When it comes to renting cars as a means for transportation for trips and vacations, many travelers are turned off by those rates they end up paying at the rental counter.
From fuel costs to insurance, hiring a car is not always budget friendly.
However, after renting a car for a month in Ireland, I have learned the benefits of renting a car and a few ways to make it more affordable.
Here are just a few aspects to car rentals to consider that might make renting a car on your next trip worthwhile.
Your time is money—If you are on a tight travel schedule with limited vacation days, renting a car can be the best option in order to get the most for your travel time. I feel better renting a car when I know I will be able to have that freedom to get up and go anytime I want, without having to wait around for the afternoon train or bus. Sometimes it is worth your time to spend a little extra if you want to get the most out of your vacation days.
Don’t buy insurance at the counter—Travelers are often reluctant to rent a car, as the insurance sold at the counter is as much as the car if not more. Don’t buy the car rental company’s insurance they offer you. It is a huge rip off, especially when there are companies who insure your rental for pocket-change compared to the car rental company’s insurance. Do some searching online for companies that specialize in car rental insurance. Also, check with your credit card company to see if they cover car rental insurance. Many do so you are already covered if you use your card.
Don’t show up at the airport or car rental desk without reservations—Rates quoted at the airport or car rental location are often double if not triple what they would be if you booked online before your trip. While the thought of having that freedom to decide after touchdown if you want a rental car may sound appealing, it will cost you. Use third party booking agents online to find the best deal before you take off on that big adventure.
Bring a friend to split costs—While I have been traveling by myself, if you have a friend to bring along, the costs of renting a car are often much cheaper than the two of you buying train tickets and separate bus passes. If you can split gas costs and even pitch in for the cost of the rental, going by car can be more affordable than by other means.
You see so much more—The price of renting a car comes down to how much do you want to see. With a rental car, you without question end up seeing things off the beaten path for you can control if you want to stop here or there. You can turn off for the wacky and strange attractions you might miss on a train, plane, boat or bus. Not to say you should only travel by car, but renting a car does allow you to cover a lot of ground.
Consider where you are going—If you are headed to explore one country or one region, a car can give you the mobility to see it all. However, if you are just sticking in the city, public transportation should suffice. Part of making a rental car worth it is only utilizing the option when it will give you the most for the place you are in, the time you have, the budget you are working with and what you are looking to accomplish.