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  • Writer's pictureTania Andreea

Renting a car while traveling

Updated: Jan 6


Many of us associate the idea of ​​vacation with visiting beautiful places, exploring as much as possible and last but not least, with comfort. Having a car at your disposal can make a big difference between a beautiful vacation and a not that beautiful one. Also renting a car can create a certain anxiety, especially when you rent for the first time, so I've made a small guide with the most important aspects related to renting a car, gathered both from my own experience and from studying the terms and conditions in the contracts of specialized companies when I rented.

I am convinced that this article will bring clarity to decision-making when it comes to renting a car and even a much more relaxing vacation.

renting a car on holiday or while traveling


There are situations that, although you want to visit many places, renting a car is not necessary. For example, when you visit a city or when you visit only cities. Usually, in and between big cities, public transport is very well developed, and renting a car is much more expensive, both in terms of price and time. When I say time, I refer to the time spent in traffic and finding a parking space, especially in big cities.

The most recommended situations in which you can use a car on vacation are when there is no public transport in the areas you want to visit, or there is, but it is not well set up, or simply, you want to you have the experience of a "road trip" on a spectacular road. I chose renting a car, both on the islands (Tenerife, Mallorca, etc.), and on the mainland, in countries such as Portugal and Italy.

Documents required when renting a car:

In EU, you need a driver's license and a credit card, both of the same owner. In some countries outside the EU, additional documents and/or an international driving license may be required.

Full cover insurance or deposit?How is it safer to rent a car?

The deposit may vary, each company having its own policies. Usually, the amount blocked for the deposit covers only a small part of a possible damage. Usually, the amount blocked for the deposit covers only a small part of a possible irreparable damage and is retained in proportion to 100%, regardless of the cost of the repair. For example, if the possible repair of the damage would cost 50 euros, and the deposit was 1300 euros, the customer loses, in most cases, the entire deposit.

In case of damage to the car, the customer can pay much more than the initial deposit, because the company does not aim to cover only the repair costs, but also the moral wear and tear of the car and the period of time in which it is in service and cannot be rented further. Also, the full amount of deposit can be charged in case of an accident, even a very small one, like a stone that break the windscreen. So if you choose to pay a deposit, choose the company with the smallest deposit, not the company with the cheapest car. A complementary deposit can also be stopped for fuel or tolls.

If you choose to pay a deposit, check the car very well before it is taken over and avoid, as much as possible, picking it up at night, because in the dark some scratches or other defects can be missed, which can be put on your payment note. I recommend taking photos of any irregularities found when picking up the car, but also a video recording of the car, even if you don't notice any irregularities.

The full cover insurance covers the costs of any type of accident, including car theft. Usually this insurance costs as much as the car rental, the advantage being that you no longer have to pay a deposit, nor you have to worry about possible accidents that could damage the car, and subsequently your budget. If you choose to pay it, I recommend paying it directly to the company from which you pick up the car, not through third parties. If you book insurance through third parties, the rental company will withhold your deposit, and you will have to claim compensation from third parties in the event of an accident. In other words, if you don't want to pay a deposit, ask for full insurance at the desk, even if the car reservation was made online. Another advantage of this insurance is the fact that you can use a debit card, not necessarily a credit card.

Is it mandatory to have a credit card to rent a car?

Most car rental companies prefer to ask their customers to pay by credit card. One of the reasons is the fact that they can stop the deposit without being restricted, which can happen with the debit card. There are certain companies that, however, accept payment by debit card, either under certain conditions or by asking for an additional deposit. As I said above, one of the conditions is the payment of full cover insurance.

Aspects that can lead to a price increase for the same car:

- Age; people who are under 23-25 ​​years old can be extra charged, the same applies if you are a beginner driver, or over 75 years old. - The time at which the car is picked up; additional fees may apply if you pick up the car at night or out of opening hours. - The location from which you pick up the car does not correspond to the one where you hand it over. This option is available to large companies, which have headquarters in several locations and in most cases it is charged additionally. - If you cross the border of the country that you rented the car; some companies completely prohibit crossing the border. - Adding an extra driver to the rental contract; some companies do not charge this aspect.

Sites where you can compare prices from several rental companies:

Below I leave some sites where you can search for offers from car rental companies, so that you can always find the best price:

Also, most airlines have the option of renting a car, without having to purchase the flight through them. I normally use Ryanair rent a car and I always book directly from the airport, it seems the most convenient way for me.

As you can probably imagine, each company has its own rules, and this article aims to give an idea of ​​some aspects to discuss with the employees of the companies from which you have decide to rent a car.

If there are aspects that I have not included in this article and you have questions about them, you can leave them in the comments and within the limits of my knowledge, I will answer you.

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Read also about how to travel on a low budget, about useful applications when traveling or how to take good photos when you travel.

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