Everything You Should Know Before Renting a Car While Travelling

Jul 14, 2020
Car Insurance
credit cards
Health Insurance
By Staff writer

Renting a car can be the perfect way to make sure your trip is truly unforgettable. It’s a great opportunity to make the most of your trip, as you will have complete freedom as to where you go and when you go to the places you want to visit. While public transportation can be very reliable in certain cities, being subject to the subway or bus schedules can limit your options. However, there are certain considerations you should make before renting a car.

1. The price of gas

Something people often forget about when they rent a car is the price of gasoline. It’s always ideal that you get a sense of gas prices before you head to a vehicle rent office. This is because only after you know these prices you can set up an adequate budget for what you will be spending overall. If you do not do this, you might find that the total price you are going to pay on your car rental will be much higher than what you paid at the New Zealand rent a car office where you got your vehicle. 

2. Know the rules

There are some requirements you are going to have to fulfill whether you’re at a rent a car Auckland office or a rent a car Christchurch office. This is because there are national rules that you must follow. You can only rent a car in New Zealand if you’re 21 years old and you have an international driver’s license. If not, then you should own a local license. The good news is that you can use your international license for up to 12 months while you are in the country. If your license is in a language other than English, you should bring a translation. These and more rules will be explained to you when you use the online travel agency MustGo at the moment of planning your trip.

3.   Age is more than just a number

There are rental car companies that only rent their vehicles to users above 25 years old. This is because people between 21 and 25 years old are often considered as a riskier population when it comes to car rentals. It doesn’t matter if you have a perfect record, you will likely have to pay extra if you’re within this age group. That said, some companies will be open to negotiation and might co

Therefore, if you’re traveling with a group, it’s best to let the person over 25 be the driver. While it might be tiring, everyone will be saving money, and this is cash you can spend doing other fabulous things during your vacation. 

4.   Choosing a car

Choose a rental car

Some backpackers choose station wagons so that they can sleep in the car. Just keep in mind that New Zealand has great options when it comes to hostels and even camping sites. Therefore, it might not be necessary to go to these lengths to save money. Furthermore, it can be a very big car to maneuver, and it might end up costing you much more in gas. 

Choosing a car should be all about comfort. How many people will be going in the car? Don’t forget about your suitcases! Sometimes cars with many seats have absurdly small trunks, where not everyone’s suitcase is going to fit. Keep these things in mind before choosing a model.

Lastly, we come back to gas prices. The idea is to go for the most gas-efficient model. This way you will be lowering your carbon footprint and saving some money.

5. Credit cards are the way to go

While most rental car companies allow you to use a debit card, they’re going to put a hold on your funds, which can be quite substantial. If you’re already on a limited budget, this unexpected expense can cause you issues during your trips as you won’t have access to your funds. Therefore, using a credit card might be a better option. However, if you’re determined to use a debit card, then you should call before renting the vehicle. This way, you can learn how much money will be held by them and plan accordingly. 

6. Avoid the airport if you can

It’s not always easy to avoid renting a car at the airport. It’s very convenient and sometimes you just want to get immediately in your car after a long trip. However, the extra effort of going to an off-airport vehicle rent office might be worth it. More often than not, they offer prices that are considerably lower than those at the terminal. After all, convenience also has a price. Also, these offices usually have fewer people, so you won’t have such a long wait. 

7. To get or not to get car insurance

Did you know that you don’t have to necessarily get car insurance from the agency? Many people don’t know this, and they end up spending a lot more than they had to. Insurance offered by car rental companies tends to be much higher than other insurances you can purchase. For starters, you might not even need one! If you have a car back at home, you should check your insurance to see if it covers you. Another possibility is that your credit card company has a rental car insurance option as one of the benefits of renting the car with that card. So better make that call before purchasing insurance at the counter. 

This, by the way, is something you should never do! If you are buying insurance from the company you should do it online or on the phone. The reason for this is that you will have more options at that moment, and the agencies know it. However, once you’re at the counter, it is going to be game over and you will be subject to their fees. 

Lastly, you should check if your health insurance covers personal accidents. This way, this is a type of insurance you won’t need to purchase at the agency. While some people decide to go wild and not get insurance at all, this is not recommended. Yes, it’s unlikely you will get involved in an accident during your trip, but it’s better to be prepared for the unexpected. Unfortunately, your car insurance policy in New Zealand won’t apply to rental cars as it’s only provided for the car that you got the insurance for. 

8. Get your own extras

In the age of the smartphone, do you really need the GPS they offer you at the car rental office? It might be better to get a generous data plan and using Google Maps, Apple Maps or Waze than paying the daily fee for the GPS. Another extra to keep in mind are any toll passes. If you’re going to use it every day, then it makes sense. But if you’re not, the daily fee might again not be worth it. 

9. Not everyone needs to drive

While it sounds fair for everyone to take the wheel at least once, you are going to have to pay for adding additional drivers. It’s better to have one driver, or maybe two if there are going to be long drives involved. But if not, then that extra fee they’re going to charge you every day might end up being a waste. However, there are exceptions. Certain companies waive the fee when it involves a spouse. So, find out first before making any payments.

10. Don’t forget to fill up the tank

filling up the tank

This is one of those things that tend to be on small print. If you receive the car filled with gas, you’ll likely need to return it filled as well. If you don’t do this, you’re going to be charged an outrageous amount for gas, when you could have avoided this by simply going to a gas station. So don’t forget to do this after you have enjoyed an awesome vacation with your rental car.


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