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Hiring a car for your road trip

For the last 3 years we have taken the kids on US Roadtrips.  Unlike a European roadtrip, this means my husband can go all out with his pick up truck fantasies.  My only rule is that he has to be capable of parking it.

  • When choosing a car hire firm, it’s worth checking any loyalty programmes you belong to and see if you can get any special deals e.g. Gold Marco Polo members are entitled to a free car upgrade if they book on Avis.
  • Call the car hire company and ask if that really is the best price they can give.  We managed to get a huge discount just for asking this on the phone to the sales rep.
  • You can pick up & drop off from any city although it will be cheaper if you do it from the same place.
  • Request all your kids carseats and be very specific
  • Request DVD player if necessary
  • Print booking confirmation (especially if you’ve received discount or they might dispute this)
  • Pack driver’s license (plus the counterpart for UK license)
  • Think about boot space.  You will need room for all your suitcases, strollers etc plus all that shopping you’ll do!
  • Do you need a sat nav?  Many car rentals include this at an extra cost or you can add maps to your own sat nav and take it with you.

Picking up your car can be quite a long, tiring feat.  If you have just arrived from a long flight and can’t face a drive, don’t do it.  Stay at an airport hotel and pick up the car in the morning.

On our Texas roadtrip, we picked up our car in downtown Fort Worth and it took us approx. 1 hour to get everything sorted.  Even though we had all our paperwork printed, the Customer Services Assistant still seemed to be querying the price we were given.  There are also lots of decisions you need to make in terms of insurance, designated drivers etc.  In addition, the car didn’t come with the child seats installed, instead we had to carry them outside and put them in ourselves.

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