If like one of millions of Brits you intend taking a foreign holiday this year, you have probably considered hiring a car. This can be daunting, especially when in a foreign country where they drive on the other side of the road. The media sometimes points to poor quality roads and vehicles, but this is only part of the picture.
What Are the Benefits of Getting a Hire Car?
The benefits can be immense, especially on a Spanish or Greek island where there are plenty of roads that see very little traffic. The main benefit is that a hire car will allow you some flexibility in where you go and when. Public transport can be problematic, especially if you are staying in a resort with poor connections. With a hire car, you can come and go as you please. A hire car also gives you the freedom to explore areas not served by public transport and places only served by excursions which will always come with additional (and unwanted) trips to operator-selected restaurants and shops on the route.
How to Choose the Hire Car
Choosing the company: Stick with the big names. It’s tempting to reduce your cost by going with a local, but larger companies keep their vehicles updated, clean and in good condition. They also update them regularly. You are much better off with a car that is no more than three years old than one that has been around the block more than once.
Choosing insurance: Hire car companies are on a mission to upsell you. Don’t buy insurance you do not need. It’s tempting to cover everything, especially when driving in a foreign country. The hire company will play on this; don’t let them pressure you into taking something more expensive. Fear is a powerful motivator.
Choosing the car: Choose a make and model with which you are comfortable. At the very least go for the same size or type of car you drive back home. If drivers at your holiday destination drive on the other side of the road, you will have enough to deal with without learning to handle an unfamiliar car.
Stick With What Feels Comfortable
Some areas in southern Spain and some of the Greek islands are a little underdeveloped outside of the main cities. These rural roads between towns and cities are perfect for practising and getting used to driving on the other side of the road, including traffic levels. Ideally, stick to these roads for driving. If you are going into a bigger town or city then use public transport. You may not be able to cope with a combination of an unfamiliar car, unfamiliar roads and lots of traffic. Your stress levels will thank you.
Obey the rules of the road including speed limits. The last thing you want is to spend your holiday money on a fine because you were driving too fast. Be sure to learn about the rules of driving in the country where you are holidaying and it should be stress-free.
Check the policy before you sign and understand your rights and obligations. Understand the meaning of what constitutes enough damage that they would charge you. Typically, anything larger than a 50p piece (for dents) or longer than about 4 inches (for a scratch) are chargeable.
If you are handed the car with a full tank of fuel, make sure you hand it back in that condition too. Hire car companies will not only charge you extra for the fuel to fill up, but they are also likely to charge you for the ‘labour’ of sending somebody out to refill the tank.
Make sure you examine the car before you drive it away. Point out any damage not noted on the condition report that they hand to you. If you don’t, they are within their rights to hold you responsible.
If you’re going to be taking your mobility scooter or powerchair with you on holiday, make sure there’s room in the boot of your hire car. The CareCo Airlite, with its advanced next-generation splitting mechanism, is a prime example of an easily transportable and convenient mobility scooter.