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How to get the best deal on a hire car

How to get the best deal on a hire car

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Here are a few tips on how to get the best deal on a hire car.

Hiring a car can be seriously useful. They can help you get around Spain on your summer holiday, make it possible to enjoy your dream American road trip or simply be a cost-efficient way to visit family in the Lake District.

With so many different cars available for hire, and a variety of providers, there’s a ton of choice out there and plenty of deals to be had – but how do you know if it’s the best deal for you?


Shop around

Grey VW with sign saying car returns pointing left

With a number of hire car providers on the market, there will inevitably be some that offer better deals than others.

While it may be easy to just book with the first company to come up in Google search, you could save plenty with some savvy shopping. Take advantage of the growing number of comparison sites that show the latest deals — and don’t be afraid to take that a step further and pick up the phone. Even the cheapest provider online may still be able to knock a few pounds off…


Book well in advance

Flip calendar displaying Friday 29th

Know you’re going to need a hire car for your holiday later in the year? Get it booked as soon as possible.

Providers will charge much more if you leave sorting a hire car until the last minute, as you’re left with few other options. Getting ahead of the game can not only save you pounds for simply booking well ahead of time, but it also gives you the flexibility to shop around for better deals.


Look at package deals

Side view of red car with signs and building behind it

A number of package holidays now offer hire cars in the deal, and it could well be cheaper to head down this route.

All-in-one deals may not just save you a few pennies on the car, and not to mention time, but also on hotels, flights and even trips within your break.


Consider your size needs

front view of a green Skoda with a river and boat behind it

Three of you heading on holiday? Then it may be best to avoid booking that seven-seat MPV.

Simple maths: the smaller and cheaper the car you opt for, the less it will cost you to hire. If you only need space for a few bags, then don’t be afraid to stick with that economy hatchback.


Limit your drivers

people sitting at a table talking with a blue car in centre shot

While adding more drivers to your car insurance can brings costs down, the opposite is true for a hire car.

Unless you absolutely need more than one or two drivers named on the hire car, it’s best to keep numbers low in order to keep the cost even lower.


Check the fuel policy

man fueling up his black car at the petrol station

Fuel is such a trivial thing with cars, it’s easy to forget about it — but with hire cars, you could end up paying over the odds if you’re not careful.

Although most providers offer ‘full-to-full’ policies which mean you get the car with a topped-up tank and will be expected to return it like that — so you’ll only pay for the fuel you use — there’s some with ‘full-to-empty’.

‘Full-to-empty’ policies mean you pay for a full tank of fuel upfront and can return it empty. Sounds ideal, but you’re likely to pay a premium on the regular cost of fuel and you may not even use all of it — leaving you out of pocket. We’d recommend opting for ‘full-to-full’ when possible.

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