Car hire is a relatively cheap option if you are planning a trip abroad for more then a week, with all the convenience of being able to pick it up when you touch down then drop off your vehicle walk to your plane upon your return. Other then possible traffic jams, you can schedule the time of arrival and departure yourself, which gives you a greater level of convenience then you would get if you'd take the bus, train or even a taxi.
The reality is often different - if you’ve just got off a plane after a long flight, the last thing you’ll be wanting to do is go through the lines, paperwork etc. of picking up your hire car. In many cases, especially if you are travelling with young children, it is often easier to get to your hotel and wait until the following day to pick up your car. That is something vehicle rental firms have finally come to understand, which is why they now offer a far more streamlined service.
But things can still go wrong when hiring a car. Which? claims that one in six people experiences difficulties with the vehicle or the rental company. It is not unknown for holidaymakers to be told that there is no record of their booking, so ensure you have printed out all the paperwork. Also be very wary of arriving at smaller airports or offices late at night or on weekends as it is not unheard of to find the car rental desk closed on quieter days.
Other complaints have involved having to pay to waive an outrageously high insurance excess or to cover a ‘hidden’ cost such as pollution tax, airport tax, drivers under 25 or returning the car to a different location from the one where you collected it. Fiddly details such as these and local taxes are usually now dealt with when you book your car as part of your holiday arrangements, but ensure you check this and, if in any doubt, ask the question directly either over the phone or through the website prior to your holiday.
According to the AA, other common problems you are likely to encounter include being given a different model to the one booked or even being given a vehicle that wouldn’t pass any reasonable roadworthiness certification.
Children and Hire Cars
Before booking a car if you have young children, ensure that the company can mount a child seat. Some do charge for this, so ensure you have added this into the costs for comparison. Also, if your child is very young, do make sure to tell them whether you need a front or rear-facing seat.