Hiring a car on holiday gives you the freedom to truly explore your destination – yet renting one is often something that many of us dread, and finding good car hire deals can be harder than finding good flights. Make stressful car hire a thing of the past with our top ten tips.

1. Reserve Early

Waiting until the last minute to hire a car can cost you, rather than save you, money. Unlike hotels, waiting until 24-48 hours before pick-up to reserve a car can cost up to 30% more and leaves you with less choice, if any, in the type of car you receive.

2. Use Your Own Insurance 

Many car hire companies will try to sell you insurance, so you don’t have to pay in case of accidents or damage. However, these are inflated prices and can cost as much, if not more, than the car itself. Instead, check to see if you’re already covered, or take out a separate policy.

3. Look at Locations

Although not always possible, many car rental companies have multiple locations within an area. It’s typically cheaper to rent a car from somewhere off-site from the airport, and many of these offer handy free shuttle-bus services so you don’t get stranded. 

4. Make Use of Memberships

It’s often worth checking to see if any memberships you have offer you a discount on car hire – for example, AA members can receive a 15% discount, and some loyalty card brands have partnerships with hire companies.

5. Ask for an Upgrade

Once you arrive to pick up your hire car, it can be worthwhile to put a smile on and ask for an upgrade. While you may get one for free, don’t be afraid to haggle the price if it costs you – just make sure you know how much the upgraded car would have cost if booked outright ahead of time.

6. Choose Electric

Choosing an electric car to hire might help you save on fuel costs, emission charges, and the planet at the same time. If you can, it’s a win-win all around.

7. Amend Your Pick-up Time

The time at which you collect your hire car can make the rental cost considerably more affordable. Prices are typically higher at peak times of the day or just after a big flight lands – being flexible with your times could mean a huge saving. 

8. Don’t Pre-Pay for Fuel

Opt for companies that offer a “full-to-full” policy – where you pick the car up with a full tank and fill it up again before you return it. Fuel will be cheaper at the local petrol station than at the hire site – and this stops you getting charged extra for a full tank.

9. Go contactless

Some companies offer contactless or self-service pick-up, which is cheaper as they don’t have to pay someone to wait on you and quicker, as you don’t have to wait for them to be free. 

10. Don’t forget the little extras!

Other small tips to be aware of include making sure any existing damage is noted on the check-out form, taking pictures of the car inside and out before you leave, fully reading the terms and conditions before you book, and being aware of cancellation fees – especially if they’re strict.

Did you know you can find and compare car hire quick and easily through TravelHype.