Our post today is from the wonderful Sylvie Hall, life-loving, health and well-being enthusiast from Leeds and is the founder of www.mycottontales.com
Sylvie hopes to travel the world and write for a living, she provided us with this wonderful article aimed to help anyone looking to hire a car abroad for the first time.
“When you start driving, it’s hard to imagine life B.C (before car) as the freedom to go anywhere, at anytime soon begins to feel like a right rather than a privilege.
So next time you go away on holiday or travelling, will you take the plunge and hire a car abroad? Having a car gives you so much auto-nomy (ha!), as you can pick somewhere completely random to explore for the day, put on your Ray Bans and go. Of course, you can always use public transport, but it’s definitely not as spontaneous or as rock star an experience as cruising around in your rental, with your music blasting and the wind in your hair.
I’ve hired a car in many countries such as Croatia, Spain, Sweden and the USA and found it so easy to do and incredibly rewarding, which is why I want to share with you my Guide To Hiring A Car Abroad.
Although you can hire a car upon arrival at the airport or from a hire company’s city location without pre-booking, I would advise you plan ahead and book way in advance of your trip so that you can choose which type of car you want for the days/weeks you want it. Not only does this save you a ton of money, but will also guarantee you can get a car within your budget.
Here are some good (and cheap) companies that I have used:
OK Rent a Car (Spain) www.okrentacar.es
Thrifty (USA) http://www.thrifty.com
You can also use websites such as Holiday Autos (http://www.holidayautos.co.uk) to do price comparisons for car hire. Don’t be put off the companies which you haven’t heard of before. Chances are these are local rental offices which can often work out much cheaper!
What You’ll Need
To hire a abroad you will need your driving licence and credit card (in the driver’s name).
From 8th June, the DVLA will be abolishing the paper counterpart of the licence, which many car hire companies request in the T&Cs. The media have been using headlines such as ‘Car Hire Chaos’ in typical scaremongering fashion, but don’t believe the hype – from my experience, you never really need your paper counterpart anyway as most hire companies don’t ask to see them. My advice would still be to take yours along, just to be on the safe side. More information on the paper counterpart rules can be read here. (http://www.theaa.com/public_affairs/news/photocard-driving-licence-renewal.html#counterpart)
This is where hiring a car can get a bit confusing, as there are so many options, clauses and small print that it’s hard to know what to choose and where you might be wasting your money.
Most car hire companies include cover for the car and theft as standard, but you are liable for any damage to the car – the cost of which varies tremendously depending on what has happened and which company you’ve hired the car with.
To make things easier, most car hire companies now offer a daily insurance rate which covers EVERYTHING. It’s usually only around £5 a day and is so comprehensive that they don’t even require you to check for scratches or marks before or after your rental.
I’ve taken out this excess waiver insurance the last couple of times and although you do pay more, it’s worth it in my opinion for the peace of mind and ease of rental as you’re not liable for ANYTHING that happens to the car. (Always check the small print though!)
Collecting and Returning The Car
When you collect the car, the rental company will require your credit card to take a deposit. They usually charge around £500-£600 although this won’t be taken; unless you did a runner of course!
If you don’t take our excess waiver insurance, make sure you check every inch of the car for scratches when you collect it, including:
– Alloys (Including the spare)
Take any pictures of scratches that you can’t see on the paperwork and inform a member of staff of these before you drive away.
You should also check the following before you drive away:
– Tyres (including the spare)
– Windscreen Wipers
When you return the car, make sure it’s within your designated time to avoid paying an extra day. You should also take pictures of all the panels (as noted above) to have as back-up just in case the car hire company decide to lump you with extra charges – although this is highly unlikely.
Thanks for reading! I hope you found this post useful and it’s cleared up any worries you previously had about hiring a car abroad. If you have any questions, tweet me @sylvie_x and i’ll be happy to answer them.”