(TFC) – Recently, you began planning the vacation of a lifetime. You’ve already booked a hotel in a gorgeous, exciting location. You’ve even purchased a shiny new set of luggage. If you can relate to this scenario, renting the right car for your travels might be near the top of your to-do list. To help you accomplish this important task, stick to the following tips.
Determine a Budget
The prices of rental cars vary depending on make, model, and size as well as how long you need the car. Economy cars are generally the cheapest options, while the luxury cars are far more expensive. Before shopping for a rental vehicle, determine your budget. This will help you know exactly what type of car you should be looking for, and you’ll be less likely to overspend on a whim at the rental lot.
Know What Size of Vehicle You Need
Are you traveling alone? Perhaps you’re taking a trip with five of your closest friends, your elderly parents, or your spouse and four kids. You need a car that will fit all of the passengers, along with the luggage those passengers are taking. If you’re on your own, renting a tiny sports car is a possibility, but if you’re driving yourself and five or six others, a minivan or SUV is going to be your best option.
Understand the Terrain You’ll Be Traveling
What kind of roads do you plan on traveling? You’ll need a different car for freeway or city driving than you will for traveling dirt backroads in the middle of nowhere. Figure out where you plan on driving your car to and start there for the type of car you’ll need. If you don’t understand that terrain, you could end up with a large rock taking out half of the undercarriage on your minivan, where if you’d been in a higher clearance SUV, you would’ve been fine.
Select Something within Your Comfort Zone
If the last time you drove a car with a manual transmission was a dumper back in your freshman year of high school, renting one for a road trip isn’t the best idea. Rent a car you’re already comfortable driving. You want a car you basically know. You might have to get familiar with the extras or the exact feel—like turning on the lights or the windshield wipers—but you need to be comfortable driving it at all times. After all, you don’t want to be in a car you’re not familiar with or comfortable driving when you see a semi truck jackknife 300 feet in front of you. The more comfortable you are, the less likely you will be to get into an accident.
Are you a chronic procrastinator? If you want to make sure you get the type of car you need at the price you want, book in advance. Waiting until the day of means that you’re limited to what the rental agency has on hand right then, whereas if you’d booked 3 weeks prior, you might’ve had the option of their entire lot. Not only that, but car rentals cost more when you wait until the day of rather than booking well in advance. Don’t procrastinate the car booking if you need something specific. Book it as soon as you know.
For many people, traveling is one of the most enjoyable activities on the planet. Don’t let the stress of renting a car put a damper on your fun. Follow these tips, and you’re sure to get the right car you need for your upcoming trip.