What you need to know before you rent a car

By Jessica Hann

Published by RentalCars1.com on Feb 14, 2020

If you’ve never hired a car before, the process can seem a bit daunting. There is a lot of information to take in, and the rules can be different depending on which car rental company you have hired a vehicle with. We’ve asked some of the VroomVroomVroom team members to share their advice for first-time renters.

“PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED – CONSIDER PURCHASING RENTAL VEHICLE EXCESS INSURANCE”
ANDREW MAISTER – GENERAL MANAGER

Driving along a country road

Rental cars often have an excess amount that a customer is liable to pay if any damage is caused to the vehicle while it is in their possession. In Australia, this can range from $4,000 to $6,000. You can reduce your financial liability by purchasing Rental Vehicle Excess Insurance. Car rental companies also offer their own excess reduction products.

“DON’T FEEL OBLIGATED TO PURCHASE EXTRAS FROM COUNTER STAFF.”
TIA HIPPOLITE – CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MANAGER

Opening a car door

At the car rental depot, you’ll be offered a number of extras such as excess reduction, fuel and GPS devices. It’s important to educate yourself so that you understand what you need and make sure you don’t end up purchasing any unnecessary products.

“BEWARE OF FREE UPGRADES.”
JORDAN HOOPER – PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER

Handing over car keys

In some cases, car rental companies may offer you an upgrade at the desk. Before you accept, make sure you understand how much the extra taxes and fees will add to the total cost of your rental. A “free” upgrade could end up costing you more than you think.

 

“BOOK WELL IN ADVANCE.”
KIM BUTLER – CUSTOMER CARE SUPERVISOR

Planning travel with a map

Car rental prices fluctuate based on availability. If you leave it until the last minute to book a rental car, the prices may be higher. During busy holiday periods, you may find that vehicles are booked out.

“MAKE SURE YOU PURCHASE LOSS DAMAGE WAIVER”
JAMES SWINEY – MOBILE DEVELOPER

Following the road

If you’re visiting the United States, car rental insurance works slightly differently. If you purchase Loss Damage Waiver you can limit your financial responsibility. Without any insurance, you could be liable for the full cost of the car.

“RE-FILL THE FUEL TANK BEFORE YOU RETURN THE CAR.”
HIEU VU – HEAD OF PRODUCT AND DEVELOPMENT

Filling the fuel tank

When you rent a car, it will be provided to you with a full tank of fuel. If you return the car without completely filling the tank, you could face additional charges. In some cases, you do have the option to pre-purchase the tank of fuel to avoid stopping at a petrol station.

 

“CHECK THE CAR FOR EXISTING DAMAGE.”
CLAIRE BOYD – PROJECT DIRECTOR

Rainy day on the road

It is a good idea to take photos or record footage of the car when you collect it. If any extra damage is found at the end of the rental period that was not previously listed on the report you could be charged.

“UNDERSTAND WHAT ‘OR SIMILAR’ MEANS.”
JULIA RACZKO – SOCIAL & COMMUNITY TEAM LEADER

Driving in Iceland

When you book a Mitsubishi ASX, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will get a Mitsubishi ASX. Car rental companies do not guarantee a specific car model, so you will be given a vehicle in the same category as the one you have requested.

“REMEMBER THAT BOOKINGS ARE CHARGED IN 24 HOUR PERIODS.”
ABI DEVELING – PERSONAL ASSISTANT

24 hour car rental

Car rental bookings are charged in 24-hour periods. This means even if you keep your car an extra hour, you could be charged for a full extra day.

“THE TOTAL CHARGES ARE ALWAYS MORE THAN YOU MIGHT EXPECT.”
KAREN HANSEN – COMMERCIAL LEAD

Checking costs

By the time you add on any necessary extras, you may find the final price is higher than you expected. Additionally, you will need to leave a security bond. You won’t have access to these funds during the rental period.

“IT MAY BE CHEAPER TO HIRE A CAR.”
JORG ROPER – DEV OPS

Leaning against a car

Don’t assume that traveling by plane, bus or train will be cheaper than a rental car. Particularly if you are traveling in a group, often hiring a car works out to be the more cost-efficient option. You can also save money by picking up your car in an outer suburb and avoiding popular downtown and airport locations.

“MAKE SURE YOU BRING THE RIGHT DOCUMENTS WITH YOU.”
JESSICA HANN – CONTENT WRITER

Driving in a car

When you hire a car, you may need to take more than just your driver’s license and credit card to the depot. In some cases, you may also need to show your passport or a utility bill showing your current address. Some car rental companies also request a copy of travel documentation (such as a flight itinerary).

A FEW EXTRA TIPS

  • Make sure you thoroughly read the terms and conditions. They detail important information about travel restrictions that may apply to your rental. For example, you may not be permitted to take your car on a ferry or above the snow line.
  • Read the description of the car on VroomVroomVroom to learn how many passengers the vehicle seats, and how much storage space there is.
  • Save money renting a GPS by downloading maps onto your phone.
  • Make sure you check with any hotels you are staying at whether they include parking. In some cases, you’ll need to let them know beforehand if you are bringing a car.
  • Check the cost of one-way fees – sometimes these can be quite expensive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for Renting Cars for Walt Disney World

By Tom Bricker  

Published by Rentalcars1.com on Feb 14, 2020

One of the big dilemmas facing many people is if they should rent a car at Walt Disney World, and if so, how to save money when renting a car at Orlando International Airport. This post covers the pros and cons of renting a car for a Walt Disney World vacation, as well as how to go about saving the most money on rental cars, and other rental car hacks, pitfalls, and another random rambling.

As a threshold matter, you have to determine whether you need to rent a car at Walt Disney World in the first place. Unlike many other vacation destinations, a rental car at Walt Disney World is not a strict necessity, so don’t assume that booking a rental car is an inherent step in your trip planning.

In the first section of this post, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of renting a car. If you already have determined that a rental car is right for your family, you can skip ahead to the second half of the article, which covers tips and tricks for saving money on rental cars at Walt Disney World (and beyond).

We have a lot of ground to cover in this post, so let’s start by taking a look at whether you should rent a car at Walt Disney World or roll the dice and rely on Disney’s “lovely” “free” transportation system…

TO RENT OR NOT TO RENT?

DSC_6600 as Smart Object-1 copy

That is the question. One that has perplexed many a traveler since the dawn of a new Disney era in Florida back in 1971. I’d normally cut to the chase here (well, after rambling for a few sentences) and dig into the pros and cons, but I think it’s better to start with my personal experience here.

For a number of years, I was against renting a car at Walt Disney World because I liked the idea of kicking back and not stressing about driving myself through the labyrinth of roads that criss-cross Walt Disney World. Of course, in the era of Google Maps on the iPhone, this really is not at all a challenging task, but the underlying point was that I drove plenty at home, and didn’t want to deal with it on vacation. Even at the “cost” of relying on inefficient Disney buses, I still liked not having to bother with driving.

