With all the sales going on at the moment, January is seen as a bit of peak period for customers booking their holidays. With this in mind I thought I’d give a few tips about what to look for when researching and booking car hire:

1. Book in advance. This is particularly the case if you are wanting to rent a car in the summer because most companies are likely to sell out. And of course as companies begin to sell out prices will go up. So book as far in advance as possible to get the best price. Our blog post “Tips for getting the best price” provides further advice on this.
2. Check your eligibility to hire a car. There are three things to check: age, credit card and driver’s licence. Some car hire companies have a maximum age and, of course, all companies have a minimum age, which can differ by country. It is also worth noting that it is sometimes possible to rent at a younger age if you pay a young driver’s surcharge. Additionally, be sure to check the validity of your driver’s licence. The standard is to have a full, clean driver’s licence which has been held for at least a year. If your licence is in a non-roman alphabet you will also need an International Driver’s Permit. Finally, check that you have the appropriate credit card to rent a car. Avis accepts MasterCard, Visa (credit and debit cards), Diners Card and American Express. For further information we have posts dedicated to these topic including “Don’t forget your driver’s licence”, “Our young driver’s policy” and “Information on accepted credit cards”.
3. Check the inclusions. The most important thing you need to check for is the level of cover your quote includes. Most companies will include Vehicle Damage Cover and Vehicle Theft Cover is included in your quote (also referred to as Collision Damage Waiver and Theft Protection). If I was to describe this using the terminology of private car insurance then this would be like having Fully Comprehensive with an excess (so be sure to check what this is). If, however, your quote does not include this level of cover then you could be liable for the full cost of repair or replacement if your rental car was to be damaged or stolen. This is not a position I would like to be in! For further information on this try our blog post “What’s included in your quote”.
4. Check on the cost of extras. Not all the extras are available at point of booking so remember to take this cost into account when calculating the total cost of your car hire. Products designed to reduce/remove your level of excess and pre-pay fuel products are usually the most popular products that are generally only available at the counter.
5. Book the right car size. This may seem simple enough but you would be surprised how many customers try to book a smaller car at a cheaper price only to find they can’t fit in all their luggage. The problem is that, at this point, all of the larger cars may no longer be available!

These are the top things I can think of but please feel free to post your own tips or ask any questions if there is something I may have missed.

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60 Responses to “Tips for booking your car hire”

  1. Anthony Says:

    Do you rent cars to drivers who have held a license for less than a year at all?

    I am 28 years old and have recently passed my test (with one minor fault)- surely i would be a safer driver now than if I rent a car from you in a year with no practice in the meantime. I would be willing to pay more for insurance if neccessary

  2. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Anthony, unfortunately there are no exceptions to the rule and our customers must hold a licence for at least a year. However, I appreciate your feedback on this and take your point. You’re right that it is possible that someone may pass their test and then rent a car having not driven for a year. Unfortunately we just can’t legislate for that. But what we can do is minimise the risk by restricting car hire to those customers who are of a certain age and have had their licence for a certain period. I hate saying that because there are many new and young drivers who are just as, if not more, careful drivers than those with far more experience. But those are the laws of probability and it is these probabilities that guide our policies in this instance.

    I welcome any further feedback you would like to give.

    Rob

  3. Peter Shaw Says:

    Is it really such a good idea to book on the internet?
    I booked a car to be collected in Germany with Avis UK and paid by credit card at the time of booking.
    Avis Germany ignored the voucher and charged more than twice the agreed rate to my credit card that was only supposed to be used to pay for fuel.
    Eventually Avis UK persuaded Germany to accept the voucher to set against the bill but I have still paid more than twice the agreed and expected rate for the car.
    Moral – don’t book Avis.

  4. Huw Williams Says:

    I get really frustrated when I go online to get a quote from you and other car hire companies.I need to know in advance what the insurance excess will be.I have found it easier and cheaper therfore to deal with smaller local car hire companies in the Algarve.This results in CHEAPER DEALS when taking additional insurance to reduce the excess into account.

  5. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Peter, I am disappointed to read this. I have forwarded to our Customer Support team who will look into this and will respond directly to you.

    Rob

  6. Jonathan Says:

    Do Avis cars come with ‘unlimited kilometres’ allowance included in the hire or not? In August 2007, Avis in Paris CDG charged me an extra Euro 420 for 550 ‘additional’ kilometres above their ‘allowance’, since I had no written proof to the contrary.
    ‘Unlimited kilometres’ was stated on your website at time of reservation but was absent from the Booking Confirmation email. ‘Unlimited kilometres’ is the reason I switched to Avis in the first place. This omission will be the cause of my choosing an alternative rental company in future.

