1. Book early
It pays to book a hire car early, minimum 5 days in advance. You will generally get a better price than if you were to book the car same day you require it. The time of booking a hire car is crucial as many car hire companies operate with fluctuating car hire prices. This means the prices vary from day to day. In addition, the selection of cars is better at an early stage, and you will therefore have the option of choosing one of the more reasonably priced cars.
2. Reserving a hire car on the net
Car hire operators often give discounts to customers who book online in advance of the collection date. Hertz car hire for example gives a 5% discount to all members who book online.
It can also be wise to compare hire cars prices from several booking sites on the internet.
3. Order a free membership card from known car hire companies
Some membership cards give good discounts for car hire. Sixt gives the largest discounts in this context, and if you hire cars from them often (i.e. more than 3 times a year), as a member you can get up to a 25% discount. Avis, Hertz and Europcar also have favourable discounts for their members.
In addition a membership card provides you with other advantages and rights – including prompt treatment when collecting your hire car. As the hire company will have all your details on their database, you won’t need to fill out any forms at the counter. You can also receive better service; car hire operators often have a separate counter for their customers.
4. Say “Yes please” to receive news letters from car hire operators
By accepting news letters by email from various hire companies, you will always be up to date on the best and newest offers.
5. Be flexible with regards to collection location, collection time and car type
If you are for example going on holiday to Milan, it can be wise to check the price of car hires in Milan city centre instead of at the airport. There can be big price differences, and airport rates are often the highest. This is due to an airport fee which is added to the car hire price.
By lowering your requirements for car type and model when choosing a hire car, you can also save a lot of money.
In addition it is often cheaper to collect the hire car on a Thursday, even if you will not have need for the car until Friday. Car hire companies often include Friday under weekend rates, which is more expensive.
6. Avoid paying for optional extras and additional fees for your car
If you often hire a car, it can be a good idea to bring your own GPS instead of borrowing the hire company’s. A GPS is considered to be an optional extra for the hire car, and you will be charged an additional fee for this. One alternative can be to use the GPS on your smart phone instead of paying for the hire company’s.
With regards to extra car insurance, a credit card and your personal can insurance is usually enough. You therefore do not need to take out further more expensive insurance. Remember also to check that the hire car has unlimited mileage – if you are planning on driving long distances. You may be charged an additional fee if you exceed the mileage.
7. Drop the hire car off at the same location where you collected it
If you drop the hire car off at another location – or in another town – from where you collected it, you may be charged extra fees by the hire company (one-way hire). The fees for this are usually high, and are around 3000 – 5000 NOK.
8. Deliver the car on time
You will be charged a penalty fee if you drop the car off too late. The wisest thing to do is to contact the car hire company and notify them as soon as you are aware that you cannot make the deadline. In this way you will often get away with a lower fee than if you had not informed them.
9. Avoid parking fines and speeding fines
Car hire companies often charge you relatively high fees in addition to the actual parking – or speeding fine, – so take extra care with regards to this during the hire period.
Many hire cars are not equipped with Auto-pass chip for toll stations. Therefore it is important that one drives in the manual lane at toll stations, and pays for each crossing.
10. Get a credit card that offers discounts on hire cars
Several credit cards on the market give discounts on hire cars. Some give price reductions for hire carsworldwide.
11. Weekly hire
Generally it is cheaper to hire a car for a week rather than for 5 days (sometimes also four days). Therefore check the price of weekly hire if you are unsure of the number of days you wish to hire. Generally the daily rate decreases the longer you have the car.