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When you arrive at your destination after a tiring flight, no doubt you’re keen just to collect your car and head off as quickly as possible. Ever heard of the phrase short term pain, long term gain? Well that certainly rings true when collecting your hire car.

By spending a few minutes familiarising yourself with the vehicle, you may save yourself a lot of hassle en-route. Read our handy guide to help you head off to enjoy your holiday with as little hassle as possible.

Stress-free car hire collection tipsPhoto by: nito/Stock

Check your documentation

Before travelling, check that your driving licence, passport and credit card are still valid and have not expired. We would advise you to do this at least 2-4 weeks before travelling, to give you time to request replacements/renewals if required. Some car rental providers in certain locations will also require other paperwork, such as proof of address or an International Driver’s Permit. This can be especially true if you’re hiring a car in the UK.

Have your pre-paid rental voucher handy

All bookings made through Zest will have a pre-paid car hire voucher. You will need this printed and to hand when you collect the vehicle. The voucher contains details that prove that you have pre-paid for the hire car and allows the representative to track your booking, providing you with the correct vehicle category.

Zest recommends…
If you’re unable to print your car rental voucher, or don’t receive it, contact our Customer Support Team. You’ll also need to contact them if you arrive at your destination and you’ve forgotten or misplaced your voucher.

Why this is important:
Without your voucher, your collection may be delayed or even cancelled!

Stress-free car hire collection tipsPhoto by: Stasique/Stock

Know where to go for collection

Your rental voucher will contain collection details and instructions for locating the representative from the car rental provider. There are various collection procedures available, which you can find out about here, and these will be highlighted when you book on our website. Make sure you pick a car rental provider that can offer a collection procedure that suits you, and be familiar with the collection instructions when you arrive at your destination.

Zest recommends…
If your flight is delayed or cancelled, you need to inform us as soon as you can.

Why this is important:
Failure to arrive at your chosen collection time may result in the vehicle being unavailable to you. Find out more about how a delayed or cancelled flight can affect your car hire booking.

Zest recommends…
If you’re unsure about where to go to collect your vehicle, contact us immediately. A dedicated member of our Customer Support Team is available on our emergency helpline 24/7. We would rather you contact us immediately so we can help you than waste vital holiday time!

Know what type of vehicle you should receive

If you’re not sure that you’ve received the right vehicle, query this with the representative. Although an exact model can’t be guaranteed, you should always receive a vehicle that’s similar to the specifications you booked. You can find out more here about why the vehicle you receive on collection might be different to the one shown when you booked. If you’re still unsure, contact us for clarification.

Stress-free car hire collection tipsPhoto by: Photographee-eu/Stock

Check for any blemishes

We advise you to inspect the vehicle carefully when you arrive. Generally, the car rental provider will note down any pre-existing damage on the hire documentation. However, if you notice any damage which is not detailed, bring it to the attention of the representative right away.

Be sure to also check the spare tyre of the vehicle to ensure it’s present and is safe to use, should it be necessary.

Zest recommends…
Make sure that you also take photographs of the vehicle upon collection and return, including the fuel gauge. A video can also be helpful.

Why this is important:
It ensures that any damage noticed when you return the vehicle is not charged to yourself, if you’ve not caused it.

Get to know the vehicle

Make sure you’re on first name terms before you drive away. Familiarise yourself with the controls, including the indicators and air-conditioning. At this point, if you’re unsure of how to operate something, inform the representative from the car rental provider right away. They will be able to assist you.

If you’ve hired a Sat-Nav, you may find it’s been left in a different language, probably the language of the person who hired it before you. You may not be able to check this as you head off, but if you find you’re unable to change the settings, ensure you contact the car rental provider for help.

Why this is important:
Don’t wait until you have driven away to get acquainted with the main controls of the hire car. It can be extremely difficult (and dangerous) to try and focus your attention on finding the air-conditioning button, whilst trying to navigate around unfamiliar roads!

Look over the vital signs of your car

Not exactly vital signs, but there are key aspects of your vehicle that you should give a cursory look over before driving away from the car rental provider. These include;

  • Tyre pressure
  • Washer fluid
  • Oil

We appreciate that you may not have the time to do in-depth investigations but raising issues with any of the above before you drive away will save any further problems into your rental.

Zest recommends…
Often in hot locations you may find that the windscreen is dirty. It can be worth checking this over before you drive away and asking the representative to clean it should you feel necessary.

Stress-free car hire collection tipsPhoto by: wildman/Stock

Do your research!

