We all travel for different reasons, I wonder what yours is? Some people travel for business, others for pleasure and it’s very easy to say ‘pleasure’ when asked why you travel.
Is that the real reason though? Some people travel because they just can’t seem to stay put. A bit like Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, for some, travel is an adventure, you start out on a path, never knowing where you’ll end up.
For others, the actual travel bit is a bore, they look forward to arriving. For quite a few, it’s the travel they enjoy, the destination never quite living up to its promise.
In todays era of being able to compare prices for almost anything, it’s no wonder that people want to compare car hire rates before they book, just to be sure they’re getting a good deal.
Car hire comparison sites started out as just that, a site that showed you all prices from all suppliers. You’d put in your dates and the software would query the databases of car rental companies and show you a list. Each car would have the supplier logo/name beside it and you’d click through to the actual supplier site to complete the booking.
This worked pretty well, the comparison site made commissions the car rental companies got the booking and you got the car of your choice. Or did you? Once you’d made the booking, the actual comparison site often couldn’t or wouldn’t help if you had a problem.
They didn’t easily know who you’d booked your car with and so couldn’t help. This cause a lot of problems for people who wanted to change or cancel their bookings. Then as the web evolved and speed became a necessity not a luxury. This way of comparing car hire rates lost favor.
Brokers like Aspect have the comparison built in now, so when you get a quote, you’ll have a choice of cars and additional items and those prices are updated ‘on-the-fly’ to keep up with demand and supply.
So if one supplier drops their rates in a particular location, other suppliers will too, to keep up. Conversely if a supplier raises rates in a location, because the demand is great and cars are now in short supply. Other suppliers may follow suit. Naturally, if they have a lot of stock available, they may lower their rates to get the business. They may then raise them at the last minute as their cars are booked and supply is outweighed be demand.
The benefit to you is that you always get the most current and competitive rates and, at Aspect we strive to help if you hit any obstacles.
The UK maybe a small island off the coast of France but it’s big in terms of history. It also has some stupendous coastal regions as well as mountains, lakes, rivers and forests.
If you’re visiting from the US or Europe you need to remember we drive on the other side of the road :). We also have some pretty fierce traffic, especially around London and Birmingham so you’ll need to be aware of that.
If you rent a car during your holiday remember that in the UK it’s mandatory to charge a security deposit of £500 Sterling. This is unavoidable so you need to remember that your credit limit will be reduced during your trip.
To avoid a lot of problems you should print out all the booking details as you make the booking. This will include what you’ve already paid for and, what you’re covered for. When you book a fully inclusive car rental deal with Aspect you should be covered for ALL legally required insurances.
At The Car Rental Desk
Once you’re at the car rental desk, 99 times out of 100 everything will go as planned and, as you expected. On the rare times it doesn’t there are a few things you need to know.
Some taxes by law need to be paid locally. They cannot be included in the pre-paid rate. This should have been made clear at booking, so make sure you read EVERYTHING.
You will generally be offered add-on insurances. These are optional and can be refused. Just remember that things like the undercarriage, tires and windscreens are often NOT covered. So don’t go off road, even in a 4×4.
If there is an excess on the insurance, you will need to pay this at the time of pick-up. usually this is done by taking a ‘swipe’ of your credit card.
If extras like child seats, SatNav’s and extra drivers etc, were available free at booking but you did NOT book them, you will have to pay for them at the desk. there is no way round this.
In the rare event that a desk clerk insists you pay for something you think is covered before allowing you to take the car. REMAIN CALM, difficult to do I know but you will get better results if you remain calm.
Show them your print out, point out where it says you’ve already paid. If they still refuse, ask for their name (often they wear a name badge) and the name of the manager or supervisor. Ask for a contact number for head office.
Do not delay in informing the rental company of what’s gone on and lodging a formal complaint.
As soon as possible post on their social media page (the car rental company) and ask for a resolution. If you can’t do it get someone else to on your behalf.
Most companies will try and sort things out for you if you take this approach.
Some taxes must be paid locally, so double check when booking. You will generally speaking, always be offered add-on insurances. No matter how ‘pushy’ the staff, these are optional. If you haven’t booked things like child seats when you booked the car, you will need to pay for them locally.
