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Guide to Car Hire Abroad For First-Timers

By David John Martin

Although the recession and weak pound is causing many UK holidaymakers to think twice about a voyage to the Eurozone, it is fair to say that many European resorts will still be bustling with Brits-Abroad in August. For many destinations that are further than a ferry ride away, hiring a car seems like the easiest way to get around. However, since recent reports carried out by the AA much has been written about problems faced when hiring cars in some areas recently. So here is a short guide to car hire if it is your first time.

Do you really need it? It might seem obvious but the first thing you need to consider is whether you will truly need your own vehicle at your destination. However, if you decide that you do, it is likely that you will also be given the option regarding whether you wish to return your vehicle refuelled or not. This will likely depend on how much driving you need to do, and I have had experience of a car hire company giving me misleading information about distances and prospective petrol use - and then returning the vehicle with a near-full tank. Check distances you are likely to travel as well as possible public transport links before hiring.

Credit Cards Although credit cards may have a bad reputation at the moment, it is usually essential to have one in order to hire a car abroad. This is typical of well-established car hire companies due to the added security and the ease to be able to clarify the credit record of prospective customers. As opposed to traditional credit cards, more people are opting for interest-free balance transfer cards which are convenient for individuals who have trouble paying off their balance at the end of the month. Comparison websites are also helping an increasing number of people to choose what type of credit card is right for them.

Other Charges Be aware of extra charges that might be issued when you return you car. The AA cites that extra fuel, second driver expenses, and overly priced child seats have all been reported by customers who have not been aware that they were to be charged for such items at the outset. Essentially, be sure to read the small print and to enquire about any extra items before you order your vehicle. Carrentals.co.uk suggest that the bigger, more reputable firm you choose, the easier it will be to avoid such confusion.

Safety In addition to hidden charges, research by the AA also found that a large amount of cars hired are not certified as roadworthy. For example, in Santorini, Greece, a Nissan Micra was found to have badly damaged front tyres and a rear wheel missing a nut, whilst a vehicle in Turkey was leaking oil. Again, paying by credit card and booking beforehand with a reputable company is the most sensible option.

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