After booking your holiday the next step is sorting out the car hire. If you get it wrong it can be costly, but with these simple tips you'll slash the overall cost so there's more left in the holiday kitty.
#1 Book Well In Advance
Like most things, being prepared can give you a huge advantage when it comes to getting the best price. By booking in advance rather than when you reach your destination, you can slash the price by up to 65%. One other huge advantage is that you're guaranteed to get the vehicle size you and your family need.
You'll also get the cheapest price by booking it for a minimum of three consecutive days rather than just the odd day here and there throughout the duration of your holiday.
#2 Pick Popular Collection & Drop-off Points
When selecting where you want to pick the hire car up and eventually return it to, try if possible to go for airports or city centres. The more popular the pick-up point, the cheaper the price is likely to be due to the increased competition between the rental companies.
By returning the car to the same point you'll also get a price cut as the hire company doesn't have to incur costs itself getting the car back to where it's meant to be.
#3 Take Out Excess Insurance Separately
It's vital to take out insurance against the excess fees charged by the car hire company in the event of an accident. Excess fees can run into the hundreds (in some case even thousands) of pounds. However, taking out cover directly with the company is often the most expensive way to do it.
Instead, cut the cost by using a third party company (often resulting in savings of over 50%). For more info check out our complete guide to taking out car hire excess insurance.
#4 Don't Pre-Pay for Fuel
Never pay for fuel upfront – car hire rates displayed in comparison engines will often be lower for this option but ultimately it's the most expensive way to rent a car. When you reach the car rental desk at your destination you'll either be asked to pay upfront for a tank of fuel or will have a credit card swiped for the payment to be taken from on your return.
The point here though is that the car rental company charges it's own rates for fuel, which are far higher than you'd pay at the pump. Instead, select the option to return the car with the same amount of fuel as when you collected it. This way, you’re in control of how much fuel you buy and the amount you pay for it.
#5 Take Your Own Sat Nav & Car Seats
In an effort to be helpful (make more money), car hire companies offer a range of optional extras such as booster seats and sat nav systems. For one or two days they’re pretty cheap, but anything more than that and the cost soon adds up. On average you'll have to pay around £5 per day for each – over the course of a week this is £35.
Instead, take a couple of minutes to pack your own sat nav or download a free app to your smartphone (most now have worldwide maps included) – you’ll be kicking yourself otherwise. Likewise, if you need a car seat for your little one take it onboard as cabin baggage, even if it means paying an extra £10 to place another bag in the hold. Overall you'll be quids in!
For more savings make sure you check out our Car Hire Offers section, which lists all current available promotions and voucher codes from brands like Avis, Sixt and Hertz.