charged. And for prepaid reservations, there are no refunds if the reservation is canceled. But sometimes it has a solution if you have booked online: almost all these companies have access to customers on their website: so you only have to enter and modify the reservation. You modify it for a couple of days later, beyond the 24 hour limit. Then you can cancel it, and for free.

Where to find the cheapest price?

There is no fixed rule. Sometimes you call by phone to book with the company and they give you the best price. Sometimes in a website that you find there end up giving you a better price than the rental company itself. The best thing is that you compare prices before.

Is the fuel tank full?

The normal thing is to rent a car with a full tank of gasoline, and return it full of gasoline too. But there are companies that give it full when you pick it up. The amazing thing is that after you are forced to return the car with the empty fuel tank. Logically, they have charged the entire deposit but if you have gas, do not return the money (it would be difficult to calculate it and also earn those liters that are left).

The documents

Prepare beforehand all the documents you will be asked for. And get ready also to queue … especially if you match a tourist flight. Also, although you make your reservation in advance, sometimes you have another 20 minutes filling in the same data. A trick that makes things easier: try to get the driver’s license to match the name of the person you booked.

Credit card

If it is debit you will be blocked by an amount between 500 and 700 € of your card. And if you do not have enough balance, there is no car. They do this because you have an accident, in case you steal the car or if you get fines. Blocking that amount on the debit card has to do with the insurance franchise of the car.

What does the car insurance cover?

All rental cars have a comprehensive insurance policy. But that insurance generally has a franchise, which is usually between € 500 and € 1,200, depending on the company and according to the car. If you have an accident you, the driver of the vehicle, are required to pay the maximum franchise. To know what the car insurance covers, you will have to read it. So ask them to give it to you in your language and always take it with you in case there is a problem.


They will offer you bigger cars for just a little more. Or a GPS, or insurance with more complete coverage. Look at everything before if your “offers” compensate you or not.

Pick up the car.

Some car rental companies have offices at the airport and a parking lot near the exit. Others do not and an employee will wait for you on your flight arrival and will escort you to a place in the parking lot, where you will be given the car and complete the paperwork there. Check the car and note the problems you see: bumps, things that do not work… If not, you can end up paying them.