The road best
Car rentals can
improve your trip
IMAGE COURTESY OF BUDGET RENT A CAR SYSTEM, INC.
By T. Foster Jones
FOR TRAVELERS still getting back on their
feet after the tough economic times, and for
everyone else, a road trip can be a fun and
affordable vacation option. If a road trip, family
vacation or family get-together is in your future,
you might want to consider the advantages of
using a rental car rather than your own.
For instance, if you have family and
friends visiting during the holidays, rather
than putting wear and tear on your car or trying to squeeze everyone into a compact
sedan, you can rent a van or SUV.
If a ski trip or other winter getaway is in
your plans, renting a car specifically designed
to handle those types of weather and road conditions can not only make the trip easier, but
provide you with safety and peace of mind.
Many rentals have state-of-the-art features such as GPS and electronic toll payment service.
For a special occasion, what’s cooler than
cruising in a dream vehicle such as a Cadillac,
a Corvette or a Hummer? Or, if you’re thinking green, you might choose a hybrid or a
rental company’s coverage
becomes too expensive.
Possibly your own auto insurance
policy applies to rental cars, as well. It’s
important to consult your policy and your
insurance agent to verify coverage. This is
especially true if you’re going to rent a high-end car that exceeds the value of your insured
Once you are at the rental counter, be
sure to read over your contract carefully. A
common mistake that renters make is unintentionally accepting or declining insurance.
you let someone not included in
the rental contract drive
the vehicle, you risk voiding the contract, and claims against the company’s insurance coverage—and even your own personal
insurance coverage—may be compromised.
So, play it safe and put everyone in the
contract. Most companies won’t charge extra
for your spouse, but you should ensure that
his or her driving privileges are provided for
in the contract.
Rental companies generally offer you the
option of either paying for a tank of gas in
advance (at a self-serve rate) and bringing the
vehicle back empty or refueling it yourself.
While the prepay option is cheaper than
returning the vehicle empty and paying the
higher per-gallon amount in the contract,
there is no guarantee that it will be cheaper
than refueling the car on your own. Plan
accordingly: If you know that you won’t be
using a full tank (250 to 300 miles), don’t use
the prepay option.
Happy trails! C
Steps to take before hitting the road
Whether you’re traveling on business or
with the family, a little preparation can make
the car rental process relatively simple.
Make your reservation at least one week
in advance, and find out about the company’s
cancellation policy when you make your reservation. Then check back from time to time
leading up to your rental date to see if the
price has gone down. Most car rental reservations do not have a penalty for changing your
reservation since a credit card is not usually
required at the time of booking.
Car rental companies have a menu of
insurance policies. According to experts, if
you’re renting for a couple of days as a business traveler or a few days to a week as a vacationer, it’s a good idea. If you have a long-term
rental, however, you’ll probably find that the
Costco Travel drives some deals
BECAUSE MANY TYPES of vehicles and
special offers (for weekends, weekdays,
upgrades and more) are available through
Costco Travel, you’re likely to find the deal
that works for your road-trip budget.
“A real money saver is that Alamo,
Avis and Budget waive the additional-driver fee for Costco members who book
through Costco Travel,” says Sarah
Gaudet of Costco Travel’s car rental program. When more than one person can
take the wheel at no additional cost, everyone can relax and enjoy the ride.
Costco Travel offers great savings
and special offers when you rent a car
from Alamo, Avis, Budget or Enterprise.
And there’s one more way to save on
your road trip: Costco members receive
special savings at Hyatt Hotels &
Resorts (U.S. and Canada) and Best
Western hotels, so you get great value
when you drive and when you arrive!
Book online in the Travel section of
Costco.com, or call Costco Travel toll-free at 1-877-849-2730.
Restrictions apply. For complete
terms and conditions, visit the Travel
section of Costco.com.—TFJ