Renting a car is often an inevitable part of planning a trip, although it isn’t exactly the most entertaining part. Because, even if you’re far away from home, you’ll need some form of transportation to get where you want to go. And if you don’t like using taxis, or can’t access your own car, then a rental may be your only option.
But the process of renting a car can be a confusing one, not to mention expensive. Especially if you’re new to it! So, today’s article is meant to help you rent your first car, if you are a beginner. Although some of the tips might even be helpful for experienced renters.
We’ll be covering everything from payment methods to if you should trust reviews that you read, and hopefully by the end of these tips, you’ll have a solid grasp of how to rent your first vehicle online!
1. Make Sure to Research the Rental Company Thoroughly
It goes without saying that some research will be necessary before you rent a car online, because neglecting to do so could result in you being out a lot of money. Or even being stranded without transportation in a new place! But one of the most important things to research is the rental company itself.
Of course, there are more well-known rental brands that you may already know the reputation of; but sometimes, you may be confronted with third-party rental options. And in this case, it’s especially important that you look into the company and make sure it’s legitimate.
2. Be Aware That Not All Bad Reviews Are the Company’s Fault
While you’re conducting your research, you’ll probably be taking a look at the reviews of the company you’re hoping to rent from. But you need to keep in mind that you shouldn’t judge the company too harshly based on a few bad reviews. Instead, you should take a close look at what these reviews actually say.
If the review mentions anything that could simply be the fault of the renter, then you may not need to be as alarmed. But, if the review mentions something like poor car quality or allegations of overbilling, then you need to take serious note.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Spend a Little Time Looking for The Best Price
Travelling is expensive, and there’s no shame in trying to find the most cost-effective option for your car rental. This doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice the quality of your rental, but it does mean that you should spend some time comparing the prices you see online.
Some companies are more expensive to rent from than others, and even with the same company, there can be variations with the price. For instance, if you go directly to the rental company’s site then you may be able to find some sort of discount. Whereas if you’re ordering from a third-party site, it might be more expensive.
4. Consider Choosing an Economy Car
Much like when you’re purchasing a car, you’re going to be confronted with many options of what kind of car to rent. But unlike when you actually buy a car, keep in mind that you’ll only be using this one for a short time, so you don’t have to be in love with the car to rent it.
Therefore, one suggestion for travelers on a budget, is to rent an economy car, which is essentially the term for a small and affordable vehicle. They might not look the fanciest, or have the most seats; but if they meet your needs, then they’ll typically be a lot cheaper than larger options.
5. Choose a website that Supports Your Desired Payment Method
Credit cards are the most common way to pay for car rental. However, some travelers may prefer using a different method, for a variety of reasons.
6. Don’t Bother with The Extras
Lastly, when you’re renting your car, you’ll be asked if you want to upgrade your vehicle and pay for certain extras. This will likely be things like a GPS or roadside assistance. But unless you feel like you really need these things, there are probably cheaper ways of accessing the same thing yourself.
For instance, you can download a navigation app onto your phone and then there’s no need for a GPS! So just remember that these extras are often overpriced, and many times, not necessary. Although the site will likely do its best to convince you that they are.