Don’t wait until you arrive to research local road laws and traffic signs. We have some handy driving guides, as do the AA. Here, it lists the local road laws for each European country. Even if you’re a frequent traveller, it always is worth referring to these helpful guides, as road laws can (and do) change.

What if I need to contact the car rental provider during my rental?

Their contact details will be on the rental agreement that you sign on collection. If you can’t locate their contact details, we operate 24/7 emergency telephone support and can contact them on your behalf. We can also be made aware of issues via online chat and email during our normal office hours (but bear differing time zones in mind if you require a response!) It’s always better to make us or the provider aware of any issues as they arise. It can be difficult to resolve certain issues post-rental.

Heading off on the open road…

Hopefully, by following the checklist, you will be able to save yourself some valuable time and hassle during your holiday. We want you to be able to enjoy your holiday as soon as possible, and not experience stress from the rental car that can be easily avoided!

Written by Jessica Juby.

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  • David Hardwick 27 Feb 2018

    Thanks for the info

  • Chris Sarson 27 Feb 2018

    If you have taken out excess insurance through Zest or have an annual policy, take a copy with you. The hire car company is likely want sell this to you at a high price and you need to show them that you already have full cover.

  • Mike Harrison 27 Feb 2018

    Another helpful hint would be pairing your phone to the hire car before driving off!

  • Neil Hartshorn 27 Feb 2018

    Why dont you advise on the question of EXTRA insurance.
    I’m sick & tired of being railroaded by a person who tells me the extra insurance
    I’ve bought from Zest is not worth the paper its written on & i must buy the Centauro
    Extra insurance at ridiculous prices.
    Its pressure, pressure, luckily i’m strong enough to ignore them but hundreds can’t and it must run into thousands of pounds over a season its a disgrace and you should be pressureising the EU before we leave.
    I was even threatened in Malaga, ‘no insurance payment no car’
    Dont do nothing !!!!!

    • Jessica Juby 2 Mar 2018

      Dear Mr Hartshorn,

      Thank you for your comment. We do advise in the booking confirmation email that it is not necessary to take the local insurance product, should one be offered to you. We also advise that should you feel uncomfortable or concerned by the way in which this is discussed, you can contact us at the time for assistance. Unfortunately, we cannot stop the providers from offering their own insurance as they are entitled to do this.
      We operate 24/7 emergency telephone support so you can contact us at the moment you have an issue so we can work to resolve this. Certain issues can be difficult to resolve post-rental.

      You may find it useful to read our complete guide to car hire insurance: https://www.zestcarrental.com/blog/2017/08/11/complete-to-car-hire-insurance/

      Should you have any queries regarding this, our Customer Support Team would be more than happy to assist you.

      Kind regards,
      Jessica
      Zest Car Rental

  • Sue Wolstenholme 27 Feb 2018

    All good advice but first you have to have the car! After smooth flight, fast luggage I arrived at collection desk for Travelrent in Faro – 1st in queue then had to stand around for 15 mins waiting for car to arrive. Extremely annoying and no apologies- staff thought it amusing. Similar thing happened to my daughter three weeks later. Been coming to Faro for years and more efficient in the past

    • Jessica Juby 2 Mar 2018

      Dear Sue,

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I apologise for this experience you’ve had in the past with Travelrent. Should you face a delay in future with the car rental provider, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the time so we’re aware of your dissatisfaction and to allow us the opportunity to work with the provider to resolve the issue.

      Kind regards,
      Jessica
      Zest Car Rental

  • John Taylor 27 Feb 2018

    I struggle with 2 issues. I’d like to see worry free insurance via the supplier. I have yearly cover but jumping through hoops to meet the terms and conditions is unacceptable. The cost to a supplier would be approximately €1 a day as they negotiate with massive bargaining power. It’s criminal that we the consumer are being ripped off. The second issue is a vehicle in the same group. I don’t accept a Seat is the same as A VW Golf. I don’t accept a cheap Fiat as the same group as a Citroen Berlingo. A vehicle may give the same seats but they are not in the same price category, so again the consistent ripped off

    • Jessica Juby 2 Mar 2018

      Dear Mr Taylor,

      Thank you for taking the time to leave your suggestions.