This wasn’t simply a matter of not wanting to drive, it was also the corresponding feeling of escaping the real world and being in the “Disney bubble” that came along with this. If you’re unfamiliar with the Disney bubble, it’s somewhat akin to the giant dome that covered the city in the television masterpiece, Under the Dome. Except not at all. It’s the sense of an all-encompassing Walt Disney World vacation devoid of real world intrusions to the greatest extent possible. Point blank, this is something you either get or don’t get, appreciate or don’t appreciate. For those who don’t care or understand the Disney bubble, the idea of not wanting to engage in basic real world tasks like navigating roadways and finding a parking spot might seem lazy or, worse yet, crazy. To each his or her own.

I’m a big fan and advocate of the bubble. For me, it was another element of this bubble that (for a while) extended as far as not watching or reading the news and not checking email while on vacation at Walt Disney World. Bit by bit, these elements of the bubble eroded for me. My employer expected me to handle matters regardless of vacation. Social media invaded life (and with it came bits of the real world). However, one thing that stood for a long time was the “no cars” rule.

DSC_6440 as Smart Object-1 copy

That rule finally fell by the wayside, too, as trips to Universal Orlando Resort and staying off-site simply made renting a car the practical thing to do. I’ve since come to appreciate the utility and convenience a rental car can offer on a Walt Disney World vacation, but I am far from a rental car “convert.” In fact, when the circumstances dictate, I still skip the rental car, and I honestly long for the days when a Walt Disney World trip meant disconnecting from the real world. I don’t think there’s any going back to that, but a total escapist trip every once in a while sure would be nice. (Since writing this post, I’ve realized the perfect balance for me is using Uber in conjunction with Disney transportation. You can read about that in my Uber v. Rental Cars at Walt Disney World post.)

As far as my actual experiences of driving a rental car has gone, it has been a mixed bag. In terms of getting from the airport to your hotel, I’d hazard a guess that I have saved–on average–about 10 minutes per trip, but I’ve also had issues with rental car agencies (see below) and have rented from off-site agencies. I think it’s fair to say that you typically will save a little time over using Disney’s Magical Express, but the exact amount varies on the rental agency you use, whether they are in-terminal or off-site, and the efficiency of Disney’s Magical Express. I think about the maximum amount of time you could save is 45 minutes if the rental car process goes off without a hitch, and you’d otherwise be the last stop on the Disney’s Magical Express loop.

Once you get to Walt Disney World, you can save a lot of time with a rental car, but the exact amount depends largely on where you’re staying and the parks you will visit most frequently.

If you’re staying at a hotel that is not near any theme parks, but has a shared bus route, your time-savings can be huge. Disney bus transportation is woefully inefficient, and it’s not at all uncommon to see 3 buses for one park pass you at the bus stop while you wait for a bus to another park. If you’re staying at an All-Star Resort and are heading to Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you might save as much as an hour per day in transportation time. That’s a best case scenario with the car and worst case scenario with Disney buses, but it is conceivable. Now, if you’re thinking to yourself, “I’ve never had a problem with Disney transportation,” then I hope you find the nearest piece of wood and aggressively start knocking on it. If you don’t have a Walt Disney World transportation horror story yet, just give it time.

DSC_0505 as Smart Object-1 copy

On the flip side to that, if you’re staying at a resort adjacent to one of the theme parks, you won’t save any time with a rental car. This is the case if you’re at a Magic Kingdom Area Resort heading to the Magic Kingdom by boat or monorail, and also for the Epcot Area Resorts heading to Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios on foot or by boat.

For example, a guest staying at the Contemporary is going to come out incredibly far ahead by walking to the Magic Kingdom (or taking the monorail) than driving to the Ticket & Transportation Center (Magic Kingdom parking) and then taking the monorail or bus. In fact, I’d argue that bus transportation from any on-site resort has the potential of being faster than driving to the Magic Kingdom, since the buses drop off directly at the park whereas the parking lot requires using a tram, then riding the monorail or boat over to the park.

This is one of the big reasons why I think renting a car has been a mixed bag for me. As a frequent visitor to the Magic Kingdom, I find driving to and parking at the Ticket & Transportation Center to be a huge hassle, and I think it almost never saves me any time. If it does, that savings is de minimis, and I’d much rather have the convenience of not having to drive myself, and instead being dropped off right at the front of the park. I’m not suggesting Walt Disney World bus transportation is efficient–it’s not, it’s an absolute mess–but those guests emphasizing the Magic Kingdom on their vacations might find bus transportation, warts and all, preferable to driving to the TTC.

For the other 3 parks, where parking lots are located adjacent to the park, there is definitely a time-savings in driving. If you’re doing one park per day and not staying at an Epcot Area Resorts, you will save time by driving to the parks over using the bus 95 times out of 100. (Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while…or 5 times out of 100, as the case may be.)

I almost always find myself park hopping to the Magic Kingdom at the end of the night since it’s open latest, and it’s way easier (and more fun) to take a monorail from the front of Epcot to the Magic Kingdom than it is to head out to the parking lot, and then drive over to the TTC and deal with all of that nonsense described above. Likewise, if I want to go from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Epcot for a late night stroll around World Showcase, the vibe aboard the Friendship Boats that operate between the parks is literally one-million five-hundred thousand times better than the vibe in a rental car.

DSC_5870 as Smart Object-1 copy

Another thing, and this almost doesn’t even bear mentioning since it likely won’t be helpful to the vast majority of you (but it at least informs a little about my preferences) is that I typically stay in the park until after they’ve closed (remember, park stores are open up until an hour after closing) and by the time I exit the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, or whatever park, there usually is a fleet of empty buses waiting for me to offer “private” service back to wherever I’m staying. It’s like Uber, but with a Walt Disney World bus! Contrast this with trudging myself across a vacant parking lot at 1 am and then tiredly driving to the hotel, and it’s easy to see why I like the buses.

Saying “your mileage may vary” on this last point is a colossal understatement, because your experience is more likely to be this: leaving the theme park after the fireworks or right as the park closes, and being faced with huge lines at the bus stops, waiting 45 minutes or more to finally board a bus to your hotel, standing elbow-to-armhole 😉 with 50 other sweaty tourists as the pungent aroma of body odor lingers in the air. This experience is about as strong of an endorsement for getting a rental car as there might be…although it could just as easily be an endorsement for lingering behind in the theme park a bit and waiting for the rush to die down. After all, wouldn’t you rather wait on a park bench gazing at Cinderella Castle than under the orange glow of sodium-vapor lamps at a dingy bus stop?

The general takeaway here based both on my anecdotal experience and the practical realities of driving versus using Disney transportation is that rental cars most definitely can save you time, but they also can cost time, and more importantly, can be a hassle. We have a whole host of Walt Disney World Transportation Tips that consist of various hacks and other strategies to save time, and I’m pretty well convinced that you can save nearly as much time and have a better overall experience in terms of hotel to park and park to park transit with a rental car as without one if you act in a strategic manner. I know this flies in the face of conventional wisdom, and certainly will not be the case for everyone, but you can make it work–if you want to make it work. If you’re concerned about the cost of a rental car or worried that it will make for less of an immersive experience, I’d recommend at least giving it a shot.

