As you head away on business or vacation, waiting till the last minute to find a car for hire is never a good idea. Trying to find a rental at the last minute as you are leaving the airport can be disastrous to say the least. Companies pray on unprepared travelers, and you will most certainly end up paying hundreds more than you should have if you don’t know your airport hire car choices before landing.
At some airports, all the car rental counters are in one section of the arrival terminal. This certainly makes it a bit easier to find the type of car you want and can afford, and you also have the chance of going counter to counter to see what types of deals they have.
Rental companies usually have some type of card that gives members certain savings and upgrades, with or without a reservation. If perchance you don’t have one of these, there are still good rates to be found if you’re willing to take the time to look. Going counter to counter is sometimes your best bet. As you’re waiting in line you might want to use your cell phone with internet to check on some rental deals, too.
Frequently you can get additional perks thrown in. You may not always get a super low rate, but you might get a free upgrade or maybe a free GPS unit. For drivers who come from areas where most cars have automatic transmissions, it’s worth just about any price to get a free upgrade to an automatic rather than being stuck with a stick shift.
Before signing anything make sure you understand how or if you will be charged for mileage. Most companies won’t charge you for mileage, but you don’t want to find out the hard way that you have exceeded your budget!
Next, don’t get scared into buying some of that overpriced insurance the rental agents are trained to sell you. If you have doubts, call your insurance agency while you’re there at the counter, and ask what you are already covered for! Don’t pay for anything you don’t absolutely need.
Finally – check your car over really well before getting in. Some companies are very good about charting any prior damage to the car that hasn’t been fixed yet. If there are pre-existing scratches, etc., make sure the company documents all the damage before you drive away. You don’t want to get stuck paying for dents that weren’t you fault.
Most travelers choose to hire a car when they arrive at their destination, unfortunately without making arrangements ahead of time, resulting in overcharging.
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