your holiday rights - information and advice on your holiday rights



holiday car hire

Looking for cheap holiday car hire? The internet is a great place to look, especially as a number of holiday car hire companies offer discount if you book online.

Read the advice on booking your holiday car hire and on 'things to do when you get there', then click on the links to find cheap holiday car hire.

Finding cheap holiday car hire
Holiday car hire prices change constantly and are very different for different destinations. Because of this, we can't give you a comparison table as we have done on the travel insurance page. Different companies offer better holiday car hire deals for different destinations, and these change depending on the time of year. So our main advice is to shop around and don't just accept the first quote.

The first place to look for cheap holiday car hire is at the 'consolidators' or 'brokers', such as Holiday Autos and Autos Europe. These companies don't actually own a single car, nor operate a holiday car hire desk at many airports. They have arrangements with local or international holiday hire car companies, and use their buying power to negotiate better deals than you or I would be able to get if you went direct.

Airlines, car hire companies and travel agents sometimes offer discounted car hire, often for a short period or as an incentive to book a flight or holiday. Outside these times, it is almost always cheaper to book your holiday car hire via the consolidators.

If you have used a company to book your holiday car hire before and would like to use them for this trip, but they are more expensive, don't be afraid to contact them and ask if they 'can do any better'. Companies often have the ability to do this and, if they can at least narrow the gap, it may be worth paying a little extra for the peace of mind.

Finally, if you only want a car for part of the holiday you may find cheaper holiday car hire at your destination. Before you take this route, be aware that it will be more difficult to claim from a local holiday car hire company if anything goes wrong.

So lets get started. Click on one of the holiday car hire companies below and begin collecting your comparative quotes:

Holiday car hire consolidators
Holiday Autos is usually the cheapest of the holiday car hire consolidators. They also offer a price match. However, in order to ensure you get the cheapest price on your holiday car hire, we recommend that you check two other consolidators and the UK's number one online travel agent first - onairportcarhire, Auto-Europe, Expedia and then check with Holiday Autos.

If Holiday Autos offer the cheapest price for your holiday car hire book with them. If not either go back to the other car hire company or take advantage of Holidays Autos price match promise. Bottom line, you get the cheapest price.

Autos-europe - owned by MyTravel (the renamed Airtours)
onairportcarhire - formerly suncars, owned by First Choice.
Holiday Autos - often already cheapest, book online and save at least £10
Expedia - the UK's number 1 online travel agent uses it's buying power to offer cheap car hire from a number of holiday car hire companies.

Holiday Car Hire Companies
Alamo - an American site. There is no .co.uk site.
Europcar - worth a look, especially within Europe

Things to do before you go

  1. Check the holiday car hire document carefully when you receive it. It's not unknown for a holiday hire car company to match a lower quote by lowering the specification of the car they will provide. For example, if the document does not say 'air conditioning' or specify the number of child seats you have bought, these have not been included within your booking.
  2. Check whether holiday car hire quotes include unlimited mileage, all taxes and collision damage waiver (or CDW).
  3. Keep an eye on the insurance excess.
  4. Take a valid driving license and another form of ID for each driver.
  5. Check whether an International Driving Permit is required for your destination. These cost £4 and can be issued by the AA and RAC. They are required (in addition to a valid UK driving license) for holiday car hire in a number of countries, including Japan, India, Pakistan and Egypt.
  6. Check the minimum age limit hire companies specify for drivers - it is 25 in some countries, including the USA.
  7. In some countries it is a legal requirement that babies and toddlers are secured in a child seat. If you are not taking your own child seat for babies and toddlers arrange this in advance.
  8. Check to see if there are any local driving laws that differ from the UK. For example in the US you can turn right at traffic lights even if the light is read (provided the road is clear).

    Things to do when you get there

  1. When you collect your hire car, check it for obvious faults and for scratches and dents. Make sure all these faults are listed in the documents you sign when you take the car.
  2. Make sure the car is prepared for all types of weather you are likely to encounter, e.g. snow chains.
  3. Ensure you have a contact number for the holiday car hire firm, in case of problems, including an out of hours number.
  4. Leave the insurance and other documents in the car.
  5. If you are travelling with children, ensure that the car has child locks and rear seat belts.
  6. Make sure you know the route to your accommodation before you set off. Ask the clerk at the local hire car company for directions and a map. This is particularly important at night.
  7. Before you drive off check the gear lever positions (especially reverse) and find the indicators, windscreen wipers, light switches and the air conditioning.
  8. Check if the car has an alarm or an immobiliser. Know how to turn them on and off.
  9. It's a good safety precaution to keep car doors locked at all times.
  10. In the summer air conditioning is a good safety feature; it allows you to drive with the windows up.
  11. Don't leave valuables in your car. If you must, leave them in the boot or a locked glove compartment. They won't be covered by your travel insurance if they are stolen from anywhere else in the car.
  12. Make sure that you know the holiday car hire company's rules about petrol, mileage and collection / delivery. If you get any of these wrong the charges can be very high.

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