For business travelers and savvy globetrotters, renting a car has become part of their routine. They’ve come to understand the ins and outs of the car rental process, and they may have even found a few shortcuts along the way. If you’re new to renting a car, or you’re just looking for general car rental advice, there are a few tricks to be aware of as well as pitfalls to avoid. We’ve compiled a short list of the most important tips for renting a car, so you can travel like a pro. Here are the dos and don’ts of renting a car.
DO: Return your car with a full tank of gas.
Most car rental companies, including Advantage Rent A Car, require that renters return the vehicle with the same amount of fuel as when they left. Failure to do so results in a service charge. You have a couple of options to avoid this charge.
The first option is to fill up the tank at a nearby service station. You’re likely to be in an unfamiliar or high-traffic area, which can make finding a station more difficult than expected. We recommend researching before leaving for the rental business location, so you know exactly where to go to refill.
The second option is to prepay for gas at the time of rental. This is a convenient option for travelers who are on a tight schedule or have an early flight. This allows you to skip the trip to the service station and return the car as is. This also avoids the higher rates of the service charge.
DON’T: Rush the inspection.
Before leaving the lot, you’ll be asked to take a close look at the car you’re renting. Many travelers are eager to get on the road and often rush through this inspection, but it’s important that you take this step seriously. Car rental companies can hold you responsible for dings, dents, or any other defects if they go undocumented.
Don’t forget to examine the inside as well as the outside of the car, and feel free to take videos or pictures during the inspection. These can come in handy if you need to dispute any damage charges. It’s important to remember that the inspection is primarily for safety purposes. It’s worth your time, and rental companies appreciate a helpful eye. You may find a problem that was previously undetected.
DO: Find the right car for your trip.
You’ll have plenty of options when it comes to finding the right rental car for your trip. From economy to full size, standard to luxury, Advantage offers a variety of rental cars that are designed for practical purposes as much as aesthetics.
If you’re traveling solo, an economy car provides plenty of room for your luggage while also keeping gas expenses to a minimum. If you’re sharing the car for business or taking your family on a vacation, a van or SUV provides enough room for your party and luggage.
Take your time, and avoid immediately choosing the cheapest or most luxurious option. You don’t want to end up with luggage in your lap. Research your options, and talk to an Advantage customer service rep to zero in on the perfect car for your purposes.
DON’T: Drive Recklessly
It’s exciting to get behind the wheel of a new car, and it might be tempting to push the limits of a vehicle that you don’t own. But we recommend ignoring the old jokes about beating up the rental and treating your rental car as you would your own car.
The most obvious reason for this car rental advice is that risky driving puts your safety, and the safety of others on the road, at risk. And while you don’t own the rental car, you are still responsible for any abuse or damage. Have fun, but be safe.
DO: Book Early
If you know the travel dates and destination in advance, look into booking your reservation as early as possible. This strategy offers you a few advantages. First, rates are often lower if you book at least a week in advance. Second, you can choose from a broader selection of vehicles. Third, you’ll have more time to review terms of service and any potential fees.
Booking in advance can prevent a lot of headaches, especially if you’re in a hurry. When you arrive to pick up your car, you’ll get the car you want, at a price you can afford, under the terms you’ve approved, so you can hit the road as soon as possible.
If you’re ready to book a rental car, use our online reservation tool to find a car for your trip!
Written by: Kody Pedersen