There’s just nothing quite as traveling – the excitement of getting to know new places, the challenge of seeing and experiencing the most you can in limited amount of time, the many stories you can later tell to friends and family. It’s no wonder so many people dedicate their lives to exploring their countries, continents and even the whole world.
However, as we know, travel is not all sunshine and roses. Sometimes the mere act of moving from place A to place B involves being open to many possible inconveniences. In medieval Europe, there was a saying: “he who wants to travel must prepare for hardships”. Of course, this comes from a time when people hardly ever left their village and traveling has changed much since then, but that doesn’t mean travel nowadays is exempt from complications.
Don’t worry though, unlike in the middle ages, most of the current age traveler’s problems are more annoyances than they are life or death situations and with enough preparation, you can easily avoid them altogether. On this occasion, we´ll talk about those “travelers’ hardships” that may arise when renting a car.
Renting a car is a very practical way to explore many urban areas or attractive touristic sites while visiting a new destination. By having a vehicle for yourself or your travel group, you’re free to move without depending on public transport or expensive taxis.
Let’s say you want to go to Las Vegas and see everything you can during your trip, not just your hotel and a couple of nearby casinos. If you depended only on public transport your options would be limited to the city itself, you’d be missing out of some of the area’s best nearby tourist attractions such as the Valley of Fire State Park or Red Rock Canyon. With a rental car, however, you can get to these sites (and more) and the most it will take you to go from one of the sites to the other is just an hour-long drive!
Renting a car is a great way to move around within your destination from the moment you arrive at the airport to the moment you go back. But as you might be expecting, it’s by no means, a perfect system, it has its flaws and if you’re not careful you might end up not enjoying the experience as much as you should, so here are some tips to help you avoid some possible car rental hardships.
Choosing a car rental site
If there is something that the car rental industry can’t ever be blamed about is for lacking options, there are dozens of companies that offer hundreds of options each. There is an option that’s perfect for you, the tricky part is just finding it.
One way to sift through all the options is to use an aggregate site. These websites compare different rental companies and give you the best prices. The companies will be ranked according to their scores and comments on Trustpilot, a popular page where customers rank all types of services including rental cars:
- Viajemos.com 4.7 / 5
As websites to find rental cars go, this is one of the best around, it usually finds the best prices in the market and it’s known by its top-notch customer service, which has been qualified as very fast and competent, able to sort out most problems.
- Miles Car Rental 4.6 / 5
Miles Car Rental is a good option too, as it has partnerships with some of the most renown car rentals such as Dollar, Thrifty and Alamo, among others. In addition to this they have highly competitive prices, an extensive car fleet and permanent offers.
- Priceline 4.5 / 5
This website offers many vacationing services. Users report that their app has recently been upgraded, allowing customers to have additional benefits when using the app. Most users describe their services overall helpful.
- CarRentals 4.3 / 5
- Rentalcars 3.8 / 5
One of the main features of this site is its accessibility, customers can change the language of the main page to a variety of languages from all over the world. They also use an account system in which you can subscribe to receive information.
Renting a car can be a very enjoyable experience as it gives you the freedom of visiting all the sites you want without having to depend on anyone but yourself. But with all that freedom comes a price: you’ll be the one driving, so that means that there will be some responsibilities on your part.
These responsibilities can be summarized into some vital requirements that everyone interested in renting a car must meet. After all car rentals can’t just give out their cars to anyone who barges in asking for a car; they need to make sure you’ll be a responsible driver.
- A valid driver’s license
Unsurprisingly the first thing you need to have is a valid driver’s license. After all, you need a license to drive, be it a car you own or a rental. However, you’d be surprised by how much people forget their driver’s licenses when traveling. Trust me, if you forget your license, you’re in for some headaches as no rental company in existence is going to let you rent a car.
If you’re traveling in a group, make sure that the main driver always packs his or her license, as you must present it to claim your car and they will not accept the license of additional drivers.
- Full coverage insurance
In general, driving around uninsured is a bad idea. Any accident, even a minor fender vender, can have disastrous consequences for your wallet. Now, if driving around in your car without any type of insurance is a disaster waiting to happen, imagine how bad it gets when you’re driving around uninsured in a car that isn’t even yours. Any scratch could cost you a small fortune, let alone a worse accident with medical bills and a totaled car. For that reason, always be sure to have full coverage insurance when renting a car.
And now that we’re talking about coverage plans, here’s a tip to save you some frustration: Most car rentals offer different packages of insurances, and most of them are sensible enough, however you should be cautious when choosing your insurances. Some websites offer them via third-party companies but sometimes car rental companies require you to purchase those insurances directly with them and not with others, which sometimes leads to people paying twice for insurance.
The best thing you can do is to purchase any insurance package you’d like directly at the rental site. You should also check with your own insurance carrier to see if your own coverage will transfer to your rental. Many times, it will (usually when you are not in a foreign country though).
- A physical credit card
Some care rental companies will require a physical credit card to be presented at the time of pickup. Some may even ask you to leave it behind as a safety measure to ensure you return the vehicle in good shape.
This doesn’t mean you can only pay for a rental car with a physical credit card, as there are many different forms of payment available and some companies will do everything digitally or even completely online. But still, this physical credit card is a requirement at some places so to be on the safe side, be sure to take your credit card (along with your driver’s license).
- Being over 25
One of the requirements for renting a car is being over 25 years old. It is possible for people under 25 to rent a car, but be aware that there will also be a substantial fee when doing so. In some states, such as New York and Michigan, people over 18 can legally rent a car, but again, it comes with a costly fee.