      Unfortunately, as we do not offer the local insurance on behalf of the car rental provider, we cannot comment on this issue. If you have an annual policy, it would be worthwhile checking the terms of this to see whether you need to take out a local policy. We offer our additional top-up insurance which can be considered. You can find out more about insurance for car hire in our blog here: https://www.zestcarrental.com/blog/2017/08/11/complete-to-car-hire-insurance/

      Also, as the vehicles are grouped into categories by the car rental provider, we have no control over this but can note your dissatisfaction. The provider will always endeavour to provide a vehicle that has the same specification as the lead model stated. Should you feel that you’re being given a vehicle that is not of a similar specification as the category you booked, please contact us at the time for assistance. We can liaise with the provider to check whether you have been provided with the correct vehicle. For more information, you may find our blog useful, which explains why the vehicle you receive on collection may vary: https://www.zestcarrental.com/blog/2017/09/26/vehicle-categories/

      Kind regards,
      Jessica
      Zest Car Rental

  • Peter Rushton 28 Feb 2018

    Check the inside of the vehicle. seats for cigarette burns and any other kinds of damage.
    On the last car i hired the vinyl cover on the floor of the boot was damaged i think from suit cases. It was like it when i picked the car up but thought nothing of it, but after returning the car they tried to charge me for the damage.

  • I hired a car in March 2018 from KINGS through ZEST,the car was delivered to my hotel after a few phone calls, it seemed to me the rep was in a hurry so after giving him all my details I asked a question.
    What about excess insurance that I had purchased through Zest, the comment was from him, OH YOU HAVE PURCHASED THROUGH THE HIRE COMPANY, CLAIM OF THEM.
    MADE ME SUSPICIOUS.
    This was my third hire over 12 month so I trusted the rep, WRONG MOVE
    I went and checked the car and there WERE marks on every panel, strait away I phoned ZEST and took photos.
    The body work was terrible and the seats were shocking.
    I travel myself so I would suggest you insist for the company rep to check the car when you are there, and take photos.
    I sent photos to Zest.
    Hire car companies in Portugal do not like it when you take other insurance.

    • Jessica Juby 9 Apr 2018

      Dear Mac,

      Thank you for your comment. To clarify the insurance, all bookings through Zest come with Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) with zero excess liability. We also offer our additional optional top-up insurance which covers damage to parts of the vehicle that CDW excludes. Therefore, as you had taken out this additional cover, no further insurance was necessary. In the event of an accident, you would be required to submit a claim and any necessary paperwork to the insurance provider, Questor. As this is supplied through ourselves, we are able to liaise with relevant parties, as necessary.

      It’s always best to ensure that pre-existing is accurately recorded and that you have photos or videos of the vehicle.

      Kind regards,
      Jessica
      Zest Car Rental

  • Ron Martyn 8 Apr 2018

    Car hire was okay in Portugal recently except the girl told us about their insurance and when I said we had zests own she denied all knowledge of it.A little strange I thought. Also why can’t they put a duster or cloth in the car for cleaning mirrors and the dashboard. It gets really dusty in hot counties.

    • Jessica Juby 9 Apr 2018

      Hello Ron,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear of the approach from the provider’s representative on this occasion. Please be assured that the additional top-up insurance provided is always valid provided you meet the terms.
      Unfortunately, I suspect that a cloth isn’t provided because it could cause issues with it being lost/damaged. It would be another item that the provider has to check for which could be inefficient in readying the vehicle for the next hire, and cause delays, especially during peak season.

      Kind regards,
      Jessica
      Zest Car Rental

  • Alastair Gordon 9 Apr 2018

    I have been renting at Malaga Airport for years. Recently the car hire company has become keen to charge for damage – when before existing damage was not noted on the hire form – now the form may have many areas of damage noted pre-rental.
    However the car hire company is clear that the onus is on the renter to ensure that all existing damage is documented these days. They feel it is not their problem particularly. Last month I was assured at the desk there was no damage on the car. in fact there was a large scrape on the bumper. This was spotted on return – and the firm attempted to charge me for it – at least I had pictures of the whole car showing the damage before I drove off (even though I did not spot it until the following day) – and the manager accepted this evidence so no charge was made.
    However the firm repeatedly said that it was up to me to note and document damage. They are clear it is the renters problem mainly.
    I think you should recommend at least 10 minutes to check the car for damage as it is picked up – more at night. A camera is vital. Flash at night a must. If undocumented damage is found then it will probably take another 20mins to have this documented.
    So: I will now be budgeting 30 minutes to pick up the car, if there is no queue. This is a vital step – and the car hire company has little incentive to do it well – there is the chance that the next customer will pay for existing damage!!

    Your advice regarding rental is sound wise and detailed. Well worth reading.
    I do feel however that you might usefully expand the part about checking for damage and documenting it fully.
    Otherwise a very expensive charge may be forced on the renter – who will inevitably have a plane to catch and be in a poor position to argue.
    Regards
    Alastair Gordon

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