Save on your summer car hire
June half term and the Jubilee Bank Holiday were disappointingly wet and gloomy and, for many, the countdown is now on for a summer break for some much-needed sunshine.
And while booking a hire car might not be the most exciting item on your summer holiday to-do list, having your own wheels while away can really allow you to get to know your destination – whether you want to escape the crowds and find a secluded stretch of sand outside of the main tourist resorts, or to complement your beach break with a few days of local culture.
You’ll also have the ease of turning up to your resort airport with a car ready to collect, saving the hassle and expense of navigating public transport and taxis.
So, why not get organised and sort your summer hire car out now? Read our top tips below to help you save some valuable spending money.
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Don’t leave it until the last minute
Booking your hire car in advance will both save you money and ensure that you find the best vehicle for you. As the summer holidays are a peak time for travelling, hire cars are in high demand and, if you leave securing your vehicle until the last minute, you may be left with little or no choice of cars as demand outstrips supply.
Advance booking is always cheaper than turning up at the airport with crossed fingers. For example, if you are looking to hire a family car from Malaga Airport from July 21-July 28, Hertz’s pay-on-arrival price is £279.38. However, the cheapest family car on TravelSupermarket for the same dates is just £150.76 – that’s a saving of £128.62 for being organised.
And, if you are travelling to Alicante on July 28 and would like a mini economy car for two weeks, you would pay £390.37 based on Europcar’s pay-on-arrival price, whereas a quick search on TravelSupermarket found mini economy cars on the same dates from just £239.68 – again a significant saving of £150.69 for a few minutes of research.
Hertz is also starting to sell out of cars in its family collection for popular Spanish destinations during July and August – so if you have a clear idea about the car you want, start shopping around now.
Use a price-comparison site
With certain car types now not available and prices varying between different companies, shopping around using a price-comparison site such as TravelSupermarket will allow you to see quotes from the biggest providers in the same place – so you can book safe in the knowledge that the deal you have found is one of the most competitive out there.
Don’t assume that the smallest car is the cheapest
While you may be willing to squeeze all your family and luggage into a small car in the quest to save some valuable spending money, don’t assume the smallest car type (usually called a mini economy) will always be the cheapest. Take a look at a few options and note down the prices before you book as sometimes the next level up (usually called economy) can work out at the same price and even less in some cases.
What about car hire in the UK?
When on a staycation, it can be tempting to be a bit more relaxed and to sort out all of your extras, such as car hire, at the last minute. However, the price of UK car hire also goes up during peak holiday periods such as the summer months. And with events such as the Olympics taking place on our doorstep this year, it is even more important to book your hire car in advance to avoid wasting unnecessary money as car hire prices rocket.
Are there any other ways to make savings?
If you’ve found a hire car at a brilliant price, why not make further savings by shopping around for your car hire excess insurance? This is important to buy as it protects you from any excess charges should your hire car be damaged or stolen, but if you leave buying it until you turn up to pick up your hire car, you could end up paying over the odds.
Some car hire companies charge as much as £20 a day for this cover – depending on the location and the level of cover you opt for – but you can buy this in advance for as little as £2.99 a day. You can also turn up to your car hire desk safe in the knowledge that you can avoid any high-pressure sales pitches to take out the insurance on arrival – the last thing you need after a tiring flight.
Find out more about car hire excess insurance, read our handy tips and even secure your cover on TravelSupermarket’s car hire excess insurance page.
Please note: All prices were correct as of June 13, 2012.