  7. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Huw, the excess information is displayed when you get a quote. This information is displayed on the bottom left of the screen on the page that is displayed after selecting one of the car categories for your specified location (I am referring to http://www.avis.co.uk here). The fact you have missed this suggests that they we may either need to make this more visible or more accessible. I welcome any feedback you have on this.

    One area that we clearly need to improve upon is visibility of the price of the products available to reduce the excess. This is something that has been highlighted a few times on the blog and is something we are looking into.

    With regards to “cheaper deals”, we recognise that car hire is a competitive market and that our prices need to be competitive… otherwise we won’t have ever have any customers! Our prices can sometimes be the cheapest but not always. We manage our prices and cars, like airlines do with their fares and seats. Our prices will be cheap when we have cars available, and will go up as they get booked by more and more customers. The earlier you book, the cheaper the price!

    We manage our prices to always be competitive, and have the belief in our service and products that we offer the best value for your money.

  8. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Jonathan, I cannot comment on rentals in every country but from my experience you will generally find that a rental on a ‘retail’ rate will include unlimited mileage/kilometres. Certainly, this is the case on our retail rates in the UK and in France. A mileage cap usually applies on special rates such as if the rental is used on a specific ‘corporate contract’. If you could email your rental agreement to comments@avis.co.uk, we can take a look at your rental and see why an additional kilometre fee was charged, if it was correct to do so.

    Rob

  9. Alex Says:

    hi guys, having worked for Avis for nearly a year now, it appears that the youngest age for hiring a vehicle is 23! having joined Avis at the age of 19 and having driven numerous cars in that time it saddens me to think that i have to wait another 3 years to actually hire an Avis car. Surely seeing as Avis put faith in me to look after the fleet by delivering and collecting the cars in an exemplary manor, i should be able, as a member of staff, to hire a vehicle? Regards

  10. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Andy, the policy is different for Avis employees. The minimum age for renting a car if you are an employee is 18 so you eligible to rent. This has to be the case otherwise we would be in trouble for age discrimination!

    Rob

  11. Meagan Says:

    Am I required to hold an international drivers licence to hire a vehicle? I currently hold a full Australian licence. What exactly does ‘clean’ drivers licence mean – would this include a speeding fine?

  12. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Meagan,
    Assuming you are renting in the UK, you only require an International Drivers Permit if your licence is not written in Roman alphabet, so your Australian licence is fine. We class a clean licence as one that does not have any criminal convictions on it, such as the unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle, but speeding fines are ok (although ultimately it is up to the discretion of the station manager).

    Rob

  13. Phil Byord Says:

    I am used to booking the car hire for our family holidays online and being able to determine and fix the total cost at the time of booking, including additional driver cover and excess waivers. This enables me to compare like-for-like prices for variuos companies to make sure I get best value for money and keep control of my holiday budget. This year I wanted to use up some Airmiles and so I’ve booked with Avis for the first time. However, whilst I haven’t forked out any real money to date, I am becoming increasingly worried about the amount I’ll have to pay at collection. Anecdotally I’ve now been told that Avis charge a fortune for additional driver cover and excess waiver but so far I’ve been unable to find the information I need to prove or disprove this.

    Why is it not possible to book these items in advance with Avis as you can with many of your competitors? Failing this, couldn’t you clearly set out the exact costs of all the additional items so that we can calculate a final fixed price in advance. At the end of the day you can charge what you like but I think you should be upfront about it. I hope I’m not going to regret switching to Avis.

  14. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Phil, I agree that we need to make these products more accessible at point of booking and it is on our list for website development. In the meantime I am happy to find out these prices for you. If you could email me at comments@avis.co.uk with the location, car category and rental length you have booked then I will find out for you what the price of these products are.

    Rob

  15. gill Says:

    DISAPPOINTED CUSTOMER. I phoned Avis to ask if they could guarantee me a beetle convertible (for a wedding in Germany) and was told they could, I even double checked that I would definitely be offered that model. Surprise surprise, when I received the confirmation It was for a group C car. I’ve been back to the person who made my booking, and she has denied all knowledge of guaranteeing that specific car, even calling me a liar for suggesting that’s what she offered! I’ve asked her supervisor to obtain a transcript of the original phone car – you cant have employees [romising things they cant deliver just to obtain their business. Anyone have any advice?

