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The freedom to explore at your own will, a practical way to transport the family around, avoidance of public transport… whatever your reasons for hiring a car on holiday, the most important thing is getting a good deal that works for you. Finding the best car hire deal goes far beyond price. Remember that the cheapest car hire offer may not necessarily be the best one for you. When you use TravelSupermarket, we give you all the information you need to find the right deal, whatever your budget.

While it’s likely that you already know where you’re going and roughly how much you want to pay, there’s a lot more to consider when it comes to hiring a car abroad. Fuel policy, car type, transmission, pick-up location, the number of doors, and whether the vehicle features air conditioning… there’s a lot to think about!

Luckily, TravelSupermarket is designed to make life easier for you. Simply type your destination and travel times into our search bar at the top of the page and we’ll do the rest. Once you’ve reviewed the range of car rental deals on your screen, you can narrow down your search results using our useful filters. We work with some of the biggest names in the business, such as Avis, Enterprise, Alamo, Europcar, Hertz, Sixt and National, so that you can compare a range of big name brands and find the best deal for you.

If you’re after something different to a traditional hire car, you can also use TravelSupermarket to compare mini-bus hire, one-way car hire, and longer term car hire rental.

Top tip! A larger car may not be as expensive as you think, so do check the costs of both small economy-size cars as well as larger models to get best value for money.

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Find answers to your questions

Driver requirements and responsibilities

What do I need to hire a vehicle?

A valid driver’s licence, a valid ID (passport, ID card etc.), and a credit or debit card. Any additional drivers will also need a valid licence and ID. Some rental companies may also ask for proof of address, although this should be on your driver’s licence. Check with your renter before your holiday.

How can I save money on a rental car?

Shop around before you buy and compare a range of rental companies. Travel outside of peak holiday periods.

Can you rent a car with cash only?

No. Most major car rental companies will require a credit card to block out a deposit. Some will also accept a debit card.

What age do I need to be to hire a car?

This varies from country to country. In the UK, you need to be at least 23 years of age to rent a car. You’ll also need to have held a driving licence for at least one year.

Can I hire a vehicle at 21 years of age?

The minimum age for car rental varies from country to country. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to rent a car at 21. In the UK, for example, the minimum age is 23.

What happens if I pick up my rental car late?

There is usually a grace period (generally, one hour) before the car is made available to other renters. This can be longer in airports or railway locations (generally, two hours). If you know you are going to be late, you should contact the collection point – you may be able to get a longer window.

What documents do I need to rent a car?

A valid driver’s licence, a valid ID (passport, ID card etc), and a credit or debit card. Any additional drivers will also need a valid licence and ID. Some rental companies may also ask for proof of address, although this should be on your driver’s licence. Check with your renter before your holiday.

What is car hire excess insurance?

A policy that covers the first part of any insurance claim (the excess) that the claimant is usually liable to pay. This amount is usually between £500 and £2,000. With car hire excess insurance, you will not have to pay anything.

Payment, fees and confirmation

Can I rent a car with a debit card?

Most major rental companies now allow you to rent a car using a debit card. However, you will need enough money in your account to cover the deposit. Always check with your rental company before you travel.

Do I need insurance to rent a car?

All rental cars come with some level of insurance; without it, they wouldn’t be legally drivable. Usually, you’ll find that a rental car comes with Collision Damage Waiver (damage or theft) and third-party cover. Cover differs from country to country, so always check the small print.

How can I rent a car without a credit card?

If you do not have a credit card, you may be able to rent a car using your debit card. A number of major rental companies now accept debit cards. Bear in mind, you will need enough money in your account to cover the deposit.

How much is deposit for rental car?

Deposits can range from £150 to over £3000. In some cases, it may be even more, depending on the type of vehicle.

Picking-up and dropping-off

Can you rent a car and drop it off in another city?

Yes. One-way rental is quite common and can be arranged through most major rental companies.

Can you rent a car same day?

Yes. Compare online in advance for the best chance of getting a good deal.

After rental

What happens if you damage a rental car?

Depending on which part of the car is damaged – for example, the body work – you’ll likely have to pay an excess amount (the first part of any insurance claim that the claimant is usually liable to pay). However, if you damage the windscreen or the roof (both of which are not included in standard Collision Damage Waiver insurance), you’ll likely have to pay towards repairs.

Do I need to clean my rental car?

If the car is in a reasonable state when you return it, then you will not have to clean it. Most rental companies carry out a ‘standard’ clean as normal practice. However, if they have to go beyond this to ensure the care is in a rentable state, you could be charged extra.

What happens if you bring a rental car back early?

Nothing. You won’t be refunded for any days you don’t use.

Covid-19 car hire FAQs

Is it safe to hire a car?

Rental companies have taken several steps to keep customers safe when hiring a car. Many have introduced stringent hygiene checks for their fleets, focusing on high-touch points such as door hands, the steering wheel and gear stick, and glove box. That’s in addition to increased office sanitization throughout the day.

In general, expect rental desks to have screens between customers and employees, and fewer people in a rental office at any one time to assist with social distancing.

Although mask mandates have ended in many places across the world, you may still be required to wear one when picking up your vehicle. If possible, you should book and manage your reservation online.

Are companies offering contactless rental pick up?

Yes, some car hire companies now offer accelerated or contactless pick up. Europcar, Avis and Alamo, for example, are reducing time at the counter by allowing you to pre-register your details online. When you arrive, you’ll only need to show your driving licence for verification and pay before going to your vehicle. Companies including Alamo and Sixt also offer contactless pick up at select locations. They allow you to select your car either online (Alamo) or via an app (Sixt) and skip the counter to go straight to your car. 

Can you get a refund if you contract the virus or need to self-isolate?

Many car hire companies have introduced flexible bookings, but you should check the terms and conditions before you part with your money. In general, if you did not pre-pay for your booking, there will not be a cancellation fee. Already paid? Some companies, such as Avis and Europcar, allow fee-free changes and full refunds up to 48 hours before the pick-up date. Terms and conditions will vary by provider so it’s best to get in touch directly with them if you are unsure. 

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