Hiring a car at the airport

Hiring a car while on holiday is a great way to get out and explore a new area on your own terms.

A rental car not only gives you the freedom to visit places when you want, but it also gives you the ability to discover out of the way beaches and tiny mountain villages that you could get to no other way.

While one car hire firm seems as about as good as the next, the truth is they are very similar to airlines in the way that they operate. Booking early is generally the best way to get the cheapest price as is visiting holiday destinations out of season.

Taking Spain’s Costa del Sol as an example, there is a huge demand for rental cars during July and August yet if you were to fly into Malaga in March you could pick up a rental car for nearly half what you would pay
during the summer.

Also, remember that airport rental car companies are all competing against each other for your business and often run special promotions so
be sure and shop around for the best deals.

Renting a car from an off-site airport lot

Unlike Hertz and Avis, local car hire companies may not have the same fleet size or budget. However, in order to compete they set up their
offices near the airport and around the airport’s perimeter. While they can afford to offer cheaper rates than companies with desks at the
airport, extra time may be needed to get to and from their lots in an airport shuttle bus.

Insurance cover

Every car rented in the European Union needs to be covered with a minimum of third party liability insurance. Often this is included in the
price of the rental, but double check to be certain. You may also want to take out additional insurance for damage to the vehicle you are renting
that covers you for vandalism, theft of contents and legal assistance.
Make sure you know exactly what your insurance covers by reading the terms of your contract before leaving the airport.

Adding a driver

Generally speaking, the person who hires the car is the only one covered to drive it. If you plan on sharing the driving with a partner, friend or other family members you will need to state this at the airport so that the rental company can put the additional drivers on the policy and make a copy of their licence.
Most car rental companies will not allow drivers under the age of 25 to rent cars. Those that do, charge a hefty surcharge to their normal rates.

Fuel Policy

Airport hire car fuel policies vary from one country to the next, but generally, the two most common fuel policies are these:
Full-to-Empty – A full tank of fuel is included in the rental price of the car. The idea here is to bring it back as close to empty as you can.
Full-to-Full– You are given the car with a full tank of fuel and you must return the car to the airport with a full tank of fuel. With this policy be sure and fill up at a petrol station located as close to the airport as possible. If you return the car and the tank is only partially full, the rental company will charge you not only for the petrol but for having to fill it up as well.

Add-Ons
Satnavs

Do not pay extra money for a satnav in the car you are hiring. Instead, download Google Maps for free on your smartphone.

Children’s seats

Bring your own child seat from home. Car rental companies charge as much as £75 for a child seat while Ryanair only charges £20 for you to
take a child safety seat with you on holiday.

Shop Around

Do your due diligence and shop around for the best deals. Don’t just visit car hire websites, but holiday sites as well. Brokers often have deals that
are cheaper than booking directly with the car hire firm.