Why you should book car rentals in advance
Booking in advance saves you money and guarantees a better choice.
The ability to plan ahead is a very useful skill to have, particularly when it comes to organising a rental car for your next holiday. If you book a car hire in advance rather than leaving it until the last minute, you can not only save money but also enjoy many other advantages.
Here are the top five reasons why you should always book your car rentals in advance.
1. You save money
The major advantage of pre-booking your hire car in advance is that it allows you to access cheaper car rentals. There’s a common misconception that you’ll be able to snap up a last-minute bargain and save heaps by simply showing up to the car rental counter when your plane lands, but this simply isn’t the case.
As a general rule, the earlier you book, the cheaper your hire car will be. It’s all about supply and demand – if there are plenty of rental cars available for a specific date and you book early, then you can find a better deal. Discounts of 10% or even 15% are not uncommon on pre-bookings, which can make a substantial difference to the total cost of your holiday.
The main aim for car hire companies is to lock in as many rentals as possible, so offering discounts and deals to customers who book early is a simple way to keep revenue coming in.
2. You can get the car you want
When you rock up at the car rental counter and try to hire a vehicle at the last minute, your choice is limited. And if you’re travelling during peak periods such as holidays or weekends, you may even find that the rental company is fully booked and you’ll end up stranded.
It’s a different story when you rent a car in advance. If you pre-book a hire car months before your planned travel dates, you’ll usually be able to pick from the rental company’s full range of vehicles. Not only does this allow you to choose the perfect car for your holiday – a people mover that can fit the whole family in comfort, for example – it also guarantees that you won’t miss out altogether.
3. You can compare your options
When you’re caught up in the stressful rush to book a rental car at the last minute, there’s no time to shop around for the best deal. Instead, it’s merely a matter of locking in something – anything – before it’s too late.
But when you book in advance, you’ve got plenty of time to compare car rental options and prices at your leisure. It’s quick and easy to weigh up your options using an online comparison engine, allowing you to browse a wide selection of vehicles, choose the one you want and find the best price available.
4. You can change your mind
Making a car rental reservation in advance usually won’t cost you any money. In most cases, it’s free to reserve a car online, and the company won’t actually charge any funds to your credit card until you actually pick up the car in person.
This is very handy for savvy shoppers who want to hunt around for the best deal. For example, you could find a great car rental rate while comparing your options and make a reservation to lock it in. However, if you do another comparison a couple of days later and happen to find a better deal, you then have the option to cancel the first reservation without incurring any fees. But if a better deal doesn’t become available, you can still fall back on the original reservation.
Of course, this also means you don’t have to stress about the cost of cancelling your booking if your travel plans change. While cancellation fees may apply if you cancel your reservation close to the scheduled pickup time, such as in the final 24 or 48 hours, many car rental companies won’t charge you for cancellations that occur well in advance of your planned travel time.
5. It’s one less thing to worry about
Regardless of whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, anything you can do to take some of the stress out of travel can only be a good thing. Holidays are meant to be relaxing, stress-free experiences, so why would you want the hassle of trying to find an affordable rental car at the last minute?
Not only can this be a frantic and unpleasant experience, it’ll also cost you money. There’s even the risk that you don’t properly review the rental agreement or check the car for existing damage and instead just focus on signing on the dotted line and getting out of the airport as quickly as possible.
Pre-booking a rental car in advance means your holiday will get off to a smooth start. You can board your flight knowing that the car you want will be ready and waiting with a full tank of petrol as soon as you land, leaving you free to simply relax and enjoy your holiday.
Hiring a car? Car rental excess insurance is your saving gracePicture: Shutterstock
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