Whether you’re packing your bags for a family vacay or booking your flight to teach English abroad, if you have an out-of-state (or international!) trip planned, you might be looking into renting a car to get you from point A to point B. The sad truth is, car rentals can be a major headache, which is why we caught up with Alexandria Marren, head of Hertz‘s North American rental car business, to give us the low-down on how to make snagging a rental car a breeze. So fire up your favorite road trip app and check out these six essential tips.


1. Consider paying for your trip ahead of time. Nothing can derail a vacation — or hurt your wallet — more than poor planning. Planning in advance will allow adequate time to determine the best routes to navigate unfamiliar areas and get the best possible travel deals. “Often pre-paying for a car rental can provide savings of at least 20 percent,” Alexandria says.

2. Make a reservation well in advance, especially if you want an SUV. Summer is one of the busiest travel times of the year. That means there’s limited rental car availability and higher pricing at many locations. To avoid paying more than necessary, Alexandria suggests making your reservation well in advance. “Make your rental car reservation when you make other travel arrangements like your flight and hotel so you can secure low rates, rather than waiting until the week before.” She adds that this is also helpful if you’re looking to book a particular car type, like SUVs, which remain in high-demand due to low gas prices.


3. Book outside of high-volume locations. We know, sometimes you have to say YOLO every once in a while and book that last-minute trip. If this is the case, Alexandria suggests to try to stay flexible, “If you do end up booking last minute and have flexibility, you might find car rental availability outside of high-volume areas.” You may have to give up the convenience of renting at the airport, but you’ll still get to go on an incredible spontaneous adventure.

4. Reserve the right vehicle for the destination. At Hertz, Alexandria and team suggest travelers to a particular terrain, such as a mountain vacation, make sure to reserve a SUV/4×4 vehicle well in advance. “These vehicles are equipped with all-weather tires, a snow brush and/or ice scraper as well as a windshield wiper solution specifically designed for clearing ice and snow,” she explains. Three cheers for safety!

5. Know the fuel purchase options before you leave the lot. So many options, so little time. Alexandria says, “There are several fuel options that provide renters with added convenience during their rentals and prior to returning their cars so that they don’t have to worry about returning the car with a full tank. Otherwise, customers should plan on filling up the gas tank before returning the car to avoid any refueling fees.”

6. Consider car rental insurance coverage. Let’s be honest: On vacay, we usually have no idea where we’re headed. And that can put us at risk. Alexandria notes, “Car rental coverage provides the peace of mind that you’re protected during unforeseen circumstances. Plus it helps you avoid substantial financial impact in the event of an accident. Your current insurance policy or credit card coverage may not cover loss of use or may require a deductible that could be avoided with car rental insurance. It is important to ask what general car insurance covers and the different levels or types of rental insurance available.”

Have you rented a car without any hiccups? Tweet us your rental car tips @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)