How to Rent a Car for Travel

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Where to Search for Rental Cars, Key Rental Moments, Types of Car Insurance, and When You Need It, Why a Traveler Needs a Car.

In every country where I rent a car, there are always some small differences in rental conditions. There are international car rental search engines, and there are small local websites where rental conditions may be better, and the cars may be newer.

In our portfolio, we have experience renting cars in North America, Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa, on numerous large and small islands – more than a hundred episodes over many years of traveling.

How did we search for a rental car in the past? We spent a whole day or even several days searching for a car on numerous websites of different rental companies and brokers. We preferred large international rental companies. Sometimes we took cheap offers and regretted it. Often, we paid in advance with no possibility of canceling the reservation. At that time, renting a car was a luxury for us. We mostly overpaid due to a lack of rental experience.

Where to Rent a Car for Travel

Just like how we look for hotels. When we need accommodation, we visit Booking, RoomGuru, or Airbnb and choose accommodation according to our preferences.

To rent a car, there is a specific website called Rentalcars. Besides that, we also use LocalRent if we’re traveling to countries like Turkey, Cyprus, Albania, Montenegro, Georgia, or Thailand.

The working principle is the same as Booking.com. You can cancel the reservation, and you don’t need to make a full prepayment.

Go to the website’s main page. Select the country you’re going to and the location for the rental – airport or city. Specify the rental dates and times, and you’ll be directed to the search results page with available cars. Then, select a car in the desired category, from budget to business-class sedans, SUVs, or sports cars.

How much does it cost? Isn’t it expensive? Many will say and start looking for advice on forums to find a local cheap rental company.

I won’t discourage you. If you have enough experience renting a car, you can look among local rental companies or save on insurance. I do that sometimes, for example, in Morocco or on the islands of Croatia.

If you lack rental experience, don’t want to take risks, and prefer predictability in all aspects – from price to the car’s technical condition and cleanliness – it’s better to use reputable websites. It’s convenient, clear, and without any risk.

Sometimes we travel to a country or islands where we have no knowledge of local rental companies. In such cases, we do the same as with accommodation – we visit the Rentalcars website and book a suitable car. This way, we are confident that we won’t have to chase after managers and write angry letters to customer support.

How much does it cost?

Rentalcars features all major international car rental companies and local car rental leaders. In other words, if the rental company is listed on the Rentalcars or LocalRent website, you can trust it. This is a rule with no exceptions.

We’ve compared rental costs through Rentalcars and directly with companies like Herz or Budget. Booking through Rentalcars or LocalRent is cheaper, and it’s been verified.

You might find a cheaper car on websites of lesser-known small rental companies. However, the savings in this case will be much smaller than the risk of getting a low-quality car.

Is insurance necessary?

It is necessary if you are traveling to a country for the first time and simply don’t want to take risks. Usually, basic insurance is included in the rental price. Typically, it does not cover possible tire and glass damage. If you’re unsure or plan to drive off-road, take comprehensive insurance and travel with peace of mind.

When I started traveling, I always purchased full insurance. It allows you not to block funds for an insurance deposit and not to worry about any possible damage. Now I only include the most essential options in the insurance. Often, I stick with basic insurance, especially in the European Union or Turkey.

Usually, full insurance almost doubles the rental price.

What to do if you don’t speak the language of the country

You can book a car in any language – the website supports all major languages of the world.

When I rented a car in France, I didn’t understand a word of French.

At the airport, I handed the printed voucher to the rental company manager, signed the contract, and within 5 minutes, I was off traveling in Provence.

All these fears about not knowing languages are unfounded and have no real basis. Don’t think about languages at all; there won’t be any problems. The key points of the contract are understandable, and you don’t need to translate the numbers in the total cost field. Just compare them with what’s indicated in the voucher, and you’re good to go.

Insurance deposit

Not the most pleasant moment when several hundred euros or US dollars are blocked on your card.

An insurance deposit is a guarantee that in case of damage to the car not covered by insurance, the rental company will receive compensation for the damage. The insurance deposit is also needed to cover the cost of fuel if you return the car without a full tank, as required by the rental conditions.

Don’t be afraid of it; with our frequency of renting a car in different countries, including Thailand, Morocco, Georgia, Turkey, or the USA, we’ve never had any problems getting the deposit back. Just be attentive on the road and when returning the car, make sure to monitor the fuel level.

How to Choose a Car for Travel

My main rule is that I never choose the cheapest car from the list. However, I also skip expensive cars. When selecting a car, I focus on my needs, preferring to have a moderate level of power and comfort. I opt for gasoline engines and fuel-efficient vehicles.

In all other aspects, I base my decision on:

  • The number of people and luggage. The more people in the car, the larger it should be. • Road conditions and the planned route. If we’re going into the mountains, we choose something more powerful, but for light off-roading, we opt for a jeep or SUV. • The duration of the trip. If it’s just a few days, a budget option, but not the cheapest, will suffice. If we’re going for a week or longer, we go for a comfortable sedan slightly above the usual class.

Why Use a Car for Travel

Having a car for leisure and travel means freedom of movement and safety. There’s no need for public transport or interactions with other people. This is always important to us.

Besides everything else, don’t forget that the most interesting places are often far from bus and train routes. There are currently no alternatives to a car for leisure and exploring new countries.

Where I Book Cars for Travel

We use several websites to search for and book cars. I’ve written extensively about this in articles about the countries we visit.

We use the Rentalcars and LocalRent websites, depending on the country.

Where to Buy Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is not always required at the border when entering a country. However, this is not a reason to risk your comfort, time, and money. It’s been verified through personal experience.

We buy insurance online from Hotline Finance UA – they have the best insurance and assistance services for travelers.

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