DSC_6806 copy

With that said, there are certain incontestable advantages of having a rental car at Walt Disney World. The biggest of these is freedom. While some Disney-fans with rose-colored glasses think Walt Disney World offers “free” transportation because it’s this kind-hearted, benevolent corporation (“benevolent corporation” is pretty much an oxymoron), the reality is that transportation is offered to discourage rental car use and trap people on property, which means eating at Disney restaurants, shopping at Disney stores, and perhaps most importantly, not visiting non-Disney theme parks. Walt Disney World offers transportation out of its own self-interest, and nothing more.

Having a rental car allows you to go to the grocery store at your leisure, venture to considerably less-expensive off-site restaurants, and also easily visit local off-site attractions that don’t have titles starting with “Disney’s…” If your vacation is truly a “Central Florida” vacation and not a “Walt Disney World vacation,” this benefit of having a rental car is a huge one.

In fairness, there are workarounds for all of the above: grocery delivery services, the Lynx public transit system, and the Mears Shuttle, Uber, or Lyft to get between Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. Each of these ‘alternatives’ is preferable to having a rental car.

There is an in-between option besides renting a car for the duration of your trip and relying on these alternatives for your off-site adventures, and that’s renting a car for a day or two at the National desk at the Swan & Dolphin or the Walt Disney World Car Care Center. I view this as a pragmatic compromise, but if you have had enough negative experiences with Walt Disney World transportation or know you want the freedom of driving yourself every day of your trip, you should move on to the next section that covers saving money on rental cars at Walt Disney World.

SAVING MONEY ON RENTAL CARS

DSC_0606

For the most part, this section will apply equally to Walt Disney World and almost any other travel destination in the United States. While we’ve only had a rental car for 4 trips to Walt Disney World, we rent cars a lot (68 days in 2014).

Recently, our friend Mark Willard turned us onto the site auto slash. The premise of AutoSlash is that they monitor your rental car reservation for price drops, and rebook you at a lower rate, if available. You can make a rental car reservation with AutoSlash or track existing rental car reservations made with major car rental companies, and they monitor the reservation automatically.

In theory, this is a really awesome site. I love automated travel resources like this that scrape sites and track prices, as they essentially outsource the work I’d otherwise be doing to ensure I’m paying the lowest price. My limited experience with AutoSlash thus far has been hit or miss. First, I’ve had issues with it searching all possible agencies and finding the actual low price the first go-round. Second, I’ve found that about 8 times out of 10, Hotwire’s (non-refundable) Hot Rate beats AutoSlash on the first search…so if that’s a good enough rate, I just book via Hotwire. Now, this isn’t an inherent problem with AutoSlash (it speaks more to my lack of patience than anything), but if the Hot Rate is a rock-bottom price like $11.95/day, I figure there’s no point to messing with AutoSlash, so I’m not really giving it a chance.

With that said, on a couple of occasions when I’ve given AutoSlash a chance to work its magic, it has worked like magic. Like a resolute husky chasing a floating frisbee through a thick blanket of snow, AutoSlash has tracked down and returned lower prices to me, often with a few days of booking (I know you all read this site for my “excellent” groan-inducing, overwrought metaphors). When I have used it, AutoSlash has a pretty solid track record–solid enough that I consider the dual strategies of checking Hotwire and AutoSlash to be sufficient for me when it comes to getting deals on rental cars.

As mentioned above, on the initial search, there’s a chance that Hotwire’s Hot Rate will be better than whatever AutoSlash finds. My rule is that if Hotwire’s rate for an economy car is <$15/day before taxes, I just book that and wash my hands of worrying about a rental car. If it’s above $15/day, I go with AutoSlash because my bet is that it can find something lower if given time. Your mileage may vary on this, and these certainly aren’t hard and fast rules–just ideas to consider.

DSC_2572 as Smart Object-1 copy

There are myriad other ways to save money on renting a car, but unless you are an aggressive bargain-hunter with a surplus of time, I think checking other options is unnecessary. The combo of AutoSlash and Hotwire is going to get you the best price available to the general public 98% of the time. Religiously checking other resources will largely be a waste of time. However, if you have nothing better to do, here’s a great 12-part series that delves into other alternatives for saving money on rental cars. Although I don’t agree with everything in that series, if you find yourself renting a car frequently, it’s a good read that will make you a savvier car renter.

One tip you’ll glean from the article include the value in joining (free) loyalty programs for the major rental car agencies–this can be a nice timesaver and a way to receive complimentary upgrades, so I’d definitely echo this advice. I would additionally recommend tinkering with your pickup and drop-off times (especially if it means saving an extra day on your rental car charge by keeping the pick-up and drop-off times in a day plus < 24-hour window).

I also always skip the additional insurance offered since my auto policy covers me (as do my Visa cards). I always pass on any upgrades (besides complimentary ones in terms of vehicle class) as they are pointless and unnecessary. Likewise, I never do the prepaid gas option because it’s a racket. Don’t get suckered into this one–most of the time you’d have to return the car with less than half a gallon of gas in order to save money with this option.

DSC_1182 as Smart Object-1 copy

As for rental agencies, I’ve only had experience with 3 agencies in Orlando: Firefly (once), Payless (twice), and Hertz (once). Again, limited sample size, but I thought it might be worth mentioning my experiences–just don’t give my anecdotes too much weight. Normally, Hertz is my go-to rental car agency, and I think their customer service is excellent and vehicle fleet nice.

However, one of my worst-ever rental car experiences has been with Hertz at the Orlando International Airport. To make a long story short, for whatever reason Hertz has (had?) kiosks that customers can use to pick-up their rental car; at these kiosks, you interact with a real person, located off-site (in Omaha, I think). Well, this takes way longer than dealing with a real person at the counter, yet for some reason, the Hertz reps in Orlando will direct you to the kiosks even when there is no line for the counter. After completing the process at the kiosk, I proceeded to the parking lot to learn that my rental car was…on the other side of the airport. Hertz has a presence on both the A & B side of MCO, and the person on the other end of the kiosk didn’t account for my actual location. After many other reps at Hertz passing the buck in dealing with me, I finally spoke with a manager who admitted there had been “tons of errors and complaints” with the kiosks. Perhaps they aren’t in use anymore but suffice to say, this was one of my worst-ever rental car experiences. This was early last year, so I wonder if these kiosks are even still in use.

By contrast, my experiences with both Firefly and Payless were flawless. Both have some mixed reviews online, but I found the service to be excellent and efficient. Again, these are only a couple of experiences and they could be outliers, but I figured it would be worth mentioning in case you’re on the fence about either.

In general, outside of the Orlando International Airport, my experiences with National, Alamo, and Hertz have all been exceptional. My experiences with Dollar and Thrifty have been less stellar. In fact, my experiences with Thrifty have been so atrocious that I would never use them again nor would I recommend anyone else use them. Other agencies not mentioned above have either been hit or miss or are small, independent locations that don’t warrant mentioning in the context of a post about Walt Disney World rental cars.