  16. Xavier Vallee - Head of Marketing Says:

    Hi Gill
    We have discussed your comment with our reservation team and someone will be in touch with you soon. It appears that it has been miscommunication on our side.

    Regards
    Xavier

  17. Kelvin Wheeler Says:

    Question: I want to hire a Ford galaxy. It says I need to make a specific request. How do I do this?

  18. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Kelvin, would you be able to let me know what location and dates/times you are planning to pick up this vehicle from? This should give me the information I need to get an answer for you.

    Rob

  19. Kelvin Wheeler Says:

    Hi Rob

    Roma Fiumicino Aeroporto
    22nd August @ 18.00

  20. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Kelvin, it basically means that we have a limited number of vehicles in the People Carrier car category available at Fiumicino and therefore the reservation will go on “request”. So, rather than automatically confirming the reservation as soon as you book it, the rental office will be notified of the reservation first and will be asked to confirm or deny it before we send a final confirmation of the booking to you. The rental office should confirm this to you within 72 hours.

    Does this all make sense? Let me know if you need any further clarification.

    Rob

  21. Gill Says:

    Xavier, thanks for your reply.
    Someone left a message last week & asked me to return their call. I’ve phoned the call centre 6 times (probably spent a hour) left numerous messages, and I’ve been promised someone would call me back. No-one has so far. I’m still waiting. Understandably, I am completely fed up and holding a reservation with Hertz, but I cant book it until you refund my booking. And your customer services office have admitted it wa their mistake. So much for customer service.

  22. Xavier Vallee - Head of Marketing Says:

    Hello Gill,

    We’ll follow up with our call centre to make sure you get contacted, and explain why it hasn’t been the case already.

    Kind regards,

    Xavier

  23. Noel Says:

    Is there a way i can book a diesel car on line? I have not managed to find information about diesel cars other than a one liner stating that these are available.

  24. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Noel, it really depends on what country you are looking to rent in. For example, in France and Italy we have some car categories that are specifically for booking diesels. In the UK we have some categories that happen to have all diesels in them, e.g. the Audis on our Select Series. If you could let me know where you are planning to rent your car from, I can find out for you exactly what diesel categories are available at that location.

    Rob

  25. Ben Says:

    Hi, I am a 19 year old who has had my full driving licence for a year and 10 months. I have a clean licence and passed my test with no minors at all. I have rented a car in spain before and am looking to rent a car in the Uk. Are there any cars in a specific group category that i would be eligable to rent?
    cheers, Ben

  26. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Ben, the minimum age for renting an Avis car in the UK is 23 years old (although a Young Driver Surcharge applies to drivers under the age of 25). Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to this rule, regardless of car category. I am sorry that we cannot help you in this instance but I am happy to help with any further questions.

    Rob

  27. Michael Rosaman Says:

    I have made a booking on your website where the total cost has been quoted as UKL is this your code for the British Pound?
    I have received confirmation and you state my car Audi A4 has been reserved, but there is no reference to when I pay for this. Only the statement “Avis.com does not require a Credit Card to make a reservation”.
    Regards,

    Michael

  28. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Michael, UKL stands for the British Pound. Payment for your booking will be taken on completion of the rental.

    Does this help? Let me know if you need anything else?

    Rob

  29. Ron Says:

    I wish to book a Golf size car from Florence to drop off in Riva del Garda 3 days later. The excess is high, but I understand that I can pay for Excess Reduction according to your website. I have asked by e-mail (comments@avis.co.uk)twice, two weeks apart, what the cost is and what the excess is reduced to? No reply has been sent to me. Surely it isn’t hard to know this for a reply? Why is it not made clear on the website?

  30. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Ron, I am sorry that no-one replied to your emails. I personally manage the comments@avis.co.uk inbox. I’m not sure how this one slipped by me but I promise to be more vigilant going forward.

    The price you are looking for is €15.91 per day and eliminates the excess i.e. no excess will apply.

    Thank you for the feedback about the website. We are working on improving our FAQs so this information is more accessible for our more popular destinations on our website. In the longer term we would like this information to be promoted within the booking process.

    Let me know if you have any further feedback or questions.

