Car Rentals Give Flexibility and Mobility While On Vacation
Renting a car when traveling on vacation has considerable advantages over using local transport, sightseeing on a tour bus, or using a taxi or ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft.
Of course, a lot depends on how long you are spending in one place. If you are planning on seeing the local sights in a day the best option is to take a guided tour or to hire a driver who can act as a tour guide. For a longer stay, however, a rental car provides you with the option to explore an area yourself, to take as long or as short a time as you like at places of interest, to take photographs of off-the-beaten-track sights, and to take breaks when and where you like. Essentially, renting a car on vacation provides a large amount of convenience and flexibility for your vacation.
Renting in Foreign Countries
When you travel in a foreign country, a rental car enables you to explore the popular tourist attractions as well as areas that are not on the well-traveled tourist routes. You can mix with the locals, try new places to eat, add a couple of days in a town or a resort you really like before moving on, and avoid those that disappoint you.
It is best to book your car before you travel. Trying to rent a car in a foreign country when you arrive can pose problems. In busy vacation times, rental companies often run out of cars. You will then have to go from one rental car company to another to find a car and you might have to settle for paying more because only the expensive cars are left.
When you book, check whether your credit card covers insurance for the rental car in the country you are visiting. If you are paying in a foreign currency, use a credit card that does not carry foreign currency fees. Select unlimited mileage. Add a GPS system to enable you to find your way around.
If you are able to drive a car with a gear shift, rent one. Automatic cars tend to be expensive abroad and are considered a luxury in many countries. Also, look for a smaller car. They are easier to navigate on narrow country roads and are more economical. Of course, you’re on vacation. If you want to grab a peppy little convertible, no one’s going to blame you.
Best Car Rental Companies
The demand for rental cars has gone up quite a bit recently. This means it’s important to book in advance if you can. Here are the best U.S.-based car rental companies in four categories, according to Business Insider:
- Enterprise — best overall
- Hertz — best in customer satisfaction
- National Car Rental — best for online convenience
- Alamo Rent-A-Car — best for inexpensive quotations
When traveling overseas, it is best to book your car through established companies that have been in business for decades, such as Avis, Hertz and Europcar. You can be sure that they follow local regulations regarding such aspects as insurance and will assist you should you face a problem, such as having an accident or breaking a speeding law. In most cases, the overseas offices are staffed using local people who know the country well and can even advise you should you need to avoid places that are unsafe to travel.
Best Types of Cars to Rent on Vacation
Look for cars that suit your driving style, but generally find ones that are compact size or even smaller yet can easily take your luggage. If you are traveling on regular roads, there is no need to have a large car or truck that consumes a lot of gas, making your vacation more expensive than you had hoped. In today’s crowded market, you might find the less popular cars are easier to rent.
Start with cars that have the features that meet your needs. Consider adding a GPS system if you are unfamiliar with the areas in which you plan to travel.
If you are traveling long distances, make sure that the contract offers you unlimited mileage. Even on shorter trips, it is easy to exceed the daily mileage allowance and just adds an additional worry when exploring new places. Check that the credit card you are using for the rental will cover the insurance for the car.