This is a lot of information to digest about renting a car for Walt Disney World, and although there are some other tips and hacks I might recommend–and I’m sure these still leave rental car newbies with some questions–I don’t want the info here to get bogged down in an article that’s ridiculously long (even by my standards). Hopefully, this has helped you determine if a rental car at Walt Disney World is for you, and if so, how to save money on one. If you have any unanswered questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will be more than happy to assist!

rock-n-rollercoaster-dusk-guitar

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? If you’re interested in learning more about hotels, our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page is a good place to start. For where to eat, try out our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews page. If you want to save money on tickets or determine which type you should get, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at unconventional things you should take on your trip. Once you arrive at the parks, our Walt Disney World “Ride Guides” are great for determining what to do and when to do it. For overviews of all of these topics and so much more, the best place to start is our comprehensive Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide to make the most of your experience!

12 Costly Rental Car Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

By Laura Lynch f

Published by Rentalcars1.com on Feb 14, 2020

Renting a car is a universal issue for almost every traveler, no matter where you’re from or where you’re going. Sometimes you can get away with not driving, but if you’re going to see the countryside at all, you’re probably going to need to rent a car. And with that task comes the dreaded task of deciphering, understanding, and being comfortable with varying car rental rules and regulations so you don’t make costly rental car mistakes.

We’ve been renting cars for more than a dozen years, all over the world, but when we were in Spain last year, all of our hard-earned car rental knowledge went straight out the window when a very crafty rental agent managed to convince us that our own insurance wasn’t enough to cover us. We ended up tacking on premium insurance that more than doubled the original price of the rental – and it was entirely unnecessary.

When you find yourself standing at the car rental counter, jetlagged and bleary-eyed, dozens of other customers impatiently waiting behind you, if you don’t have your facts straight, you may be bamboozled into services and extras you don’t need.

Rent a car from $11.95 a day at CarRentals.com!

Avoid These Costly Rental Car Mistakes

This list of 12 costly car rental mistakes you don’t want to make serves as a cautionary note to you as much as a reminder to ourselves, so that neither of us falls into the car rental trap next time we’re headed out on the road. As every situation, every car rental company and every country you may be visiting has varying rules and regulations, not all of these mistakes may apply, but it’s always good to be prepared and aware!

You might also like: 26 Biggest Travel Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Like this post? You can pin the images below to your Pinterest board to share with friends.

Mistake #1: Buying Extra (Unnecessary) Insurance

The most obvious, and the most costly, mistake people make while renting a car is buying extra insurance that isn’t needed. We’ve made this mistake more than once, I hate to admit. Many rental agencies offer insurance coverage for a per-day fee, like Supplemental Liability Insurance, Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), and one or two others. If you don’t know what all of these mean, how do you know if you need them or not?

Since you have to use a credit card to rent a car (in most cases) you might already be covered by the credit card you use to pay for the rental. Before you rent a car, you should always check your credit card coverage to make sure your card offers coverage, and exactly what it covers. When our rental car sustained damage in Spain, where we had already been talked into buying premium insurance (which of course did not cover the type of damage sustained), we learned that you must refuse the coverage offered by the rental car agency to receive rental car insurance benefits from your credit card.

All four major card networks offer rental insurance, but the benefits and requirements vary substantially. Some only offer secondary insurance, which will kick in after the coverage you have on your own personal car insurance policy. Others, like the Chase Sapphire PreferredCard, offer primary car rental insurance at no extra charge.  Needless to say, if you’re planning to use your credit card for rental car insurance, you should read all of the fine print before you go. Here is a pretty comprehensive article on credit card insurance coverage to use as a guide, but double-check your own card’s benefits so you know for sure.

Mistake #2: Not Refilling the Gas Tank Yourself

If you’re too lazy, or in too much of a hurry – as we once learned the hard way, to stop at a gas station on your way back to the airport, then you should bet on spending way more on gas than is necessary – and I mean WAY more. Not only is the per-gallon price the car rental agency charges more than you would pay at a gas station, but there’s also that little disclaimer you probably didn’t read when you chose the lazy way out. According to Budget’s website, when you select their fuel plan, you can bring the car back without filling up the tank and they’ll “charge you for a full tank of fuel at a reduced price per gallon”. Did you notice that in the fine print? Even if you bring it back with only a half-empty tank, they will charge you for a full tank anyway. “Any fuel left in the tank at the time of return will not be credited.”

Instead of paying the exorbitant prices per gallon charged by the rental car agency, just build in extra time to get gas on the way back. To avoid the frantic search for a gas station, take note of any that you see while leaving the airport, so you already know where to go when you return.

Mistake #3: Not Using Discount and Coupon Codes

There are dozens of possible discounts you could use when renting a car. The most obvious is to use a budget or discount booking tool to find your car rental. For example, I priced a car rental directly through the rental agency website and then found a deal for half that price through Priceline.

Many credit cards and banks offer their members discount codes to use when booking a rental. My bank offers a great discount, plus other perks like a free additional driver when I use their code. Visa Signature offers discounts on car rentals too, as does AAA. Sometimes you can even find discount codes online or directly from the car rental agency. It pays to look around for a code before booking. You can often save up to 25% on the rental fee.

Mistake #4: Not Joining the Club

If you’re not signing up for the rental car agency’s club program, you’re leaving perks and money-saving benefits, and discounts on the table. One of the biggest perks to being a club member is the ability to skip the long line and walk right out to your car instead. Programs like Hertz’s Gold Plus Rewards allow you to skip the counter, find your car’s lot number on a board and then drive right off without waiting. You’ll also earn points toward future rentals and upgrades, and all of this is free.

Mistake #5: Turning Away Award Points or Miles

You’re a savvy traveler, so you know you can earn free travel by saving up enough reward credits, so you would never turn away your earned miles intentionally, right? Maybe you are and you don’t know it. If you haven’t signed up for the car rental agency’s free award program, you are definitely leaving award miles on the table.

Even if you’re not a member of their program, you can often get bonus miles on an airline or hotel award program. Most car rental agencies have partnerships with the major airlines and hotels to offer award miles for car rentals. For instance, with each qualifying car rental with Budget, you could get 1,000 Best Western Rewards points or 500 Hilton HHonors points. Or you could earn 500 miles per rental in American Airlines AAdvantage miles. It pays to look into the additional miles perks that are offered by the rental car agency so you don’t leave valuable miles on the table. Learn how here.

Rental car agencies often try to upsell you with navigation and other services
Rental car agencies often try to upsell you with navigation and other services

Mistake #6: Paying for a GPS or Extra Services

You’re in a new city and you don’t know how to get around. A GPS offers great peace of mind that you’re heading in the right direction and won’t get lost down some back alley somewhere. But do you really want to spend $14.45 per day to rent one from Budget, or $12.99 from Enterprise. Instead of paying these costly rental fees, we picked up a used Garmin GPS unit on eBay and load it up with the latest maps for the city we’re headed to. It’ll cost you around $40 for a used one, or $100 for a new GPS on Amazon. It’ll pay for itself in just one week-long car rental.

Other services are also a costly car rental mistake. I know it’s terribly inconvenient to take along a child’s car seat, but doing so could save you $70 over a week-long car rental. Did you know that you can actually rent a mobile phone with a local SIM card from the car rental agency now? How about paying $7/day for “extended roadside assistance” when you already pay for services like AAA. Satellite Radio will cost you another $7/day.

