Recently, the procedure of returning cars has come to resemble checking out of a hotel, where you leave your keycard on the night table and head out the lobby door with only a wave to the front desk. Car rental returns have taken on a similar feel; as often as not, you follow signs to the back of a row of recently returned cars, take out your stuff, leave the key in the car and walk away without speaking to anyone directly.
If it feels unsettling just to leave the car without an agent checking it over, it should; the most serious complaints about car rental companies in recent months have been disputes over damage claims. If no attendant is present at dropoff (and sometimes when there is), the dispute later becomes your word against theirs.
Check weekly rates – even if you only need the car for a few days.
It may seem paradoxical, but it can be cheaper to rent a car for longer.
That’s because the majority of people who rent a car for just a couple of days at a time are business travelers, who are less cost-conscious because their offices are paying or the trip is last minute and urgent.
Conversely, many week-long renters are trying to save, since they tend to be leisure travelers. Because of that, the weekly rate is often cheaper than the rate for just three or four days.
Always make sure to compare – you may be able to save by reserving the car for longer than you need. Extra info about rent a car in Cuba
Don’t Get a GPS
Car rental companies absolutely love it when you add a GPS onto your rental for an extra $10-$15 a day. Avoid this charge by using your smartphone for navigation. We download offline maps of whole countries to Google Maps. This gives us turn by turn direction even when we don’t have WiFi or data signal. Make sure to pick up a phone cradle for the drive that way you have distraction-free driving.
We’ve also used Maps.me to get us across, Africa. Back in the day before smartphones I even bought a new GPS for a two-week car rental in Australia, which turned out to be cheaper than what the rental company was going to charge.
Read the fine print for tax and fee information.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been seduced by a price tag online, only to be shocked at checkout at the amount of hidden taxes and fees that factor into my total. Just because a rental site advertises a car at $15/day doesn’t mean that’s all you’ll be paying.
Rent outside the airport.
If you’re flying in, the easiest place to rent a car is at the airport, but just know you’re likely paying 10 or 30 percent more for the convenience. Airport car rental kiosks often charge an airport concession fee, so it could be worth your while to take a taxi or public transit into town and rent a car from there. More details on rent a car in Cyprus
When you book your rental car, the deal will come with a specific fuel policy. For example, the most common is ‘Full to Full’, which means you refill the tank before you take the car back. Another is ‘Full to Empty’, which means you pay for a tank of fuel at the counter and can return your car as empty as you like.
When you arrive to pick up your car, the rental counter staff may offer you a different fuel policy. If you’re booking your car on the spot, you’ll be offered different fuel policies to choose from.
Tips for avoiding fuel policy trickery
Fuel policies each have their pros and cons, but in general, Full to Full is a fair policy. So if you have that, there may not be any benefit to changing it.
If you booked online, check your car’s fuel policy before you get to the counter. That way you’ll be confident whether or not it’s right for you.