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10 Things To Avoid When Renting A Car For A Road Trip

There is nothing more satisfying than arriving in a new city, stepping off the plane with your bag in hand, and then taking the next step to get behind the wheel of a newer car. Your rental is now yours, the road is your guide, and you have no concerns—it is, after all, a rental.

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There is a little dirt on the floor of this new car, but you know that is all surface stuff. Beyond that and deeper into getting this rental, there may be some problems you are not aware of. Here are some things to avoid.

10 Choosing An Unreliable Rental Car Company

There are many name brands in the rental car business like Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, and more, and they are well-known because they spend a lot of time, and money, developing the service they provide for their customers.

Unfortunately, they are not always the cheapest, and sometimes the unaware traveler will find a deal that's too good to be true with an unknown company. As the wise traveler knows, "If it is too good to be true, it is probably not true." Stick with well-known providers.

9 Choosing The Wrong Car

There is probably nothing more negative than getting your family members in the car with all the luggage, and then finding yourself a few miles from the rental office when you realize, "This is just not going to work." Either the car is too small or you really don't need all the size that you are pushing down the road.

Most car rental companies with online service show you how many seats are in the car, how much luggage will fit, and some even suggest the size to get based on your plans.

8 The Mystery Of Car Insurance

Once you get to the car rental counter, you can always expect a discussion about car insurance. There are usually several options you can choose from, so it is always in your best interest to do your homework before you are standing there with your family in tow.

If you are tired from a long line at the airport arrival process, or you are in a hurry to get on the road because the family is expecting, you may end up making a poor decision about the insurance you need.

7 Failing To Do A Thorough Inspection

It takes about 15-20 minutes to do a complete inspection of the vehicle that includes all the fenders, the tires, the inside, and even the safety equipment. In fact, the rental representative will probably have a checklist that you will have to endorse. To protect yourself even further, take a picture both when you pick up the car and before you drop it off.

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There have been instances when unaware and trusting customers have received repair bills long after the trip is over. It is always wise to be vigilant here!

6 Paying For Gasoline Up Front

In most cases, it is never a good idea to pay for the gasoline that you will use when you rent the car. There is usually a surcharge by the rental agency, and this could cost you a lot of money depending on how many miles you put on the car.

Rules for normal car use can really help. Since you may fill up once or twice on your trip, it is also an easy task to stop at a gasoline station just before you turn the car in and top off the tank.

5 Not Confirming The Pick-Up Point

Unless you are very familiar with the airport and the area where the cars are ready for pick-up, it is best to have a discussion concerning where you're going to pick the car up.

Sometimes you have to walk to a waiting room where you have to wait 15 minutes to an hour for a shuttle, and then it may be another 20-minute ride to the car parking lot where you actually get the car. All of this will depend on the location of the rental counter and the size of the airport.

4 Renting At The Airport

When you wait to rent a car, once you arrive at car rental counter there will usually be surcharges added to your bill that might cover such things as airport use fees, airport taxes, and other hidden costs for the prime location.

Planning ahead and reserving a car from an off-site location may be in your best interest. However, always check the shuttle fees, if applicable, and be sure that the distance to and from the off-site rental office meets your travel needs and time demands.

3 Paying For Expensive Accessories

When you are away from home, there may have to be some compromises for the way you choose to travel in a rental car. Be creative. Some savvy travelers found that they could buy a new car seat for their child once they arrived cheaper than they could have rented it.

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In addition, extras like a GPS or other directional devices can be eliminated by the purchase of a SIM card to allow the use of WAZE or Google Maps. Bluetooth, Wifi, ski racks, luggage racks, and other items on your wish list need close consideration as well.

2 Not Joining The Rewards Program

Car rental companies want to build loyalty with their customers. Keeping this in mind might save you both time and money. Rewards programs for car rental companies can offer many different types of benefits depending on how you like to handle your finances and how you travel. Some will offer points towards the next rental, a discount, or even let you "move to the head of the line."

In most cases, there is a small or minimal charge for joining. and the returns can be significant, especially if you drive a lot.

1 Not Checking Your Documentation

Your credit card is your currency for a car rental. There is no more frustrating situation than to be standing at the rental counter only to find that it has been denied. Check to see that your card has been approved for international travel if that is in your itinerary.

In addition, whether national or international, make sure your driver's license, passport, and other documentation is up to date and has your name, address, and birth date information. In most places, you have to be 25 to rent a car.

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