Mistake #7: Pairing Your Phone with Bluetooth

Have you noticed that many new cars offer the ability to pair your cell phone with the car’s navigation or satellite system through Bluetooth? That’s great because it allows you to play your music or make a hands-free call. But beware that when you’re setting it up it will ask to sync your contacts and phone details. If you select yes, all of your personal information will be loaded into the car and will likely remain there for future car renters to access. The last car we rented was still loaded with the previous renter’s information and we were able to access his name and personal information, as well as access is contacts and call logs. Do you really want that information floating around out there?

Mistake #8: Ignoring Existing Rental Car Damage

Whenever we rent a car, we spend the first 5 minutes scouring the outside of the car for any pre-existing damage, then we document said damage on the provided diagram as well as with time-stamped photos. This is the only way to be sure that damage someone else made to the car before you took possession doesn’t get billed to you. You can be 100% certain that they aren’t going to just take your word for it, if you have no evidence.

I also recommend doing a walk-around of the car when you return it, although these days it’s hard to find an employee to do that with. The drop-off process has been streamlined so much that you rarely even see an employee at the return. The problem is that if they find damage on the car after you’ve dropped it off and left the airport, you have no way of proving that the damage was actually there when you left it. Sure, 9 times out of 10 there won’t be a problem, but in that one case when you’re charged for damage, you’ll definitely wish you’d stuck around for an inspection.

Specific rules apply to driving and renting a car in different countries. Don't make costly car rental mistakes
Specific rules apply to driving and renting a car in different countries.

Mistake #9: Failing to Note Specific International Rental Laws

Have you ever heard of a road tax charge? In some countries, like Italy, you’ll be charged $5 a day for this fee. An environmental fee of up to $10 a day may also be added. Also in Italy, there is a mandatory $20 per day fee for theft protection. When renting in Mexico, third party liability insurance is mandatory and will not be covered by credit card insurance. Ireland is one of only a handful of countries where Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) is not provided with a rental. Check your credit card to see if you’re covered or expect to add that coverage.  The point here is that every country has its regulations and handles car rental differently. Before you rent in a new country, be sure to check the rules so you know what to expect.

Mistake #10: Taking a Rental Car Over the Border

There are special rules that apply any time you drive a rented car or truck from one country to another. We were going to rent a car in Portugal and drive into Spain on a trip we took last fall, but quickly decided against that plan when we saw the astronomical fee the rental agency was going to charge us to drop off the car in a different country. It was around $650. If you’re just driving the car into another country and back, you probably won’t pay an extra fee, but you might be voiding your insurance, and you might be detained at the border by customs. Always ask for the rules before doing this. And make sure you’ve disclosed all of the locations you will be taking the car. One country may require an International Driver’s License, while the other doesn’t, or the car might require special permits to enter. All of these issues will be costly if you’re caught.

Check the rules whenever renting a car to avoid making costly rental car mistakes.
Check the rules whenever renting a car to avoid making costly mistakes.

Mistake #11: Not Returning the Car on Time

If you rent a car on Saturday and return it on Monday, you very well may be charged for 3 days, rather than 2. Most companies charge on a 24-hour basis, so if you keep the car for 26 hours, you’ll be charged for 2 full days.

Remember when you reserved the car online and you put in what time you’d pick and return the vehicle? Those times might seem arbitrary, but you can be certain the rental car company took note of it and will charge you accordingly. If you return the car late, some companies will give a 29-minute grace period before charging either by the hour or a full extra day.

You might imagine that returning a rental car a day or two early would come out in your favor, but you’ll probably have to pay for that too. Some car rental companies will offer you a prorated refund if you return the vehicle early, but others will charge you an early return fee of $15 dollars, or more. You could also end up paying a hefty rate difference, particularly if your shortened rental period means that you no longer qualify for an advertised special rate you received.

Mistake #12: Not Asking About Tolls

Some freeways are still free. But most are not. It is in your best interest to inquire about toll charges while you’re at the counter. I’ve noticed that rental cars in areas near tolls include a fast pass that can either be enabled to work at all toll booths or disabled so you must stop and pay the toll yourself. We used the fast pass in Washington DC and up to Philadelphia on a recent trip, and while it was super convenient to breeze through the toll booths, it cost us an extra “convenience fee” of $3.95 per day just to use it. Worth it? Maybe. Maybe not. But you should at least be aware of the policy before you decide.

Surely you’ve made a few of these mistakes yourself a time or two, but now you can avoid these costly rental car mistakes and save the money you would have needlessly spent. What are your tips for avoiding car rental mistakes? Share them in the comments!

(Note: This posts contains affiliate links for which we may receive a small commission if you use them.)

Laura in the vineyards of New Zealand

Laura Lynch, creator, and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.

Renting a Car in a Foreign Country

By Michael Miller

Published by Rentalcars1.comon Feb 14, 2020

You might think that the biggest problem you’ll face when driving a car in another country is knowing which side of the road you should be on. It’s actually a little more complicated than that, and if you’re planning to rent a car while abroad, be it for fun or on a business trip, then you’re going to need to make sure that you know these vital tips. No matter where you’re visiting, driving in another country can be very different from driving at home, and even something as simple as renting a car will need a lot more in terms of preparation than you’re most likely used to. If you’re hoping to explore another country from behind the wheel of a car, then here’s everything you need to know about renting a car in a foreign country.

How to Book Your Rental Car

You should always book your car rental in advance. The cost difference can be quite substantial, with counter rental significantly higher than those made beforehand. Even something like 24 hours before pick-up can mean considerable savings, so always make your booking before you leave home. If you do this level of preparation before leaving your home country, you’ll have fewer issues with factors like exchange rates and local language barriers as well, so it’s always worth doing the prep as early as possible. You will need to check on age requirements, as many countries won’t allow car rentals for drivers under the age of 25 or over the age of 70, no matter how long you’ve been driving or how proficient you might be.

The Rules of the Local Road

No matter which country you’re visiting or your reasons for being there, knowing the local laws is essential. Every country has its own driving laws, and you can avoid fines or delays by knowing in advance even the basics. If you’re traveling to a country that drives on the other side of the road than your home country, then it’s often worth getting some practice in before you set off. Remember too that many countries don’t treat automatic transmission as the norm, and you’ll either have to pay more for an automatic or be able to drive using a stick. Look too at the cultural reputation of drivers. Those in places like Paris or Brazil are notoriously aggressive drivers, so be prepared to deal with the differences in driving styles. It’s also worth budgeting for gas costs too, because some countries pay much higher prices for gas than others, so make sure that you don’t run out of gas money in the middle of nowhere.

Are You Legal to Rent?

For the majority of English speaking countries, your American driving license will most likely suit your needs in terms of necessary paperwork. If you’re traveling a little further afield, then you may need an International Driving Permit (IDP). You will need to be at least 18 years old to obtain one of these, but they are inexpensive and will allow you to drive in over 100 countries. This simple piece of paper, which provides a translation of your driving details, can be worth its weight in gold if you’re pulled over by the local police. You can pick up your IDP at either the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the American Automobile Touring Alliance, and it’s worth bearing in mind that there are a number of websites that claim to provide this paperwork for you. Don’t be tricked into buying from unofficial channels. Remember too that your IDP is not a replacement for your driving license, and you will need to present both forms of identification when asked.

Are You Covered?

