Hiring a car for your trip can seem like a daunting proposition with tales of rental companies charging for damage that you didn’t do, fuel you didn’t use, and miles you didn’t drive. Then there’s the almost bewildering array of cars you can choose for your rental.
- the exterior of the car for minor damage, dents and scratches. Concentrate on the most likely areas; doors and bumpers.
- the interior of the car for tears and stains; don’t forget this includes the boot.
- that brakes, headlights and indicators are functioning properly.
- that windscreen wipers, electric windows, doors and latches, radio and heating are operating correctly.
- the tyre pressures (at the nearest garage), oil and water levels are appropriate.
- that the fuel tank is full if your contract specified it should be.
- that you have the car’s manual with you.
If you find any faults that are not already highlighted on the rental paperwork, report them back to the rental company, preferably before driving away. Should this not be possible, photograph the damage (this is where mobile phones with cameras can come in really handy) so that you’ve at least got a record of it.
Once you’re happy with the car just double check all the paperwork. Make sure the registration plate matches the vehicle and that you’ve got contact numbers in the case of a breakdown or accident.
If you’re renting a car for while you’re on holiday chances are you’ll be driving in a foreign country. When taking a hire car abroad there are several things that you need to consider including the differences in driving conditions, speed limits, local laws, and more, so it’s best to be prepared before you go.
One of the biggest differences between countries is which side of the road to drive on. If you’re British and have driven in Spain for example, you’ll know that this can be a bit of a culture shock compared to what you’re used to.
Whatever the case, make sure you’re familiar with the basic road signs, any legal requirements of driving in a different country (in some countries carrying things like warning triangles is a legal requirement so make sure your hire car has one if required).
Also remember that signs in different countries can mean different things. For instance a circle with 50 in it means a fifty mile per hour speed limit whereas in France a very similar looking sign means a fifty kilometre speed limit.
If you’re travelling in a new country with all these different conditions to keep you busy it’s a good idea to plan your route in advance and have a good map reader as your front sear passenger. The last thing you need to do with all these new conditions to worry about, is start looking at a map at the same time.
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