We are starting our third period of car rental. This one is 34 days from Portland down to Los Angeles.
So here are a few thoughts on the booking process..
- The online sites allow you to easily do price comparisons – for all our bookings we looked at Hertz, National, Avis, Thrifty and Budget
- It’s incredible how prices will vary – but not just between competitors, also one moment-to-next from the same company (in Canada the same quote from Avis went up and down by nearly $2000 within one hour)
- Get online quotes from various devices – the rental companies are using cookies to monitor what quotes you’ve already had
- Consider the value of Collision Damage Waiver and note this is sometimes included as standard but often not. Also sometimes there is an excess to be paid.
- Whilst you pay a big surcharge for A to B trips this is often the best way to maximise the enjoyment of the rental.
- In the USA, check the small print to be certain you can cross state boundaries. We were about to pay for one quote when we realised the policy excluded going beyond the neighbouring state.
- To record the condition the car was in before it was handed over, take photos straight after you are given the keys.
- Don’t be afraid to ask instructions before you set off. Many US cars have features we didn’t know about. Just getting a petrol re-fill can be complicated!
- Make an effort to memorise the number plate. We’ve tried to get into someone else’s car, convinced it was ours… and also motels want to know it
This is one of our occasional tips for middle aged gap year travellers. To see the others, click below on the link – Travel Tips