10 things to know about your vacation car rental

It’s time to plan your big vacation, which means thinking about your vacation car rental. The last thing you want to do is rack up mileage on your own car, at least that’s what Mr. Sunflower says to me before I start vacation plans! Or, perhaps, you need a larger car than what you’ve got. When we traveled with our daughter the first time, we needed a minivan, but only had a four door. We had to rent, and it worked out well. Maybe you’re headed abroad and have no vehicle of your own at your disposal.

vacation car rental

10 things to know about your vacation car rental

Renting a car can be a great experience when you do it the right way, and know what to expect.

1. Taxes & Airport Surcharges

Both taxes, as well as airport surcharges, vary from state to state, and country to country. Make sure you’re looking into the charges for your specific destination. While taxes probably can’t be avoided, you won’t need to worry about airport surcharges if you choose a non-airport rental office. It’s important to weigh the advantages, along with the disadvantages, of renting from a non-airport location. The biggest issue? How inconvenient would it be to rent from a non-airport rental office? If it’s not a huge problem, you can definitely save some dollars there.

2. Insurance

The key with insurance is to check if your current car insurance will cover a rental car. Many plans cover a rental car, especially if it’s a domestic rental. Another great tip: see if your credit card company will cover the rental car if you use their card to pay for it.

According to Pajcic & Pajcic, car accident attorneys in Jacksonville, crashes often lead to a person’s first run-in with their insurance company. To avoid any headaches that might be brought on by having to deal with insurance, keep your eyes on the road, and drive carefully.

3. Gasoline Charges

Some rental car companies will allow you to purchase a full tank of gas before renting the car, which means you can bring it back with whatever’s left in the tank. Your better option to save money: choose the option of bringing the car back with the same amount of gas it had when you rented it.

4. Drop-Off Charges

Whether the base rate increases, or an extra fee is charged, dropping the car off in a different location from where you rented it will raise the overall price of the rental.

5. Early Return Fees

Be careful of early return fees, especially if you originally purchased a weekly rental. If you decide to return the car early, you’ll be hit with the DAILY rental rate fees, which are often more expensive. You’ll need to consider the difference of daily rental prices, versus the weekly rate.

6. Cancellation Charges

If you pre-pay, but you don’t show up, the money should return to your account eventually. There’s an industry-standard fee of $50. However, keep in mind if you cancel a booking, the fee is usually around $10.

7. Mileage

While most major rental car companies allow unlimited mileage, it’s still a good idea to double-check before you leave the lot. No one wants to end up shocked, and surprised, with fees for going over an allotted amount of miles. It’ll ruin a great vacation.

8. Additional Drivers

Keep in mind that there’s normally a surcharge for additional drivers. Some larger companies will allow your spouse to drive for no additional charge.

9. Extras

Consider GPS navigation, car seats, or roof racks, for surfboards or luggage – these things will all be additional charges.

10. Plan Ahead

The best thing you can do? Book your rental in advance. The last place you want to be is stuck in line in a rental car office with nothing left that works for you. This could also mean ending up with something larger, or more extravagant, than what you needed. Larger, and more luxurious translates to paying higher prices. Avoid that nonsense!

About the Writer: Matt Rhoney is an avid reader on trending topics, and a writer in his spare time. He enjoys writing pieces on health, fitness, and wellness, but often writes about family, and safety. 

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By | 2023-12-26T16:25:39-05:00 July 27, 2016|Travel|2 Comments


  1. siaosi August 23, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    I would like to know all of the tips of renting the car before. I did not know that you usually have a mileage limit. I am surprised you can get hit with an early return fee.

  2. Megan Earl August 25, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    I’m going on a trip next month, and I think renting a car would be in my best interest. I like your tip about planning ahead. I definitely don’t want to try and rent a car a week before leaving, only to find out that there are none available. I also really like what you said about extras! I didn’t know that companies offered GPS navigation for an extra charge. I’ll have to look into that.

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