    Rob

  31. Ian Says:

    Have a booking for a hire next month in Germany. The price quoted is in GBP – since the booking was made the pound/euro rate has gone the wrong way. Is there an euro amount underlying the booking meaning that I’ll be charged a lot more than my original quote or will the staff in Germany do a conversion from the quoted GBP amount into euros using the rate of the day?

    many thanks, Ian

  32. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Ian, the rate will be fixed in GBP and the office will do a conversion into Euros on the day. Also, it is worth noting that you do have the choice of being charged in your ‘home’ or ‘local’ currency.

    Let me know if you need anything else!

    Rob

  33. Aman Says:

    Hi.
    I have an upcoming rental through AVIS.co.uk which I need your urgent help on.

    Booking is for Riyadh for September 23rd 08.

    I’ve called the Sheraton hotel where the car is due to picked up from, and the Avis representative said he had no knowledge of the booking. He gave me another number to try and the guy there said he
    couldn’t help. He then gave me another number to who I have spoken several times but he cannot confirm the booking! He’s promised to call me back but hasn’t yet.

    This is really poor customer service from your Riyadh section.

    Can you *please* help by making sure my booking is confirmed?

    Thank you

    Aman

  34. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Aman, I apologise that you haven’t been able to get a straight answer on this. If you could email me at comments@avis.co.uk with surname then that should provide enough information to look up and confirm the reservation.

    Rob

  35. Aman Says:

    Hello Rob
    After getting the number of 4 different people and chasing for a week I eventually got my car booked. On the day I picked up the car, the staff argued with me that the confirmed costs from the Avis weren’t right (they were trying to charge me double) and the booking mileage allowance was too high. After much negotiation I got what I booked for.
    I understand Saudi is a market where Avis rely upon third parties to represent them, but the standard is way way short of Avis’s usual high standards.

    Thank you for the offer of help anyway. I think Avis should look into their Riyadh operations.

    Kind regards
    Aman

  36. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Aman, I appreciate you taking the time to feedback on your experience with us and I apologise that it wasn’t what you expected. I will feedback your comments to the relevant country manager.

    Rob

  37. Nigel Owen Says:

    Dear Avis:

    Your website has not been working properly for over a week now!

    When entering a rental location it returns an error message.

    A way around this is to enter a different pick up and drop off point (even if they are the same).

    However although this will produce a price, when entering a Wizard code (e.g. N744100) this again produces an error message.

    Please get this fixed I really want to make a booking with you!

    (I have sent a meswsage to comments@avis.co.uk advisng of this error)

    Comments?

    Nigel Owen.

  38. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi Nigel,

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve been experiencing problems with the website.

    Can you send me further details of the hires you are trying to book to comments@avis.co.uk and I will forward this information to the web development team. They can investigate and I will contact you back with the findings.

    Thanks,

    Stephen

  39. Nigel Owen Says:

    Hi Stephen:

    I have obtained a ‘one off’ price from your reservations centre, however I
    really wanted to put various parameters into my booking (pick up/drop off,
    AWD numbers) to try and get the best price – much easier to do on the
    website.

    The website still has not been fixed – the same errors continue. Is there
    any update on this?

    Thanks for your help

    Nigel.

  40. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi Nigel,

    I will contact you directly to resolve this matter.

    Regards,

    Stephen

  41. Henry Stomber Says:

    Hi Avis,
    Very useful tips for all the customers using car hire services of your company. Your services are well famous in all over the world, keep moving.
    Henry

  42. sydney accommodation Says:

    one has to do some home work before booking a car

  43. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Support Says:

    Thanks for the feedback Henry.

    And Sydney accomodation, I completely agree. However, I think that everyone should do their homework before purchasing anything on the internet…..I know I do.

    Hopefully, this blog will help people to make a more informed decision about their car hire needs.

    Stephen

  44. John Marshman Says:

    My advice to anyone considering hiring a car from Avis is don’t. I had a complaint about the service I received in Corsica in June 2008. 8 months later I am still awaiting a reply, despite numerous emails to customed services.

  45. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Support Says:

    Hi Jon,

    I’m sorry you are not satisfied with the service that you have received.

    If you send the details of your hire to comments@avis.co.uk (including your rental agreement number), I will personally review the case for you.

    Regards,

    Stephen

  46. chris anderton Says:

    i want to book a car for 3 weeks this summer – i may want to go to europe in it. can i book the car online now and pre-pay, and then arrange for the european insurance? how far in advance do i need to arrange euro insurance?