Always check with your insurance company if you’re planning to drive overseas. The vast majority of insurance policies do not cover car rentals in another country, and it’s a very easy thing to forget about. Most foreign car rental companies offer their own form of overseas insurance, although many people limit themselves to relying on the insurance covered by their credit cards, and simply put the cost of the rental on the card itself. Make sure when using rental company insurance policies that you are covered by the minimum coverage requirements of your destination country.

Driving in a foreign country can be very stressful for the unprepared or inexperienced driver. Simply taking the time to make sure that you have some idea of what to expect will go a long way to making your travels much more enjoyable. Driving in a new country can be an exhilarating experience, and is the best way to really get to know a new environment. Making sure that you’re protected as much as possible means that you’ll be able to enjoy the experience all the more.

 

 

Renting a Car in Los Angeles

BY 

Published by RentalCars1.com on Feb 14, 2020

If you’re flying into Los Angeles, there’s a good chance that you’ll be wanting to rent a car because while it’s not the only option for getting around, it’s probably the most practical for the majority of visitors to the sprawling metroplex of Los Angeles.

Renting a car at the airport is usually the most convenient option if you have to rent a car, and usually, airport rental companies have the best prices; occasionally, though, you’ll find specials that are only at off-airport locations.

It’s difficult to get a good price comparison for Airport and non-airport rates at sites like Kayak.com or Travelocity.com, but for a random bunch of dates, airport rates were always less, and both sites had rates less than the individual vendor sites. There was no clear winner between Kayak, Rentalcars1.com, Travelocity or Expedia, as each of them had the lowest rates for different rental companies or cars.

Where to Rent a Car

If you’re flying into one of the Los Angeles area airports including Burbank and Los Angeles International (LAX), you’ll be able to find a number of car rental company kiosks as the arrival terminals, but you’ll have to take a shuttle off-site to pick up the car—usually from one of the long-term parking lots nearby. You should allow plenty of time between your flight’s arrival and your first obligation in Los Angeles for picking up the rental car, filing the proper paperwork, and getting to your destination.

If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous to drive, you can also rent a Classic Mustang, California Roadster, or Moke Electric Car to cruise around the city, and most of the airport car rental companies offer these premium models for an additional charge.

Alternatively, you can also check on travel and rental websites to compare prices elsewhere in the Los Angeles area, but chances are the airport offers the best prices—especially if you book your flight and rental car together through one of the airport’s customer service representatives.

Navigating and Driving

Before you rent a car in Los Angeles, you’ll want to make sure to learn all the best tricks and shortcuts for driving in this traffic-heavy city. Knowing what you should expect on the road in Los Angeles will save you tons of time and eliminate a lot of the frustrations first-time drivers experience when heading to this California metropolitan center.

Of course, the most frustrating part of driving in Los Angeles is the traffic, so you also might want to get oriented to LA traffic. If you don’t have access to GPS/Satellite Navigation via a PDA/smartphone or portable GPS unit, you might want to consider renting a car with a built-in navigation system to help navigate LA traffic.

Keep in mind when calculating rental car rates that most hotels in Los Angeles charge a nightly parking fee, which can range from $10 to $40 per night, and the more expensive the hotel, the higher the parking fee will be. You’ll also have to pay for parking at most attractions and most high-end restaurants, and streets in all commercial areas are metered while many neighborhood streets near commercial areas require residential permits to park, so your parking expenses per day may be more than the total car rental rate for the day.

Renting a Car in New York City

By NYCbyNatives.com

Published by RentalCars1.com on Mar 14, 2020

When visiting New York City (especially Manhattan), renting a car is totally unnecessary and not worth the hassle of dealing with our notoriously bad traffic, bad drivers, and badly potholed streets. Renting a Car in New York CityAdd to that the city’s horrendous shortage of parking, and it makes driving in New York City something you definitely want to leave to the natives.

Despite my advice, there are some who will still want to rent a car. So for all you brave souls who insist on trying to put the pedal to the medal in New York City, here are some car rental tips that will help make driving in New York City a little bit easier (but not by much).

  1. Car rental companies are prohibited by law from refusing to rent you a car unless you purchase the additional insurance coverages they offer. If you have insurance on your own vehicle, check your policy. Most policies cover rental cars and you’ll save yourself a lot of money.
  2. Car rental companies are required by law to allow your spouse to drive the vehicle if he or she is licensed and at least eighteen years of age. They are permitted to charge $3 per any additional driver per day.
  3. Car rental companies in New York are required to rent to licensed drivers who are at least 18 years of age or older, however, they are allowed to charge a surcharge for drivers who are under 25.
  4. While imposing a maximum age limit for renting a car is common in some countries, car rental companies in the United States do not typically have a maximum age limit for renting a vehicle.
  5. You do not have to have a credit card to rent a car in New York. If you want to use cash, the rental company may require you to go through a screening process that may take several days to complete and they may also require a cash deposit.
  6. Of course, it is illegal for car rental companies to refuse to rent a car to someone because of their race, color, ethnic origin, religion, disability, or sex.
  7. Do you work for the government or are you in the military? Check with the car rental company you are planning to use to see if they offer discounts.
  8. The Car rental company will hold Renting a Car in New York Cityyou responsible for any traffic tickets or parking tickets you receive on your rental car, so it’s to your advantage to obey the traffic laws.
  9. In the United States, traffic laws differ from state to state (and sometimes from city to city). Here are the basic New York City Traffic Rules:
    • The default speed limit is 25 mph unless a higher speed limit is posted.
    • While it is legal to do so in most of the country, it is illegal to turn right on red in New York City.
    • The driver and any passenger riding in the front seat must wear seat belts.
    • Children under 8 years old must be restrained in a car seat.
    • Drinking and driving is irresponsible, unsafe, and illegal and can result in the loss of driving privileges, fines, and jail time.
    • Texting while driving is irresponsible, unsafe, and illegal. Pulling over to read and answer texts makes more sense and you’ll avoid loss of driving privileges and fines.
  10. Make sure to read the street signs when parking your rental car. New York City has some of the most confusing rules for when, where and how long you can park a car on a given street, and the fines can be hefty.

Hopefully, you’ll find these car rental tips useful, but I still encourage all visitors to New York City to give the subway and buses a try. The public transportation system in New York City is one of the most extensive in the world and runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now that’s convenient.

Please drive safely and Happy Traveling!

 

Hawaii Airport Opens $340M Facility for Car Rental Companies

By Associated Press, Wire Service ContentMay 16, 2020, at 12:34 a.m. – 

Published by rentalcars1.com on Jan 15, 2020

 

KAHULUI, HAWAII (AP) — Hawaii airport has opened a $340 million facility for car rental companies.

The Maui News reported Wednesday that the Kahului Airport Consolidated Rent-A-Car facility is the largest single public works project on Maui.

Officials say the facility that opened Wednesday houses all major rental car companies in one spot and connects passengers with the airport via electric tram.

Officials say the project took three years to complete, was environmentally friendly, and created hundreds of local jobs.

Gov. David Ige visited the site Tuesday and says the project was “funded with no taxpayer dollars involved.”

The funding came from a state facility charge, a daily $4.50 payment by rental car customers.

