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11 Common Car Rental Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

If you’re looking to go on the road trip of a lifetime, you don’t want to be stuck with a really expensive rental car, excess fees, or worse, be turned away at the rental desk. So Skyscanner New Zealand has knocked up a list of common car rental mistakes travellers make when renting a car, and how to avoid them. Read on for our top tips on how to have a hassle free car holiday.

So what are the most common car rental mistakes?

  1. Not checking that your license is valid
  2. Not checking international license restrictions
  3. Not having a credit card
  4. Not being at least 25
  5. Paying double for insurance
  6. Forgetting to refill your tank
  7. Not running a car rental price comparison
  8. Paying for GPS
  9. Driving over borders
  10. Not inspecting your rental car
  11. Not checking international car rental laws

1. Not checking that your license is valid

This may seem like obvious advice, but you’d be surprised how many people make this simple car rental mistake. Don’t forget to double check that your license is valid before you make a car rental booking. 

2. Not checking international license restrictions

Whilst Kiwi licences are accepted in most countries, there are often restrictions when renting a car abroad. For example, many countries, like the USA and Canada, require that you have an International Driving Permit, along with your license.

In nations where English isn’t the national language, you might also need to get your license translated. Check with the local driving authority of the country you’re planning to visit to make sure you don’t fall into this easy car rental mistake.

3. Not having a credit card

Some countries will refuse to rent a car to you if you don’t have a credit card, such as car rental companies in the UK. So it’s advisable if you’re planning to rent a car on holiday that you bring your credit card with you.

4. Not being at least 25

This isn’t always the case, but generally rental car companies don’t rent to drivers that are under the age of 25. If you fall into this category, you must check that you’re still eligible to rent a car from the company you’ve chosen, and if you are eligible, make sure you ask if they charge any excess fees.

5. Paying double for car rental insurance

When renting a car, we strongly recommend that you buy car rental insurance, but this doesn’t always have to mean that your budget is attacked by a big insurance-shaped hole. Check with your credit card, banking, and auto-insurance providers to see if you’re already covered for car rental insurance. Please be aware though, if you don’t book insurance through your car rental agency, you may have to pay for any damage up front until your insurance comes through from the other sources.  Check the small print on everything.

6. Forgetting to refill your tank

Refilling your tank when you return the car is paramount if you don’t want a hefty excess charge whacked on your bill at the last minute. Drive by a petrol station before you drop it off and save yourself the hassle of an extra fee.

7. Not running a car rental price comparison

Running a quick price comparison can save you a lot of cash. Use Skyscanner New Zealand’s car rental search tools, and amend your search by a variety of filters, including car class, and transmission. Don’t make the common car rental mistake of paying out hand-over-fist when you can get a cheap car deal.

8. Paying for GPS

We love GPS, but you can buy a local SIM card when you’re abroad and use your smart phone instead. This will save you paying out an expensive daily rate. If you prefer to drive with a GPS-specific device, then you can also buy your own – they’re a lot cheaper than they used to be – and then you’ll have it handy for cruising in your car back home.

9. Driving over borders

This may seem strange to Kiwis, but if you’re driving in Europe this is actually something that can happen to you! What makes this a common car rental mistake, is that driving across a border can nullify your car rental insurance, so if you want to do something like a trans European trip, you should make sure you’re covered in multiple countries.

10. Not inspecting your rental car

As soon as you get your car rental, go out with the agent and inspect the car with them. You don’t want to be held responsible for damage you didn’t inflict, so keep your eyes peeled and point out anything you think needs to be noted.

11. Not checking international car rental laws

Each country has different driving practices, so read up on what they are and make sure you’re comfortable with the rules before you book your car rental. Go to the New Zealand Transport Agency website for advice on driving in foreign countries, and just make sure you know which side of the road you’re going to be driving on!

Once you’ve done your research and you’re ready to go, you can compare and book cheap rental cars with Skyscanner New Zealand. What are you waiting for? The open road awaits!

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