  47. Chris Cox- Reservations, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Chris,

    You certainly can prepay online for the rental and organize the Continental Cover package with a minimum 2 day’s advance notice. You need to inform the office of which countries you are planning to visit, the names of all drivers and the number of passengers you will be taking. They will then organize the necessary paperwork and breakdown documentation and have it ready for you when you collect the car. The cost of the package will be paid locally, directly to the office. Don’t forget as well that it will be your responsibility to provide any special equipment required by law when driving in a foreign country, e.g. headlight reflectors, fluorescent jacket etc.
    I hope that helps.

    Chris

  48. Max Howell Says:

    Hi,

    We are about to travel to Iceland on holiday and had hoped to hire a car but my girlfriends Australian license (which she had held for 10 years) expired in December and as she now lives in the UK she could not renew it. She has now taken the UK driving test and passed but obviously has held her current UK license for less than a year, will she be able to hire a car?

    Thanks,

    Max

  49. Byron McBride Says:

    Dear Avis

    I am about to book a car (vectra)for 3 days (from 9 June)from Glasgow international airport but I need 2 child seats. I see I can request them at the time of booking but how do I make sure they will be there? I am coming from Australia and the car won’t be much good to me without the seats.
    Thank you

  50. Chris Cox- Reservations, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Byron,

    Child seat availability won’t be a problem when you arrive, however for peace of mind I’d recommend making an advance reservation, either through the reservations call centre or through the internet and ensuring the child seats have been added onto the booking. The advance booking will also help you to get the best price for the dates and car that you require and give you the knowledge that everything will be ready and waiting for you when you arrive.

    Chris

  51. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Max, as long as she brings her Australian licence with her UK licence (to prove her driving history) then she we will be fine.

    Have a great time in Iceland – it’s on my hit-list of places to go!

    Rob

  52. kevin grath Says:

    helo mate

    I am 49 years old and want rent out a car, as my car in currently in the garage,

    My question is that i want to also put my son whos 17 and passed his driving test and held licesne for 4 months onto that car i hire. so he can drive it.. is that at all possible?

    thanks

  53. Chris Cox - Reservations, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Kevin,

    My apologies for the delay in replying. The minimum age to rent with Avis in the UK is 23 so unfortunately your son wouldn’t be able to drive the car.

    Chris

  54. James Says:

    Why cant your company pay for all the additional extra’s including excess if they are paying for the rental. I find this very frustrating that I have to provide my credit card details when the company is happy to pay for additional insurance etc so I am not charged or amounts blocked on my credit card. They even will fax copy of the card and authorisation but always get told no

  55. Lorna Boag Says:

    Hi,

    I am 22 years old and am looking to rent a car. On the day I need the car for I will have held my license for 4 days under the required 1 year full clean license policy of most companies.

    Sadly I need the car to get to a funeral, which is more or less impossible to get to by public transport.

    Are there any special circumstances to the rule- with it being so close to the year?!

    Thanks in advance for your help,
    Lorna

  56. Michael O'Donnell- Avis Reservations, UK Says:

    Hello Lorna,

    Unfortunately the issue with holding the licence for one year will be an insurance one. Basically, the insurance will be null and void if we rent to anyone with less than a years experience on their licence. Also, for leisure rentals, if you are renting in the UK you need to be a minimum of 23 years old to rent with Avis. Again there is no insurance to cover anyone younger than this in the UK.

    I hope this helps,

    Michael

  57. Mel Says:

    Hi,

    I want to hire an avis prestige car and when I checked the ‘Terms and Conditions’ it said I needed to have had my drivers license for 2 years but I would of had it for 23 months which is one month short. I am also 25 years old which is the minimum age so that’s fine. Is there anything I can do?

  58. LWilkinson Says:

    Hi Mel, i’m afraid you won’t be able to rent an Avis Prestige vehicle unless you’ve had your drivers licence for a minimum of 24 months. Can you hang on for a month?!

    Lucy

  59. Natalie Says:

    Hi,

    I want to rent a standard car in the USA next Feb.

    I am 25 and will have held my license for 4 months. Happy to pay more.

    Can I rent with you?? If not do you have any suggestions?

    Natalie.

  60. The Avis Blog Team Says:

    Hi Natalie

    We’re afraid that for rentals in the USA all drivers will need to have held a licence for at least 12 months at the time of rental.

    Regards,
    The Avis Blog Team

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