The Democratic governor says a similar facility is scheduled for 2021 completion at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

___

Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

How to Find a Cheap Car Rental for your USA roadtrip?

Published by Rentalcars1.com on Apr27, 2019

By The American Travel Blogger –

Five years ago, pretty much no one was thinking of renting a car and driving across the US. Something to do with $4 and 5 a gallon gas prices? Now that things are starting to level out, it might be time to crank up the tunes and take a road trip across the country. Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks, maybe? Pacific Coast Highway? If you’re willing to make an excursion out of it, the sky’s the limit. But regardless of how accommodating fuel prices might be today or tomorrow, rental prices and gimmicks are at an all-time high. So, how can you avoid getting gouged on your next rental while still having the trip of your life? You might be surprised how simple and practical it can be. Here are some sites and tips for car rentals that can help:

KAYAK.COM

Real talk: Kayak rules the vacation planning ring. The biggest benefit of using this site is that all your travel can be planned on one single site, accommodating flexible travel dates, locations, and the like. Kayak will always find you the best prices, and you can even set up alerts to let you know when prices drop.

These tips will also help cut costs:

CUT THE FLUFF

how to find a cheap rental car for a usa road trip

You and I both want to cruise the coast in a Mustang or Corvette, but it’s just not feasible for everyone on a budget. So first of all, make sure you’re getting a fuel-economic model and make sure it’s just big enough to fit your group and your stuff. Leave the Escalade for the rap videos. Most rental companies are working hard to incentivize their renters by offering great deals on hybrids and small-engine car models. You can probably take advantage and save some money picking those models.

Watch out for those one-way drop-off fees. By that, we mean renting a car in Dallas and dropping it off in Flagstaff. Most if not all rental companies have hidden fees built into any rental that gets dropped off in another place than where it was picked up. So, though it might take another day of travel, try to plan on dropping off your car at the same location it was picked up at.

Forget airports! Sure, it’s convenient to just grab the car and go when you land. But, it will almost always entail some added fees. That’s because the rental companies themselves have to pay high taxes and fees in order to operate within the airport. And obviously, the car rental business isn’t one of charity. So if you can take advantage of the airport shuttle service to get to a nearby car rental office location, it might be worth it to save some money on rentals.

KNOW YOUR INSURANCE

Beware of fear-mongering desk clerks whose very job is to get you to pay extra money for rental insurance you may or may not need. These insurance plans can tack an extra 15-30% on the price, so make sure that if you’re spending the money you will be well-covered for any unforeseen (or foreseen if you plan to take it rough) occurrence.

Another thing to keep in mind that if you use your credit card – which you should, since the holding fees are considerably lower than with a debit card, not to mention the bonus points you’ll get – most credit card companies will have built-in coverage for rentals. So, check with your credit card company to see if the purchase will have minor scrapes and damages covered. Take lots of pictures when you rent your car! That’ll keep you from having to pay money for someone else’s shenanigans that used the car before you.

BE FLEXIBLE

how to find a cheap rental car for a usa road trip

It can be difficult to have wiggle room on when to take a road trip, especially if you’re a working professional or need to ask for the time off. But, if you can, try tweaking around the days (or even the hours/time) of your pickup and drop-off. You might be surprised to save $100 on your car rental because you kept the rental for a day more or a day less. Also, sometimes a midweek rental will be cheaper, but sometimes (believe it or not) it’s cheaper to rent for the weekend. Rental companies predict peak travel times for leisure travelers (weekenders), and they try to amp up sales volumes by offering lower prices on the weekend. So you never know how a day or two’s difference might lower the price on your rental.

Renting a car for your next road trip – get this – is actually feasible! If you want to save some money, just try out a few of the tips in this article.

 

Can I rent a self-driving car already?

Published by Rentalcars1.com on Apr23, 2019

By Expedia UK –

For some drivers, the idea of hopping behind the controls of a self-driving car seems like the scariest thing in the world. They may have been rigorously tested and depicted endlessly in sci-fi TV, film, and fiction, but the idea of not controlling a moving vehicle seems innately scary and risky to most of us who have been firmly in control of our cars for all of our motoring lives.

However, there are others for whom the notion of riding in a self-driving car is a hugely thrilling prospect. Lovers of technology and gadgetry especially are likely very eager to take this advance in transportation out for a test drive. Yet much of the world is still making up its mind about whether or not these driverless vehicles should be allowed on their roads.

Legislative slow-downs

The instinctive fears and reservations many of us harbor about self-driving cars is reflected by many countries’ response to the invention. The technology behind the machines may be incredibly safe – some claim safer than even human drivers – but it’s hard for many nations to know how to approach this potentially game-changing advancement. Creating legislation to regulate these cars and to ensure safety is proving very tricky all over the world.

Where can I try a driverless car?

There are some places in the world where you can already rent and try out self-driving cars for yourself. If you’re planning a trip to the US, there are a few states and cities in which self-driving cars are on the roads and available for rental. Although the number of driverless vehicles on the roads is small, in some US locations it is possible to rent a self-driving car, although it may come with more supervision than you are anticipating.

In Pittsburgh, for example, Uber has recently launched a fleet of self-driving cars, which you can specifically select to pick you up. The cars do have human supervision in the front seat but are entirely self-driving. A hundred driverless Volvo XC90s were due to hit downtown Pittsburgh’s roads by the end of 2017.

There are some locations that have backtracked on driverless vehicles, however, which makes it difficult to be sure where rentals will be available. San Francisco’s hilly streets were once home to a fleet of self-driving cars but driverless car legislation took them off the roads. In 2017 they came back, but only in a mapping capacity. These cars are no longer available to rent or ride.

Outside the US

If you’re not planning to visit any of these US locations, you may need to sit tight for a few more months or years before self-driving car rentals are more widely available, but it seems very likely that their use will be widespread in the near future.

In America, states like Michigan have recently published some very permissive driverless car laws, while further afield, countries like China are working hard to beat the US to full self-driving adoption. There’s even talk of India embracing the technology on its hectic and accident-prone roads.

Wherever your next getaway takes you, it’s unlikely that self-driving cars will be available to rent. In some US cities, you may be lucky enough to take a taxi ride in a driverless vehicle, but it’s likely to be another couple of years before this technology is more widely available.

Sit tight, though, technology fans! The future is most definitely coming… In the meantime, if you need to find a car RENTAL in Pittsburgh, Michigan, San Francisco, India, China or beyond, our car hire service will help you arrange a more traditional vehicle for your trip.

How to rent a car in Las Vegas

Rent a car in Las Vegas if you’re the independent sort and you prefer to drive yourself around town. There’s no end to the car rental companies you can find in Las Vegas. You can even rent motorbikes and flashy sports cars. Of course, what you pay will depend on what you are renting.

One word of warning though, traffic on the Vegas Strip is no joy ride. It could take 20 minutes to get to the casino almost right in front of you and parking is not always free at most hotel parking lots on the Strip. However, being able to chauffeur yourself around at will and get to locations outside town make renting a car something to consider. On that note, here are some tips on Las Vegas car rental.

 Contact your insurance company to find out what the policy is regarding Las Vegas car rentals. If you have full coverage then you may not need to purchase additional coverage from a Las Vegas car rental company. If you don’t have full coverage, you may be able to purchase a supplement.

