Having your own car to drive while on vacation might be one of the most convenient way to enjoy independence. You can go to destinations you want, you can avoid the crowd, and you can travel the roads less taken, or just stop whenever you want to stop.

Renting a car while overseas though is not always that easy. There will be the confusing contracts, fine prints to deal with, unfamiliar speed bumps, and other hassles you do not want to encounter during your holiday. Here are some car rental tips to make the process easy as a breeze or at least give you that confident boost if it is your first time to rent a car abroad:

Book ahead of time

Ideally, you need to book your car rental about a week or two before your international trip. Most likely it will be cheaper compared to the walk-in rates plus you can also discuss other things like age requirements, kind of vehicle you need, exchange rates, and have enough time to scrutinize the fine print.

In case you booked the rental a few months ahead of your holiday, make sure to call and check if there are no glitches with the pick up or reservations you made. You can also check the rates and negotiate a deal if it dramatically dropped a few days before your trip.

Local fuel prices

The fuel prices differ from one place to another, so what you see at home might be cheaper than the petrol prices at your destination. You might be shocked at the prices of fuel in European cities like Amsterdam, Oslo, and Istanbul so you will understand why a lot of people prefer their old reliable bikes instead of a daily drive. It is a different story when you are in Venezuela or in the Middle East where the oil is produced.

With the fluctuating fuel prices you need to plan your budget or expenses for fuel ahead of time. Look up the prices of fuel at your destination and make sure you have sufficient funds for fuel. Pre-pay fuel deals with rental companies might save you the hassle of filing the tank up but it will cost you a lot of money.

Choose the right vehicle for you

Picking the right vehicle rental is a big part of the equation when it comes to savings. You need to ask yourself several questions. Are you traveling on your own or with your family? Are you bringing a a lot of stuff on the road? Are you on a business trip and need a car to impress your clients? Are you for performance or comfort? These among others help you determine whether you get a sub compact, an exotic car, an SUV, or a simple sedan. Do not bite any offers of any upgrades from the car rental company without considering all the benefits it might give you during the trip. You might also want to choose a vehicle which is similar to what you drive back home so you will be more comfortable while driving on unfamiliar roads.

Insurance options

Even when you are a very good, careful, defensive driver, you always need a layer of protection when traveling abroad. Most likely your car insurance at home will not cover your international rental, so you need to look for another option. Rental firms will push to your face a ton of insurance policies to choose from atop of the minimal policy of the vehicle you want. It is quite difficult to choose in terms of the coverage and the cost. Investigate well. In case you have a travel insurance, ask if it also covers car rental or if you can save if you will get it from the same provider.

Go for stick shift

If you never learned driving with a stick, it might be best to learn before you go. A lot of international car rentals come with manual gearbox especially if you are having a holiday in Europe. You do not want to book a car that you cannot drive so better ask and clarify this major detail of your ride. Asking for an automatic transmission might cause you some extra depending on the vehicle and demand. If you can go for the the stick shift, then by all means go. But if you are just beginning to get the feel of it and will be driving thru mountain sides or busy city streets, then a bit of a splurge for an automatic is a must.

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