Renting a car in a foreign country for the first time can be very confusing. What do you need? How do you get the best deal? Do you rent on your own or use a package deal? I have a few tricks for you to keep in mind.
1) Do your homework. You need to check all your options when you are traveling. You want to get the best deal but you also want a vehicle that will fit your needs. A cheap small car probably won’t work for a family of 4 with luggage for a week.
2) Always pre-pay in your local currency when possible. It will keep you from paying foreign transaction fees and you will probably pay less than the conversion rate.
3) Try to pick up your vehicle away from airports. This is especially easy in large cities with great public transportation (London, Paris, Rome, Dublin, New York, etc). It’s simple supply and demand- more people pick up cars at airports, therefore the rates can be higher.
4) In a foreign country buy the CDW (collision damage waiver). Your auto insurance won’t cover an accident and CDWs are relatively cheap.
5) Let a car hire company search the best rates for you. And then search for yourself. Use any discounts you may have (credit cards, AAA, etc.).
6) Know how to drive a manual transmission. You will most likely pay more for an automatic.