 Make your reservation online. Some companies offer discount coupons on their website.

 Compare rates among several Las Vegas car rental companies to see who has the lowest rate for the time you will be traveling.

 Keep checking the rates offered by your preferred rental company because they change constantly. You may find that the rates drop daily the closer you get to your travel date. Book the lowest rate you find but don’t wait too long because it may shoot up again the day before you travel.

McCarran Airport Las Vegas

Terminal 1 – Rental Car Shuttle Pick Up

From Terminal 1 Baggage Claim, follow signs to Ground Transportation on Level 1. Proceed to the dedicated blue-and-white McCarran Rent-A-Car Center Shuttle located outside doors 10 and 11.

Terminal 3 – Rental Car Shuttle Pick Up

From Terminal 3, follow signs to Ground Transportation from Baggage Claim on Level Zero. Proceed to the dedicated blue-and-white McCarran Rent-A-Car Center Shuttle located outside West doors 51-54 and East doors 55-58.

 The shuttle ride to McCarran Rent-A-Car Center is a short three-mile trip and takes about 8 minutes to get there.

 All the major car rental companies are located at the McCarran Rent-A-Car Center. You can make your booking there or check-in to pick up your reserved car. Note: Rental car counters are no longer located in Baggage Claim.

 Expect to pay more if you rent a car at the McCarran Rent-A-Car Center. Las Vegas car rental companies have to pay a facility fee for the use of this place and they pass this on to the customer. However, the convenience of driving yourself from the airport may outweigh the extra charge.

 Prepare for the possibility of long lines at the rental counters. You may find yourself waiting for as long as 20 minutes, if not more, while the people ahead of you complete paperwork.

McCarran Airport Las Vegas

When it’s time to return that rental car, follow directions to the McCarran Rent-A-Car Center which is located at

McCarran Rent-A-Car Center
7135 Gilespie St.
Las Vegas, NV 89119
 (702)-261-6001

Upon arrival at the McCarran Rent-A-Car Center, follow the signs to the Car Return GARAGE entrance off Gilespie Street, continue following the overhead signs to the appropriate car rental company. After returning your vehicle, proceed through the lobby and out the main entrance for ground transportation.

Shuttle rides back to Terminal 1 and 3 Departures
Board the appropriate shuttle to Terminal 1 or 3 departing approximately every 5 minutes for the 7 minute trip for your departing flight.

Renting from locations outside Mcarran Airport

Off site car rental is always an option in Las Vegas. Many Las Vegas hotels offer car rental stations at the hotel. If you choose to rent from these locations, here are a few things you need to know and general questions to ask.

.

 Look for car rental stations at your hotel. You can pick up a car as from 7:30am but most, if not all, car rental companies close at 5pm.

 Make sure that there won’t be an extra charge if you return the car you rented at the hotel to the airport as you’re leaving.

 Ask your offsite Las Vegas car rental company if they will pick you up from your hotel. Most companies offer this free service.

 Make sure there is no charge for mileage. This becomes an important issue if you are planning a trip to the Hoover Dam or to an attraction that’s even further away.

 Take the back roads on either side of the Vegas Strip when you are driving. Traffic on Las Vegas Blvd can resemble a parking lot at times, especially weekends.

Remember most hotels on the Strip now charge for parking.

 Take note, some companies will charge an extra fee for one-way rentals. For instance, you may incur a charge if you rent a car from a company in Las Vegas and drop it off at the branch office in Los Angeles.

 It is relatively cheap to rent a car in Las Vegas because of all the competition.

Click here to access RentalCars1.com for the car rental companies at McCarran Rent-A-Car Center.

Las Vegas Car Rental

Advantage Rent A Car
(702) 798-6100
Airport Rent-A-Car
(702) 795-0800
X-Press Rent A Car
(702) 795-4008
Alamo Rent A Car
(702) 388-2142
Allstate Car Rental
(702) 736-6147
Assured Auto Rental
(702) 597-9710
Avis Rent A Car
(702) 261-5595
Budget
(702) 736-1212
Car Temps USA
(702) 263-8411
Dollar Rent A Car
(702) 739-8408
Dream Car & Motorcycle Rentals
(702) 731-6452
Enterprise Rent-A-Car
(702) 795-8842
Fantasy Car Rental
(702) 795-3636
Frugal Car Rental
(702) 897-1954
Hertz
(702) 736-4900
National Car Rental
(702) 261-5391
Priceless Car Rental
(888) 866-7283
Rent-A-Vette
(702) 736-2592
Royal Rent-A-Car
(702) 683-6472
Savmor Rental Car
(702) 737-2839
Thrifty Car Rental
(702) 896-7600
U.S. Rent-A-Car
(702) 798-6100
Value Rent-A-Car
(702) 733-8886

Money Saving Car Rental Tips

1 Consider Weekly Rental — If you’re planning on having the vehicle for five days or more, look for weekly rentals. You can save as much as 30 percent paying the weekly rate compared with paying for a seven-day rental on the daily rate.

2 Never agree to Prepaid Gas — Although some of their offers may sound enticing, especially those offering cheaper gas if you buy up front rather than when the car is returned. It’s never a good idea. Fuel prices are always cheaper down the street than anything a car hire company will offer you. Decline the prepaid gas option and save money replacing only what you use.

3 Know what your own Insurance Covers — Before renting a car, check with your insurance company and credit card company. Most car insurance policies offer liability coverage and others cover rental-car coverage via comprehensive and collision coverage, and some credit card providers have a built-in protection for rental car insurance.

4 Think twice about that Free Upgrade — Car rental companies sometimes offer free upgrades to larger vehicles. Larger vehicles will cost you more in fuel costs. If you want to save that money, decline the upgrade.

Source: Edmunds.com

Note: Most major casino/resort on Vegas Strip charge for parking.

Driving in Las Vegas and DUI

Here are a few things you should be aware of when driving in Las Vegas.

 Failure to give the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalk – Fine $280

 DUI – Liquor and/or drugs – Requires mandatory court appearance – Bail $2,115

 Drinking alcoholic beverage while driving – Requires a mandatory court appearance, 5pts on your record and a bail of $640

 Open alcoholic container in vehicle will fetch you a $640 Fine

 Nevada cell-phone law bans drivers from talking on hand-held devices while driving (NRS 484B.165). If you are caught talking on hand-held devices while driving, you will be cited.

Getting a Traffic Ticket in Las Vegas

If you are unfortunate to get a traffic ticket while vacationing in Las Vegas. Do the smart thing and pay the fine. The Las Vegas Courts issue arrest warrants for all unpaid traffic tickets. Also an additional warrant fee of $200 and a late fee of $25 will be added to all tickets that proceed into warrant status.

In addition to warrant fees and penalties, all unpaid traffic tickets will be reported to national credit reporting agencies making it it difficult for you to obtain a job in your home town, or pay more for credit.

Also, refusal to pay, you could fail a background check and make it difficult to gain re-entry to the United States.

Pay Your Ticket Online or call  (702) 671-3444 or out-of-state (877) 455-1289 to take care of your Las Vegas traffic tickets.