Always remain calm, no matter how murderous you may feel.
Use social media like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to management, as well as the more conventional email, phone call or letter.
It’s something we’ve been aware of for some time, women are travelling on their own more and more. Gone are the days when they used to travel in gangs, or is that gaggles? But seriously, many women travel on their own and I’m not sure why people are surprised.
Nor am I surprised to find that independent women travellers are shaping the travel industry. After all, if there’s a market segment to exploit, the travel companies will because that’s what they’re there for. To make money.
Certainly we see as many women booking a rental car as men. Many times a family group will have a woman as the lead driver. We could I guess, ascribe that to stereotypes, you know, Mom is the one who doesn’t ‘work’ and Dad is the one who does and so needs a holiday!!
I think it’s just that more women work, drive and stay single longer. One ‘problem’ that remains though is that women who travel alone do need to take more care, or at least, that’s what we all think. But is it true?
Let’s face it, no matter where you are in the world, men are just as vulnerable to attack from other men as women are. It’s just that we don’t think like that. A woman picking up a rental car is just as safe as a man, if both are on their own. It’s when they’re driving down a dark alley that things might get a bit hairy. So the sensible thing for both is, not to do it.
Men are less likely to be attacked by a couple of women than vice versa but really, that’s the only difference surely?
Of course, we’re a car rental company, so we’re more interested in where’s the best driving in Europe. That then begs the question, what sort of driving? Speed, quality of road surface? Or do you look for winding roads, that take you through glorious scenery?
If you’re looking to rent a cheap car in Spain and you want a 7 seater we do have competitive rates which you can check out here >>>>
However, be warned that they are considered more of a ‘luxury’ class of car so ‘cheap’ can be relative. It will also depend on whether you want to rent in Malaga or Madrid, inland or on the coast.
Where exactly in Spain you want to rent can have an effect on the price. If you rent somewhere that is serviced by a lot of car rental companies, then you’re likely to get a lower price because there’s more choice for you, so more competition for the companies. Unfortunately if it’s the other way around and you try to rent in a place that has only one or two rental companies, then the price would be higher.
Spain also has many fiestas, some of which are small local affairs and others which are national or regional. These also affect the price of hire vehicles including 7 seaters. That’s because as you might expect people converge to enjoy the party! For large regional and national fiestas, flights are more difficult (and expensive) to get and that also goes for renting a car, whether it’s a 7 seater or a small economy class car that will really only take 2 adults and 2 small children.
So if you want to rent a cheap car in Spain from a small car to a large 7 seater, then you’ll get the best price by booking early. Remember to read the terms of hire so you know what to expect and then, just enjoy your trip.
Many people are confused by the terminology “on airport”, “off airport”, etc. Hopefully, the following information will help clarify some of the differences.
“On Airport”. This terminology is often used to describe locations where your hire car is actually parked in the Arrivals Terminal but, more often than not, also refers to hire cars that are parked in a compound within the boundaries of the airport.
Where the hire cars are parked within reserved areas of the terminal then the car hire companies’ check in desks will almost certainly be located within the Arrivals Hall. You will check in at these desks and, after check in, be directed to the bay in which your hire car is parked.
Because of the premium for space in airport terminals these facilities are generally in the minority.
In most other cases you will take the hire car company’s shuttle bus from the Arrivals Terminal to their compound. Here you will find located their check-in desks and, again, after check-in you will be directed to your hire car.
Personal experience tells us that although check-in within the terminal itself sounds the best option, you may find that going to the compound on the shuttle bus often means shorter lines and less time delays for check-in! It also stands to reason that because of the premium a car hire company must pay to be in the terminal itself their hire rates may not be as competitive as some others without those additional overheads.
“Off Airport”. Some smaller airports (and many non-USA airports) often use off airport compounds to store their hire cars. However, the procedure for picking up your hire car is the same. Take their shuttle bus from the Arrivals Terminal. The trip to their compound may be a few minutes longer than with “on airport” hire car companies but, again, their prices may be more competitive and actual check-in procedures/times may be less hassle.
Occasionally you will be offered a “meet and greet” service.
