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Rental Cars 101

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Rental Cars 101
Photo © Chris Hondros / Getty Images

Renting a car at your vacation destination gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. You can explore tiny hilltop villages or linger in a fascinating city without worrying about missing your bus or train. Before you reserve a rental car, take a moment to consider your rental car needs and concerns.

Rental Car Considerations

How to Find a Cheap Rental Car

The key to a successful car rental experience is finding the car that best meets your needs at the lowest possible price. This will take some time, as there is no easy way to compare rental car prices, availability and contract stipulations, but your research will definitely pay off.

If you are renting a car overseas, you can save a great deal of money if you choose a vehicle with standard transmission. Take an hour or two to practice driving a standard transmission car if you have not driven one recently.

Rental Car Contracts

You will want to read as much of your rental car contract as possible before you make your reservation, particularly if you are planning to drive your rental car through several countries. It's best to know about any restrictions before your vacation begins.

Collision Damage Waiver Insurance and Other Rental Car Fees

As you may be aware, you will be asked whether you wish to purchase Collision Damage Waiver / Loss Damage Waiver coverage when you pick up your rental car. You may also discover that your rental car company charges a fee for refueling or for bringing your car back early. Take some time to decide which fees you are willing to pay before you pick up your rental vehicle.

Before You Leave the Rental Lot

  • Look over your rental car carefully and note any damage on your contract before you sign it. If you notice significant damage, take a photo or two in order to protect yourself from damage payment requests.
  • Be sure you have a contact number for your rental car company in case your car breaks down. If the rental car office is closed on Sundays (or another rest day), find out how to get emergency help before you leave the rental car lot.

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