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Hiring a Rental Car Abroad

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 19 Feb 2016 | comments*Discuss
Hiring A Rental Car Abroad

With so many different car hire services and options available now, it can be difficult to know exactly what you should consider essential when you’re signing the rental agreement. Many people aren’t even sure whether they should rent before they go or wait until they get there, there are numerous things to consider before settling on a rental.

General Car Hire Tips

No matter where you decide to travel or hire a car, you’ll find that overall, most places will require the same information from you. Normally you’re required to provide your passport, full driving licence and credit card details. After you have done so, there are a few points to be aware of before you sign for your rental:
  • Upgrades – the rental company will try and talk you into an upgrade
  • Check the Car – look all over the vehicle before leaving the lot. Mark down any dents or scratches as you’ll be responsible for them when you leave the lot
  • Learn the Controls – Sit in the car for a few minutes learning the controls before setting off
  • Manual or Auto – Make sure you pick the right transmission. If you’ve only got an auto licence, make sure you’ve specified that when booking

Fly-Drive Holidays

One of the great aspects of fly-drive holidays is that the hassle of hiring a car is already taken care of for you. Your holiday operator will arrange the rental for you and all you have to do is show up. Remember though, if you haven’t arranged it before hand you may need to pay extra for full insurance, so check with your travel agent before you go what you’re covered for. You should always book the size of car you need or smaller if possible. Often you’ll receive free upgrades to larger cars, so don’t always buy the biggest, most expensive. If you have special needs, arrange this with your travel agent before hand. Don’t wait until you get to the car hire company as this will take longer and after a long flight can be exhausting. If you are planning to do lots of driving on your fly-drive holiday, consider booking into an airport hotel the first night and resting before setting off.

Booking a Car Online

Many people will now book their car before they travel. One of the most popular ways to do this is online as you can choose the best price and pick the exact style of car that suits you. There are a number of other benefits as to why you should book your car online before travelling:
  • Rental costs are generally higher at the service counter than online
  • You can shop around online to ensure you’re getting the best deal
  • You may get online discounts or special deals
  • You can add in all extras so they can’t charge you more at the counter when you pick your car up
  • Arrange specific drop off and pick up times so you’re only getting the car when you need it and aren’t paying for extra hours
  • You don’t need to wait in line when you arrive at the rental agency

Insurance and Car Rentals

Always make sure when booking a rental, either online or at the desk that your insurance fully covers you. You should also specify if there’s likely to be any other drivers on the trip. If so, name them and ensure they’re covered for the same amount that you as the main driver are. There are a number of different insurance policies you should be aware of when you're hiring abroad.

If you're in Europe then your UK policy may cover you, but only on a third party level. For this reason, you should take out comprehensive cover for travelling abroad, either with your own insurers or with a specialist insurance company. If you're travelling in a non EEU country, be sure to sign up for CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) where available. This will protect you in the event of an accident and will ensure you're fully covered against claims.

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MeganG - Your Question:
I'm going on holiday to South Africa & want to hire a car there. I have an old style UK green paper licence. Will that be accepted along with an international driving permit and passport photo id by car rental companies?

Our Response:
It should be acceptable to most firms. The best way to find out would be contact the hire firms in advance.
AboutDrivingAbroad - 22-Feb-16 @ 12:18 PM
I'm going on holiday to South Africa & want to hire a car there. I have an old style UK green paper licence. Will that be accepted along with an international driving permit and passport photo id by car rental companies?
MeganG - 19-Feb-16 @ 2:50 PM
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