Have you ever thought of hiring a car on your holiday? But have always been a little wary of the idea? KAYAK share their top tips on hiring a car when abroad, as it’s revealed that American cities topped the list of ‘favourite international destination to hire a car’ for UK travellers.
Although the Americans drive on the right hand side of the road, this doesn’t seem to have fazed Brits as Orlando, San Francisco and Los Angeles are all amongst the five most popular international destinations for Brits to hire a car.
Travel search engine, KAYAK, have developed the list of the UK’s top five hire car hotspots using the one billion queries for Travel information which they process annually. KAYAK’s website helps users travel smarter and lists 36,000 car hire locations worldwide.
Even though American destinations have proven the most popular for road trips, Brits are less eager to adopt traditional US vehicles. KAYAK’s data reveals that when getting behind the wheel less than 1% of Brits choose to hire SUVs and pick-up trucks; instead, 31% opt for economy models which cost an average of £20 per day.
Typically Brits hire a car for nine days, giving plenty of time for an adventurous road trip or to discover a new area.
KAYAK’s Car Rental Tips
1. Always do your research
As with making any travel arrangements, it is important to shop around when you are researching your car hire options to ensure that you are getting the best deal.
At KAYAK we encourage consumers to compare car hire costs across a range of different providers, including the major car hire brands directly, as well as brokers. Costs vary widely from provider to provider and according to demand, so it often pays to book in advance, particularly during peak holiday periods.
Those looking for a good deal should also look at include "opaque" brokers. This means the car rental company is only revealed once the booking has been completed, but it can be another way of achieving great savings.
2. Organisation is Key
When preparing for a holiday, car rental is often considered the least important thing on the long list of ‘to do’s’. Just as you wouldn’t board an international flight without your passport, with car rental it is important to ensure that you have the necessary documents with you.
Some companies require both the paper and card part of your driving license and it can be a pretty poor start to the holiday if you are caught short. It is also worth brushing up on your local driving laws so that you can hit the open road in confidence.
Knowing your route is also important, often people worry about getting to the airport at their destination and give little thought to their onward journey, but if you are new to the area then finding your way on unfamiliar roads can be a stressful start to your break. Whether you are just planning to hire a car as a run around to and from the beach or are heading for an epic road trip, it's best to have a route in mind before picking up your vehicle so that you can start the holiday smoothly rather than stalling at the lights!
3. Read the fine print
Having a thorough understanding of your hire car policy and ensuring there are no hidden costs, is essential for any smart traveller. Policies differ from country to country, and even between different companies, so ensure that you have fully read and understood what you are agreeing to before taking the keys. At KAYAK we try and show prices, including all mandatory costs, but you should be aware of extra charges, which include additional drivers, child seats, GPS, refuelling and drivers under 25 years old.
4. Don’t forget the Collision Damage Waiver
One of the biggest irritations for people can be Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and understanding what’s compulsory and what the excesses might be. Unfortunately what’s optional and what’s compulsory varies by country (and even by State in the case of the US), so it’s important to do your research.
In general, when renting a car your agreement will include third party insurance; this may or may not include CDW. If the rental agency charges a surcharge for CDW this should be made apparent at the point of booking.
However, what catches out some people is the excess that is applied to this waiver. On many bookings you will be required to leave a deposit with the agency, equivalent to the value of the excess, sometimes totalling hundreds of pounds. You can choose to take out excess waiver cover; this means the excess will be refunded in the event of any loss of deposit. This waiver can be expensive if purchased at the rental desk, but it is possible to purchase it as a standalone product. Insurance Companies offer daily and annual policies that can be significantly cheaper than those offered by car hire agencies.
5. Full vs Empty
Many drivers assume they need to return a hire car with a full tank of petrol, however this is not always the case. In Spain the full to empty tank is an extremely popular policy, especially when you are renting the car for a day. This means customers are forced to pre-purchase fuel when they collect their car, and some car hire companies charge a higher price-per-litre than you'd find at the pump. What’s more, you won’t be refunded for any petrol that’s left in the tank. That said, it can mean cheaper daily rental rates and also removes the hassle of searching for a petrol station at the airport before returning the car.
|Britain’s Top Five International Destinations for Car Hire|
|2. Los Angeles|
|4. San Francisco|
Annie Wilson UK Managing Director of KAYAK commented “Car hire is a wonderful way to explore a new destination and it’s interesting to see the pull that America has over us as travellers. Hollywood has created some truly classic American road trip movies, and with Orlando, Los Angeles and San Francisco all appearing in the UK’s top five favourite international car hire destinations, it’s clear that we fancy ourselves as the modern versions of our favourite screen heroes. Though in a typically British way, we’d rather explore from the comfort of a small hatch back than going authentic and renting an SUV!”