Nine things you need to know before renting a car on holiday 

A quick, easy and practical guide to renting a car while exploring a new destination. 

Renting a car while on holiday can make getting around a new destination quick, easy and convenient. Having access to private transportation often eliminates the need for public transport or tour providers, and allows travellers to get from one place to another faster and more efficiently. For many people, having the freedom to leave and return from any location at any chosen time, while stopping at scenic spots along the way, makes a vacation less stressful and more flexible. 

Car rental company Avis has been providing wheels to travellers across the globe for 75 years. With a vehicle portfolio boasting a wide variety of cars to suit all needs, from compact and intermediate models to full-size SUVs, vans and four-wheel drive vehicles, Avis even has a nifty app for customers that makes renting a car a breeze. With that in mind, we asked Avis to provide their expert advice for drivers-to-be.

red car driving down street in europe
© Pexels/ Olga Vunder

Choose a reputable rental car company

Avis recommends looking for established brands or well-known car rental companies that have a strong presence both domestically and internationally. “These companies tend to have standardised policies, better customer support, and reliable service – when travelling overseas, it’s important to consider the accessibility and responsiveness of customer support. Reputable car hire businesses have dedicated customer service teams that can assist you with any queries or concerns before, during, and after renting a car” 

Hire a suitable car   

The experts at Avis say the right car for your travels will depend on the nature of your trip, the destination, road conditions and terrain. “Keep in mind whether you require automatic or manual transmission, the number of passengers, and the amount of space needed for luggage.”

Do a vehicle check before driving away

As many seasoned travellers know, it’s essential to check any vehicle for pre-existing damage before renting a car and ensure the rental company is aware of it, to avoid being held responsible for damages upon return. “Make sure you check the fuel level of the car to ensure this matches the information provided by the rental company. Double-check your rental agreement which details your personal information, vehicle information, payment method, coverages, and rental preferences. Remember to read it carefully as it’s a legally binding document.”

mint green volkswagon kombi
© Pexels/ Gya Den

What to do in the event of a minor or major accident 

For all accidents, minor and major, your first point of call (after any required emergency services) is to contact the rental location. “If it is safe to do so, take pictures of the accident site and all vehicles involved. When renting a car abroad, take the time to carefully read the terms and conditions provided by the car rental company on any coverages,” said an Avis representative. “In Australia, if your rental vehicle is involved in an accident, an excess generally applies. When selecting a car rental company, be sure to research what options are available in terms of excess reduction to help cover incidents,” suggests an Avis representative.

Avoid unnecessary late fees

Time and time again, customers return vehicles late, resulting in late fees. To avoid any unnecessary late fees, Avis representatives believe it’s always best to plan a trip to allow for potential delays. If drivers are running behind schedule, they should contact the car hire location to extend their rental. 

blue car on highway
© Pexels/ Quintin Gellar

Renting a car FAQ

Can you hire a car in one country and leave it in another?

In places where many countries are clustered within easy reach of one another, such as Europe, some car rental companies may allow customers to pick a car up in one country, and drop it off in another. However, this isn’t a service provided by all rental car companies, and those that do provide it often charge additional fees for the convenience. 

What do you need to rent a car? 

In general, those who wish to drive a rental car will need to have a valid passport (for driving overseas), a valid full driver’s license that has been held for 12-24 months (depending on the car rental company policy), be at least 21 years old, and in some cases you will also need an international driving permit. 

omen sitting in white safari jeep
© Pexels/ Rachel Claire

How much does it cost to rent a car? 

The cost of renting a car is determined by the supplier, the time of year, the type of car, the duration of hire, the pick-up and drop-off locations and other discretionary fees. 

Do you need insurance when renting a car?

Anyone renting a car while on holiday should have insurance to cover accidental damage and theft, both of which are usually provided by the rental car company. These insurance policies ensure that, aside from a previously agreed-upon excess fee, drivers aren’t responsible for the full cost of any damage or theft.

Read more: 

Everything you need to know about travel insurance
Inside travel tips for Etihad flight attendants
Nine common travel mistakes and how to avoid them
How to find cheap flights for your next holiday

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