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Essential Tips for Saving Costs While Renting a Vehicle in The South of England

Renting a vehicle in the South of England is the ideal way to cover this vast region – the vibrant rural landscape of areas such as the Cotswolds and Cumbria.

Only a minority of domestic travellers will rent a vehicle – most take their own car or confine themselves to public transport options. If the process is still largely unfamiliar to you, have no fear, as this article will open the lid on several techniques you can use to save costs while booking, collecting, and returning your UK rental vehicle.

Comparing rental car costs

Before you visit the website of a rental company, visit comparison websites instead. Just like insurance, and flights, rental car companies have open access APIs that allow comparison websites to find and compare quotes for you. Let the tech do all the work.

Check for cashback

After finding the best deal, hit pause and visit a cashback website such as TopCashback or Quidco and look to see if your preferred retailer is offering cashback, e.g., 3% on any bookings made through their links.

If you use a link provided by a cashback website, you’ll typically be taken to the homepage of the rental car website and you’ll need to browse again to find the same deal. This time you’ll bag yourself a few % off!

Rein in the desire to upgrade

When renting a car, it can be tempting to scroll through the many upgrades offers and opt for a luxury vehicle. After all, because you’ll be renting for a short period, it may look inexpensive to move up a class of vehicle.

Consider your real needs – is a luxury saloon or SUV necessary? Even though you may be used to creature comforts, you will likely not miss them on a short holiday rental. With such new surroundings, you are not really going to cherish your memories of heated seats or a real leather interior as one of the highlights of your holiday. Why not spend your holiday budget on more meaningful experiences?

Opt for car hire insurance from a third-party provider

It’s a poorly kept secret that rental car companies charge eye-watering amounts for insurance policies. Your own motor insurance policy is unlikely to cover any rental cars you hire, leaving you exposed to the high excess that a rental car company may charge you if you return the vehicle with damage.

The rental firm will then offer to waive this liability if you purchase an insurance package that could cost upward of £30 per day (That’s over £10,000 per year!).

You can avoid being pressured into buying such a policy at the check-in desk by buying a tailor-made type of insurance policy designed for car hire situations. Car hire insurance is temporary car insurance that will reimburse you any excess you are asked to pay to a car hire firm (subject to terms and conditions).

Policies provided by a third party are typically much cheaper because insurance firms must compete on price to attract customers. They can be up to 80% cheaper than policies offered at the rental desk, so be sure to take out a policy at the same time you book your vehicle. Now you can drive with total peace of mind, and more cash in your wallet.

Eschew satellite navigation systems by purchasing a dock for your phone

In 2022, you would expect that satellite navigation systems come as standard on rental vehicles, but this is not the case. Firms may a healthy margin by charging wary travellers up to £10 per day for the use of a satellite navigation system.

Fortunately, there is a virtually free alternative – your mobile phone. Using Google Maps app on your mobile device, you can receive high-quality directions with live traffic updates.

To ensure a slick experience, it is recommended to purchase a dedicated phone mount for the dashboard, and a long charger cable.

Make round trips

It is costly and inconvenient for a rental car firm if you pick up your rental car at one location and drop it off at another. Travellers often follow the same patterns of travel, and this results in shortages and surpluses of vehicle stock.

Therefore, you may find that rental quotes can double if you don’t drop them off at the same location you collected. This can add hundreds of pounds to the cost of a road trip.

This is easily avoided by designing your trip around a circular route that allows you to tour while not incurring these ‘one-way’ penalties within the price you pay.