Renting a car on vacation? The dos and don’ts

Inevitably, you may take a trip that requires you rent a car.  While my husband and I are officially over that (thanks Portugal), sometimes it’s necessary to see the really cool, beautiful site that you may not be able to view without one.  So once you decide that renting a car is a must – here are a few things you should take care of first.

  1. Sign up for their free preferred or gold member status.
    1. Many rental car agencies Avis, Hertz, National, have their own type of free preferred status.  Ever see those car commercials where renters seemingly just walk to their cars and avoid lines?  That’s what this will allow you to do, and will very much come in handy in the US and abroad.
  2. If planning your trip far enough in advance – watch for coupons that result from joining rental car rewards programs for free.  Who doesn’t love a discount, right?
  3. Determine if you have a credit card that provides additional car rental insurance
    1. American Express commonly provides this with many of their cards, so check to see if some other credit card vendors provide this service.  Having this option will save you a bit of money as you can avoid paying rental agency fees for insurance.
  4. If traveling abroad, go old school.  Print off driving directions before your visit, download static maps, or spring for the navigation system.  No need to use precious data if you don’t have to.
  5. If abroad, make sure you have enough local currency on-hand or a credit card with a chip
    1. When gassing up – many gas stations only accept credit cards that have a chip in them, if your card does not work, make sure you have enough cash to avoid higher than expected gas charges from the rental company
  6. Video and photograph your car before you agree to take it off the lot…and when you return it
    1. We learned from an awful experience that rental car agencies uses minor scrapes on the car to get additional money out of you – even for scrapes under the car!  So definitely don’t bottom out, but in order to avoid additional charges or fees, video everything
  7. If you can’t drive stick, don’t rent a stick car (seems obvious, right?)
  8. Be careful and enjoy your trip!

IMG_6236*Just an FYI – I do not get paid to promote any companies on this blog (I’m so little! I have one follower!) but any links are provided to companies I have used and trust during my travels.

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