Picking a Good Rental Car

by : Amy Nutt

If you're looking to rent a vehicle for a weekend or longer, here are a few things you should plan for: Many car rental agencies offer their services online and pass special rates on to customers who choose to rent in this manner. Your travel agent can help you in finding which of these agencies is right for you. Some specialize in economical, compact cars while others feature sedans and even sport utility vehicles for those who like adventure.

While many agencies welcome walk-in customers, most ask that you make a reservation for the best selection of models suited for you. If you're six feet tall, you'll want to call ahead and make sure they have something larger than a compact vehicle.

The yellow pages have a large assortment of rental car agencies, and each is listed with special customer features and the models of the cars they specialize in. Some rental agencies also offer a very convenient customer pick-up service. If you're going to be picking up the car yourself however, try to co-ordinate your car pick-up and return times, so you won't be charged for an extra day.

If you're only going to be driving a few miles, you may save money by opting for a rental with a mileage cap, which is usually 150 miles. However, unlimited mileage rates offer you more freedom. Your choice will depend on the type of holiday you are on, or the business you'll be doing on your trip.

The number of people driving the car may also boost your rental cost. Most agencies have extra fees for additional drivers, and if the extra driver is under 21, the cost may rise yet again.

No agency will rent you a vehicle if you can't produce your driver's license or a credit card, and if you appear unfit to drive, forget about getting a car from them! Be careful about violating your car rental agreement by driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Most agencies will consider criminal charges if they find out about such behavior while their vehicle is being driven. Remember to familiarize yourself with all of the terms and conditions of the rental agreement, including what could possibly void your insurance coverage. As the renter, you are liable for all parking and moving traffic violations, both domestic and international, so please drive safely and observe all ordinances.

As a general rule, a major credit card is required at the time of rental, while prepaid credit cards, gift cards and debit/check cards are accepted for payment at the end of the rental.

In many cases, renting a car for a full week is more affordable than renting one for five days, so think about a weekend rental to save money. Should you require child seats, you should book them in advance, because they may charge a fee for each seat. Check out the state or country you will be driving in for more information about child restraint regulations.