image: artofmanliness.comBy Frank Ling

It’s vacation time and the location you are going to has a vast array of sights, sounds, and interesting places to visit. If you arrived by plane, boat or train you’ll need to rent a car to get around.

The best way to do this is to make reservations ahead of time so that upon your arrival, you’ll have a rental car ready to go. If you don’t you may be left with the possibility of not having a car to kick off your rest and relaxation.

While placing a reservation is pretty easy, sometimes the paperwork you have to sign when you pick up your car can be a bit confusing or complex. Added to this, you’ll need to read the terms of service and other conditions related to the rental, and more.

Go with a Brand Name

You may be able to find some good deals by going with smaller, unknown car rental agencies, but you’ll never know if “Uncle Ralph’s Car Rentals” is really a dependable company or a rip off.

Generally speaking, the major car rental agencies give better service and more peace of mind. They have a reputation to uphold, and in the very competitive market of car rentals, they’ll usually go the extra mile in making sure you are taken care of.

The big car rental companies always have specials during the year and also offer special discounts for those who belong to certain groups or organizations such as AAA, teachers unions, government agencies, etc.

Rates and Age

Simply put, if you are between the ages of 21-24 you’ll be given higher rates. Car rental companies use car insurance statistics to gauge who is at more risk to be in an accident, and the age groups between 21-24 are among the highest.

If you are in a group and are planning to rent a car, take a quick poll and see if anyone is 25 years or older. Have them sign up for the rental car to get the lower rates.

Compare Pricing

Use Internet sites that offer comparative pricing services on rental agencies and use this information when booking your rental car.

A piece of advice garnered by well season travelers is to negotiate a better price with the rental clerk. Mention other rates you’ve found and ask if they can beat it.

In part 2 of Car tips: How to Rent a Car and Avoid Problems, we’ll cover the “traps” of car rentals.



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