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If you’ve booked your next holiday and can’t wait to jet off, don’t leave booking your hire car until the last minute. In fact, being organised and securing a car in advance could result in significant savings, leaving you with more money for your well-earned break.
And, according to research carried out by TravelSupermarket, now is the ideal time to book, as car hire prices in popular destinations such as the Spanish mainland and the Canary Islands are up to 26% cheaper than they were two years ago during peak travel periods.
If you are planning on hiring a car for all or part of your next holiday, the obvious benefit of booking early is finding the best price. For example, we found savings of more than 70% when comparing the price of booking online using TravelSupermarket with the walk-up price at a rental desk in Malaga Airport at the end of February*.
The closer you leave securing your car hire to the date you want to pick it up, the higher the price tends to get as you will be choosing from limited supply of cars. Prices particularly tend to rocket in August when cars are in short supply. Some car groups even sell out completely – especially the smallest cars and the large family vehicles.
This means that, as well as being able to smugly bag a bargain, booking in advance will give you the full choice of what is available allowing you to find the best car for you – whether that is a family-friendly people carrier or a sporty convertible. And, don’t just assume that the smallest car (usually called mini economy) is always going to be the cheapest option. Sometimes the next level up (economy) can work out at the same price or even less.
Prices for peak holiday periods – Easter, Whit week and August – are currently lower than they were in 2010 making now the ideal time to find a car hire deal. We’ve carried out searches for car hire during these periods and found that rental is currently 8% cheaper overall during the Easter holidays and a huge 22% cheaper in Spain (including the Canary Islands and the Balearics). For Whit week, this saving increases to 26% cheaper overall and 34% cheaper in Spain. And in August the figures show that car hire is 17% cheaper overall and 27% cheaper in Spain.
However, these prices are current and are likely to go up, so book now to guarantee a low price.
If you are planning a UK break this year, it is just as important to book your car hire in advance as prices are starting to increase around key events such as the Olympics and during peak holiday periods, including Easter. So, don’t waste unnecessary money during a staycation this year by leaving your car hire until the last minute.
If you’ve found the best car hire deal for you and have pocketed the savings, don’t undo all of your good work by wasting money on any car hire extras such as car hire excess insurance. While this is important to buy – it protects you from excess charges of up to £2,000 if your hire car is damaged or stolen – it can cost as much as £20 a day depending on the company you have bought it through and the location. So, shop around in advance for this too. TravelSupermarket has put together some handy tips on car hire excess insurance and suggest a cheaper option. Read more here.
*The saving is based on an eight-day rental of a mini economy car with pick up from Malaga Airport on February 25, 2012. Enjoy Car (via TravelSupermarket) offered eight days’ rental of a mini economy car for £28.09 while Hertz charge a walk-up price of £108.85 for the same period.