Tips on how to rent a car in the USA
If you’ve ever visited the USA you´ll know that distances in between each site can be quite overwhelming to those who come unprepared. And not only that, depending on the place you’re visiting, public transport may be unavailable.
It’s just a feature of the country you have to deal with: moving around in the United States mostly requires a vehicle, as most of the transportation infrastructure here was made with cars in mind. Let’s not forget, the good old US of A is where cars first became an important method of transportation.
So, having a vehicle, or at least having access to one, is important if you want to travel in the USA. Now, using a taxi or Uber is an option, but not a very recommendable one, since using them can get very expensive the more trips you do, not to mention that you´ll be entirely dependent on the availability of drivers near you, and that may delay your trips. Now, a good option for transportation in the US is to rent a car, as it grants you a very simple solution. No vehicle? Easy, you just go rent one.
But as with any other service, it has its kinks and, so in this post, we’ll be learning about some tips and tricks you can use for the next time you rent a car to explore the US.
Tips on how to rent a car in the USA
Plan your USA Trip
1. Use A Car Rental Site
Now, as I was telling you, car rental services have their kinks and one of them is the issue of choice! During our Los Angeles Itinerary choosing a rental car was very tricky as there are multiple rental car companies and each of them offers similar models at different prices, and those prices tend to shift according to availability and demand.
Finding a rental car all by yourself can be nightmarishly difficult, as you would have to search on more than a dozen rental car companies because remember, there are multiple of them, and each of them offers several cars each time you search for a specific type of vehicle.
Luckily, you don´t have to do all that research on your own as there are companies dedicated to searching for the best deals across many car rental companies and their multiple options. This type of company is called brokers.
Brokers make all the research for you, narrowing the search from a nightmare to a far more manageable list of cars you can rent, and best of all, it doesn’t cost you any extra to use the service that brokers provide, in fact, they make the rental process cheaper as they often find the cheapest available options and they even offer some discounts.
Now you might be asking: Which broker company should I use? (It appears that everything is choices when it comes to car rentals) Well up next I´ll give you some info on the 5 of the best car rental brokers.
Trustpilot score: 4.7 / 5
This is one of the best brokers you can find as they have some of the best prices around, and their page is one of the clearest and easiest to use. In addition to this, they have partnerships with some of the most renowned car rental companies such as Dollar, Thrifty, Alamo and Sixt. Their customer service is noted a fast and accurate.
Trustpilot score: 4.7 / 5
When it comes to customer service this is one of the best options you can find in the market. Customers describe their representatives as capable of solving most problems and very helpful when assisting on a reservation. As prices go, they’re also a pretty good option. They have the option of paying via PayPal and debit cards.
Trustpilot score: 4.5 / 5
Priceline offers other vacationing services alongside with their car rental services. In addition to this, they have recently upgraded their app so that their customers can better use their services from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Customers report that both their platform and response time are quite good.
Trustpilot score: 4.3 / 5
Clients like this company’s fast and effective service. They have a varied car fleet which includes many types of vehicles and they give you information on what type of vehicle is best for your travel plans. If you happen to be traveling to far off cities to might like to know that they have locations in places such as Sydney and Tokyo.
Trustpilot score: 3.8 / 5
This company is of special interest to international travelers as the main page of their site can be changed to many languages from all over the world. Likewise, they can show you the price in many different currencies from all over the world. They have a newsletter you can subscribe to if you want to receive information.
2. Make sure you are prepared and can fulfill the requirements
So now that we got a broker that will find us the best prices, the next step is to make sure that we got everything we need to have a smooth ride on our rental car, because you see, every rental company needs to ensure that some requirements are met before they can give you the car, if those requirements aren’t met you’re in for a lot of headaches as they simply can’t give you the car.
Don’t worry though, the requirements are really simple.
A driver’s license
Simple as can be, no driving without a driver’s license that includes rental cars. So just keep your license handy when traveling. Now, when you’re making the reservations you can designate other people on your travel group as secondary drivers, and of course if they want to drive, they must bring their licenses with them, but here is the important part: if the secondary driver brings his or hers license but the main driver doesn’t, they simply won´t give you the car, so make sure that the main driver brings his or her license.
An embossed credit card
This one is not a big deal as long as you’re careful. Rental car companies require you to give them some sort of deposit, and this deposit comes in the form of a credit card. By the most part, this is just to make sure that you won´t just run off with the car. However, this credit card may be used to pay any additional service you want to add at the counter, so be aware! When getting to the counter be extremely clear about any additional services you may want, and if you don’t want any say so and make it clear that you don’t want to have any additional services.
Being over 25
Sadly, I can’t give you any tips on how to grow a couple of years older in an instant, but what I can tell you is that most car rental companies require you to be 25 for renting a car. People over 18 can in some cases rent, but some extra fees will apply and those fees can be quite expensive.
Full coverage insurance
And last, but absolutely not least, we got full coverage insurance. Driving around in your own car uninsured is not only unsafe but its frankly stupid, any accident, even a minor one, can cost you greatly, and that’s on a car you own, now imagine how bad it would get if you had an accident on a rental car, it would be an unmitigated disaster! For that reason, car rental companies require you to have full coverage insurance at the moment of renting.
Now, here’s some advice: some brokers sell you insurance plans with third-party insurance companies, and while they may seem enticing the best thing you can do is not to take those, as sometimes rental companies don’t accept those third party insurance plans, and force you to buy insurance plans with them, making you pay twice. So, the best thing you can do is just buy the insurance at the counter in the rental place, this way they can’t bother you about insurances.
3. Think About The Route
Well now that you’re behind the wheel of your rental car, you can be sure that you´ll be able to explore more places on your destination and you´ll be doing so comfortably. But… is that all that there is to it? Well, I´m glad you’re asking because now that you have a reliable vehicle you can take part in one of America’s oldest and most beloved touristic traditions: Road trips!
Some brokers give you the possibility of picking up your rental car at a location and giving it back in another, which allows you to plan your trip in the form of a road trip. If you plan it well enough you can get to know more wonderful landscapes on your way home than you ever would on a boring plane ride! Plus, there are many awesome road trips you can take in the USA if you’re feeling adventurous. Such as the legendary Route 66, or the amazing bridges that connect Miami with Florida’s keys.
And there you go, next time you’re traveling and are in need of a reliable transportation option on the US, you´ll be able to get the best options, so what are you waiting for, hit the road on your rental car!
We hope our tips for how to rent a car in the USA have been helpful! If you have any more tips let us know in the comments below.
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