Renting a car may seem as natural and common as breathing air in our daily lives, but are you aware of when and how this business took off? The earliest case dated back to 1904, when a bicycle shop devoted a line of advertisements to offer rental cars. In 1912, the global rental brand, Sixt, was born and featured three rental cars.
After World War II, the rental business began to flourish, resulting in the development of international brands such as National Car Rental (1947), Europcar (1949), Enterprise Rent-A-Car (1957), and Budget Rent-A-Car (1958).
How to Rent a Car?
Renting a car can be simply done through a rental desk or an online booking. Due to the popularity of tourism, travelers often prefer to submit bookings online through various price comparison websites in order to obtain the most cost-effective package. A standard rental booking mechanism begins with price research, known as “obtaining a quote”.
Step 1: Compare.
First, you must enter the desired pickup and drop-off locations, dates, and time on the rental website(s) and choose the preferred payment method from “Pay Now” (pay all the agreed initial costs and fees in advance prior to pick up), “Pay Partial” (pay a portion of the total cost, and pay the rest at the rental counter when the car is picked up), or “Pay at Pickup” (Pay all costs and fees at the rental counter when the car is picked up). “Pay at Pickup” appears to have the most flexibility since it avoids the hassle of cancellation fees, however, it is often slightly more expensive.
Step 2: Choose your package.
Once price comparison and insurance coverage of the given options are completed, you may choose the preferred insurance package.
Step 3: Book your desired rental offer.
Once the rental package is chosen, you will proceed to the checkout page to fill out the essential information, such as the name of the Main Driver, credit card information, and email address.
Step 4: “Pay”.
After the completion of previous sections, the payment step follows, but if the “Paid at Pickup” option is chosen, this step is skipped. This step informs if the booking is immediately or in process of being confirmed. If the inventory data is transferred directly from rental companies, the transaction can be confirmed immediately.
Step 5: Wait for the order confirmation and prepare your credentials.
A voucher will be provided upon confirmation. Other credentials you must need to print and bring along are:
1)your valid domestic driver’s license.
2) a valid credit card in the name of the Main Driver.
3) a form of ID.
If you plan to rent a car in a Latin-speaking country with a domestic driver’s license that is printed in the non-Roman Alphabet (for example, Arabic, Japanese, or Cyrillic), an international driving permit/ license (IDP/IDL) or an official English translation of the domestic license is required. It is important to note that although the license is referred to as an IDP/IDL, it does not replace the requirement for the original domestic driver’s license.
Step 6: Pick up your rental car.
While picking up the rental car, there are two important things to be aware of. First, the fuel policy, insurance and liability waiver detailed on the rental agreement, and secondly, a deposit that is temporarily blocked on the Main Driver’s credit card and held for the duration of the rental (known as “Pre-authorization”).
Step 7: Return your rental vehicle and sort out the payment.
At the end of the rental agreement, you may return the car and pay any outstanding services charges incurred during that period.
Why is a Deposit and Credit Card Required?
You should understand the purpose of a deposit. First, a typical deposit may cover gasoline fees and a range of contingent damages that may have incurred on the car during a rental. Secondly, given a scenario that the rental company has to deal with a traffic violation case, the administration costs or any other costs related to the situation may be charged directly to the client’s credit card.
However, deposits often vary depending on the car type, rental location, and rental company. In regards to the “Pay at Pickup” or “Pay Partial” car rentals, deposits may appear more expensive than the “Paid Now” option since a portion of your rental fee is included.
What if You Want to Return the Car Earlier?
You may return the car earlier than your due time or date, however, you must notify the rental company in advance for an approved early return. Generally, the rental company will not refund any unused days if “Pay Now” or “Pay Partial” rental options are used, whereas, the “Pay at Pickup” option charges the number of days in which the car is physically rented out. Regardless of the payment option, rental companies are likely to charge an early return fee as well.
Things about Cross-Country or Cross-region Car Rental
Different countries and regions such as states or provinces have policies that may vary. The majority of rental companies permit cross-country travel, such as driving from the USA to Canada and vice versa, or from one region of the same country to another.
In fact, driving a rental car across regions or countries requires extra care. One example is the Cook Strait, which is a 30km body of water that separates the North and South islands of New Zealand. As a result, you will have to book the inter-island ferry to cross as foot passengers.
You should always remember to inform the car rental site(s) online and during the pick-up, otherwise, the insurance coverage may be invalid when entering the adjacent country or region.
To prevent any confusion or issues, it is also recommended to read through the Terms and Conditions of the rental company for the detailed instructions during online booking.
Can You Rent a Car for Someone Else?
If a car is hired solely for a party where neither the Main Driver nor the additional driver is present to operate the car, then the answer is ‘No’.
The one who pays the rental fee and signs the rental contract is the Main Driver. You are free to add your family, friends or anyone else as the “additional driver”, but their presence and driving credentials are required the same time as the Main Driver at the rental counter during the pick-up. Rental packages in the USA normally covers one additional driver while Australia and New Zealand require a small fee.
How to Rent a car at the Best Price?
It has been an on-going debate in regards to the best time to rent a car. Generally, we see the rentals more affordable when bookings are completed as early as possible. For example, it is cost-efficient to book at least 3 months in advance, but despite this fact, there is no guarantee of a specific length of time in which reservation should be made prior to the pick-up to obtain the best deal. In other words, rental price for a particular date, time, pick-up and drop-off location vary in real time without a pattern.
EasyRentCars has launched a unique but free of charge program, known as Price Drop Protector. It is capable of automatically re-booking your rental or notifying you with an email alert as soon as the system detects a lower price rental based on the same itinerary, car type, insurance package and rental company as your previous booking. Once the new booking is confirmed, the system will cancel the old booking automatically. In addition, it is also important to note that the Price Drop Protector application will cease operations 24 hours prior to the free cancellation date to avoid cancellation fees.
With this program, EasyRentCars offers you the freedom to book whenever you feel is best, without having to worry about price fluctuations. Anytime is a good time!
How to Choose A Rental Company?
The rental brands can be classified into three main groups, which are premium, intermediate, and low-cost or budget companies.
Premium brands such as Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Sixt, and Enterprise, generally list prices slightly above the average. They hold an advantage in location and customer satisfaction with rental counters that are in almost all major airports worldwide.
Intermediate companies include Budget, Thrifty, Dollar, Alamo, and National. These companies also maintain a high level of service and customer satisfaction, with abundant accessibility but are slightly cheaper than the premium brands.
Low-cost or budget brands attempt to appeal toward those who are price-sensitive customers. For this reason, they are inclined to be located in tourist destinations, with smaller coverage in comparison. Overall, the services they offer may or may not meet the standards of the other groups, but for the price, they are excellent choices for budget travel.