Car hire

There are thousands of destinations worldwide where you may want to hire a car, so it's vital that you research the right car for your travels.

For instance, an ability to choose between airport and city pick-ups, as well as a choice of vehicle, is crucial to enjoying your trip in a stress-free way.

Plan your car hire for less

The best-laid plans of mice and men never go awry when it comes to car hire.

If you wait and book your car hire when you land at the airport, you may find that your choice of car is limited and, even worse, it may cost you significantly more than if you'd booked it weeks or even months ago.

Yes, if you get planning well ahead of time, you could save some serious dosh, providing you also shop around for the best value deal.

So, how can you search for a better quote?

How to organise a hire car

When planning your holiday or car hire pick up destination, think carefully about:

  • Your chosen car pick-up point
  • Pick-up date and time
  • Drop-off date and time

By tweaking your travel plans, you may raise, or reduce your car hire quote, so think honestly about your flexibility particularly if you're trying to save some money.

What car would you like to drive?

We all like a little bit of luxury on holiday but bear in mind that a fancier car will usually be accompanied by a heftier price tag.

You may be offered a choice of vehicles in the following categories:

  • Mini
  • Economy compact
  • Intermediate
  • Standard
  • Premium
  • Luxury

Usually, you can also specify the number of doors, if you require a passenger van, an estate (wagon) or convertible, and whether or not you want air conditioning and a manual or automatic gearbox.

You may also have a brochure to look through, but bear in mind this will just be a typical car from the named class with a brief description of the deal and the price.

You may not get the exact car in the picture, so it's not worth huffing and puffing over after you land, unless you've been downgraded, then you can stamp your feet a bit to try and get some money back.

When you've found a car you like, see if you can read a more detailed description of the vehicle and details about the car hire package, such as:

  • What's included in the price
  • Optional extras and fees
  • Deposit and payment requirements
  • Fuel policies
  • Pick-up and drop-off rules
  • Driver requirements

Always read the specific terms and conditions before signing up to a vehicle and provider.

Did you know...?

  • Some companies won't give an exact indication of the excesses you're liable for until you've made a payment and arrived at the hire station
  • In North America it's illegal in some states to have opened containers of alcohol anywhere in your vehicle
  • In Spain failure to carry a reflective hazard triangle will be met with an on-the-spot fine
  • In France it's mandatory for all motorists to carry an unused breathalyser kit meeting French specifications

How to buy car hire

You can buy online, or over the telephone, if you're so inclined - the latter may be handy if you're booking car hire at the last minute.

Our guides provide help with the different types of vehicles available and on additional requirements to consider such as fuelling options, child seats, air conditioning, additional drivers, breakdown cover, sat-nav, driving across borders, and whether to choose a manual or automatic car.

Read more about whether to consider booking your car with your holiday, pick-up and drop-offs, mileage limits, driving licences, passports, why you may require a credit card to hire a car, excesses, inspections and insurance, and see if you find our guide to driving abroad to be of use.

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