How to save money on your holiday car hire

Sinead Ryan has some tips about how to save money amid soaring car rental prices in Europe...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

15.18 7 Feb 2022

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How to save money on your holi...

How to save money on your holiday car hire

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

15.18 7 Feb 2022

Share this article

Anyone heading off on a holiday for the first time in a few years may be in for a nasty surprise if they're looking to hire a car...

A mix of rising fuel prices, global supply chain problems and the pandemic's impact on many businesses means the cost of hiring a car has soared.

It's not entirely hopeless though, and on today's Lunchtime Live consumer expert Sinead Ryan gave some tips on how to save some money if you do need a car on your sun holiday.


How to save money on your holiday car hire

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Sinead explained: “Prices are up around three times their pre-COVID amount - it’s massive.

"A lot depends on where you go… but a lot of the holiday hotspots - the Malagas, the Barcelonas, the Faros - are really expensive.”

Doing price checks for two weeks in July, Sinead found that Faro was the least affected by rising prices - but only for small cars.

A Ford Focus will still set you back around €650 - that would have been around €250 in 2019.

In Malaga, a Seat Ibiza is €1,245, with Sinead observing: “That’s the price of your holiday”.

Meanwhile, an Opel Corsa in Barcelona will set you back €700 - double or more what you would have paid pre-pandemic.

One area you can save money is when it comes to excess cover.

Sinead explained: “I would say you can buy that insurance before you leave. If you buy it abroad… it would cost around €340 extra, just to cover the excess. That’s on top of your car insurance.

“You can buy it here for around €3-7 a day. Or you can buy it annually as well.

“Ignore the hard sell - just wave [your cover] in front of them. It will cover you abroad."

You can also save on various different extras.

A baby seat, for example, might cost you €30-50 to rent - but many airlines will actually let you bring your own on the plane.

Sinead said: “Same for sat-navs - you don’t want to be paying €15-20 a day for the use of a sat-nav.

"Download your maps before you go."

Other tips

Meanwhile, people are being advised not to ignore ‘fill your tank’ policies before returning their car.

Sinead said: “They’ll charge you not just the petrol / fuel costs [for an empty tank], but also a handling fee.

"Fill it before you get back - at least 10km out from the airport to get a regular price.”

Booking well in advance might not make a difference price-wise, but it will make a difference in terms of availability.

Sinead added: “If you want to save on costs as well, don’t get airport to airport. That might sound messy… but actually if you can get a hire place off-site - even if that means you need to get a shuttle bus to get there - that can be a bit cheaper.

"The car hire companies are charged a fortune to be based in the airport.

“If you can get a bus or train to your destination and hire a car in the resort, that might be cheaper again. They’re not dealing with all the business people who are coming on.”

Finally, do a visual inspection of the car you get and take photos of ‘every single panel of the car’ - the doors, the bonnet, the side panels - to ensure you note any scratches that were already there.

Double-check the contract for any scratches or dents already flagged - get those notes initalled by the car hire company so you can be “absolutely sure” there won't be any issues later on.

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Mafalda / Alamy Stock Photo

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