Vehicle Rental 3 min read

How to Save Money When Hiring a Car Abroad

a happy couple in a convertible car on holiday
Published on Jul 21, 2022
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If you have booked your summer holiday and are considering renting a car whilst you are abroad there are a few things you need to bear in mind before you book the first option you see. 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you will have noticed the ever-increasing cost of fuel and this isn’t just in the UK. Renting a car can be a tricky business with hidden costs and fees so we’ve put together a few things to consider before you take the plunge.

Ask Yourself If You Really Need One

Whilst hiring a car may seem like the only and most convenient option, you should consider whether you really need to hire a car.  

Do your research about your accommodation/resort booked through travel agencies such as TUI and see whether they offer any packages and/or whether public transport may in fact be cheaper. If you are jetting off to an all-inclusive resort where the beaches and local restaurants etc. are all within walking distance, then paying for a hire vehicle isn’t cost-effective.  

The only use of the vehicle, in that case, is potentially to and from the airport, in which case there are far cheaper options.

Choose a Car Within Your Means

If you’re staying somewhere with lots of places to visit locally and the public transport isn’t the best, then perhaps a rental car from a provider such as Hoppa could be a good idea.

However, before you hire your vehicle you should look at what you’re being offered, do you really need a top-of-the-range new Mercedes? The cost of some newer vehicles can be astronomical, so if you don’t have the budget and simply want to get from A to B - you don’t need a fancy car!

Be Wary of Fuel Policies

In a rental car, there are typically two ways to pay for fuel: either you sign up for a full-to-empty policy or a full-to-full one. 

The full-to-empty plan might appear more convenient, but you'll be responsible for the entire tank's charges on top of that. Although it saves you from having to fill it up before returning the car, these rates are probably not the most affordable available. Additionally, it will be a waste of money if you don't use the entire tank. 

Full-to-full is, therefore, the most economical choice. You'll just need to top it up if you're not going to use the entire tank, and you'll be able to locate the cheapest petrol station nearby.

Don’t Buy Into Unnecessary Insurance

We can all be easily bamboozled when it comes to insurance and what is and isn’t covered. Direct insurance purchases from car rental companies are almost always more expensive and don’t necessarily have you covered for what you would expect and/or need. Purchase your insurance from a third-party supplier instead. 

“Which” has a helpful guide to auto insurance companies in the UK. While many automobile rental companies will try to persuade you to purchase their insurance, if you already have adequate coverage then it may not be necessary to engage with them.

Use Your Phone As a Satnav

Ok, the first thing you need to do before you go abroad is to check your data roaming charges. If you’re fortunate enough to have free data roaming in your contract then you don’t need a high-spec car with built-in Satnav, use your phone!  And make sure you pack your charger or a powerbank from Currys for your phone.

You’re likely to save a lot of money but going for an absolutely basic car and using your own technology rather than paying for an upgrade that you don’t need.

Book Online As Early As Possible

The easiest way to save money on car hire abroad is to pre-book through sites like Logi Travel before your trip. You can find great deals online well in advance and can pay before you arrive.  

If you wait until you land you may not get as much variety and may be stung when it comes to the cost of hiring. Our best advice is to shop around before you go and check online for discounts, deals and vouchers!

Look Out for Free Cancellation

When booking your rental vehicle online you could check the policy to ensure there is a free cancellation policy.  

Things happen and circumstances change, not everything goes according to plan. Perhaps your plane is delayed, or you fall ill and cannot go on your holiday. If there isn’t a free cancellation policy, you may be stuck with a cost or additional fee that you can’t afford.

Use Price Comparison Websites

Like with most products and services there are online comparison sites which you can visit to ensure you’re getting the best deal around when it comes to renting/hiring a vehicle abroad. 

You’ll be able to compare available models, insurances and costs on sites like Tripadvisor from the comfort of your sofa and be able to pick something affordable to you.  If you don’t check and compare in advance, you could be surprised at the costs of hiring a vehicle on the spot. Do your research!

See If You Can Save With a Package

A great idea before you book to hire a vehicle from a third party is to check whether this option is actually available in your flight/accommodation package.  

You might be surprised to find out that this is an option with many package deals and even includes insurance etc. You could also check with your hotel or resort whether they have any car services as they may also have connections or contracts with third-party providers at better prices.

Inspect the Car Before You Set Off

Even if you forget half of the information above, don’t forget this! 

Before you take your rental vehicle off the forecourt, make sure you inspect the vehicle to ensure you have a comprehensive note of any faults or damage - if necessary take photos and bring it to the company’s attention before you leave.  

It isn’t uncommon for rental companies to claim that you have caused damage to a vehicle and request money from you to rectify it. It is, therefore, so so important that you check the vehicle before you leave!


Charlotte Marshall

Lead Editor

Being a full-time content writer and part-time shopaholic, globe-trotter and avid lover of all things food (and wine)...I love researching the best money-saving hacks so that I can help fuel my own passions, and yours!

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