Generally, this service is favoured by the smaller car hire companies who may not be able (or wish) to pay for expensive parking space. This does not mean that their hire cars are of a lower standard – in fact their rates may often be lower than their competitors for obvious reasons! Its also usually pretty hassle free as your name will be displayed on a board held up by their representative as you leave the Arrivals Hall (or Customs) and you then have a virtually one-on-one service to complete the paperwork and take you to where your hire car is parked.
You should not be concerned – whichever method your car hire suppliers uses. Your car hire voucher will contain full instructions as to how to pick up your hire car.
The earliest days of the car rental industry are shrouded in some mystery. Unsurprisingly, it seems to have started in the United States.
However, the general consensus of opinion seems to be that the first commercial car rental was done by a Joe Saunders from Nebraska.
Joe, apparently, started out by renting out his Model T Ford at 10 cents per mile – using a mileage meter to count the miles travelled. A nice little story is that the first rental was to a travelling salesman who rented Joe’s Model T in order to impress his local date! We don’t know if that’s true but it has a nice ring to it!
Joe went from strength to strength. By 1925 he had car rental agencies in 21 states! However, just as everything was going nicely along cam the Depression and Joe was forced into bankruptcy.
Concurrently with Joe Saunders’ successful years a Walter Jacobs was also developing a car rental business. He survived and sold his business to the owner of Yellow Cab – a John Hertz. In due course Hertz sold out to the mighty General Motors. With their massive investment in the business Hertz became the leader and is still the largest car rental company in the world today.
After World War II the car rental industry really came into it’s own. Because of air travel businessmen started flying to their appointments – what did they need when they arrived at their destination but a rental car!
Airport Car Rental – A New Opportunity
Around this time an ex army pilot named Warren Avis realised the potential and concentrated on providing car rental from airports. By concentrating on airport rentals for business travel, Avis grew to be the second largest car rental company in the world – second only to Hertz and today have gobbled up competitors such as Budget.
In the 70s and 80s the big car rental companies started into the used car sales business – by selling off their older cars direct to the public. Some major car manufacturing companies tried takeovers in order to ensure that the car rental companies bought their huge fleets from them!
After 9/11 car rental companies were badly affected as a result in the decline in air travel. However, recent years has shown an upsurge in the industry and the Internet has spawned a plethora of car rental brokers. These brokers, with their lower overheads and huge buying power, are often able to undercut the very car rental companies from whom they obtain their rentals!
A Personal Car Rental Story
A little personal anecdote. Back in the mid fifties I was living in Montreal. Every Friday evening I would fly to Ottawa to visit my girlfriend (in those days Ottawa airport had a grass runway!
I had a standing reservation for a rental car every week – supplied by Tilden, Canada’s answer to Avis. One Friday I arrived at Ottawa and went straight to the Tilden office (then, it was a wooden “shed”!). No car and no staff!
I called the emergency number provided and, in due course, a gentleman in a white Tuxedo arrived with my car. That man was Walter Tilden, the President! In the absence of any staff he had come personally, from a party, to bring me my car. Needless to say I was very impressed with the service – but not nearly as impressed as I was twenty years later when I found myself again in Montreal on business. I contacted Walter Tilden and was amazed to find he remembered the incident! (Maybe I was the cause of him missing a really good party!). Tilden was subsequently taken over by National Car Rental.
If you decide you want to rent a car you may think it just means that you book on line or call a car hire company and that’s it. Sadly that’s not strictly true. For example, let’s say you want what is termed a ‘compact’ car. You look on the site and see that a VW Golf is cited as the ‘typical’ model. You may own one and know and like it, you may want to try one just for the fun of it. You book the car and get you booking confirmation and you think all is well.
Fast forward to the day you pick up the car, to your dismay you’re given the keys to a Skoda Fabia. What to do? Nothing is the answer because cars are booked by the group size not make and model. You may think this is nothing to worry about or, like many you may get quite upset. This is not the reason you should worry however, it’s all a matter of size, when it comes to booking the right hire car, size does matter!
My husband is 6′ tall, he fits into a Kia Venga but not the Golf, he has a spinal fracture so can’t bend as much as others but it was the actual headroom that was the problem. You can usually up-grade to a bigger group at pick up but usually that costs more than booking a bigger group from the start.