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How to get the extra mile from your holiday car hire

We'll help you pick the right car for you and avoid the pitfalls of hiring a car abroad...

With the freedom to explore destinations in your own time and open up the experiences and locations available, car hire is an extremely popular choice for those heading abroad. We'll help you pick the right car and avoid the pitfalls of hiring a car abroad.

With so many companies and services to choose from, the process of hiring a vehicle ahead of a holiday can be overwhelming. Not only are consumers faced with numerous suppliers when booking, but the differences in the way they operate can be a bit confusing during the break itself. But this needn't be the way. With a few top tips and a little preparation, hiring a car for a getaway can be a smooth ride!

With nearly 40 years of experience and a mission to take the hassle out of every holiday, Holiday Extras is the UK's favourite destination for holiday extras. Below, we shares our top tips.

1. Avoid fuel charges

When selecting your rental car, make sure you choose the "Full to Full" refuelling option. If you select the "Full to Empty" alternative (i.e. leaving the resort with a full tank and returning the car on an empty one) you may be charged an extra fee by the provider for the service of refuelling.

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2. Purchase excess insurance

To avoid paying out in case of damages, make sure you take our sufficient insurance cover for your journey well in advance. All hire comes with a certain level of insurance as standard, but this may not cover you in the way that you'd hope.

We'd always recommend purchasing a refund policy prior to collecting your car. With that in place, you shouldn't feel pressured into taking any extra insurance over the counter when you land at your destination. Car hire firms will often try and persuade you to purchase a premium insurance product on arrival but these can be more expensive and, as it's often a physical payment, it would be strictly non-refundable.

Holiday Extras excess insurance:

Holiday Extras Excess Insurance protects you for up to £3,000 worth of possible excess charges to give you peace of mind should you have an accident or damage the car in any way. You will still need to leave a deposit on arrival, but this is not a physical payment and the full amount will be released to your card following your rental if the car is returned on time and with no damage. If you do have an accident, the cost of the repairs will be taken out of the excess.

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3. Beware of mileage caps and one-way fees

Most of the providers Holiday Extras works with offer unlimited mileage. However, in certain locations, such as Portugal, some suppliers do cap mileage. In addition, you may on occasion be charged for returning the car to a different destination from the one you picked it up at. If you're planning on driving long distances or one-way, make sure you look out for mileage caps and drop-off charges before you depart, to avoid nasty surprises at the end of your journey.

4. Don't get caught out in the wrong car

Do your research before booking a car to avoid disappointment on arrival, or having to pay extra to upgrade. For example, if the car carries five people, will there be ample room for all your items of luggage or other travel needs? Booking well in advance will reduce the chance of your chosen car being unavailable when you arrive, as there isn't always a guarantee the exact car is going to be available on the day.

5. Get snap happy

We recommend fully assessing the car before you set off and photographing it from all angles to avoid any existing damage being wrongly attributed to you once you've dropped the car off. It's a simple and quick action that can provide you with a lot of peace of mind on your break.

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Most of all, if you book with Holiday Extras you'll be booking with a near 40-year old, family-run business based in Kent where over 700 people are dedicated to working every day to make your holiday hassle-free. So in the rare event that anything does go wrong - you know you won't be on your own. You can always get in touch, and one of our hundreds of travel advisers will be on your side to sort it out.