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.
Photo by: nito/Stock
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.
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.
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!
Photo by: Stasique/Stock
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.
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.
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!
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.
Photo by: Photographee-eu/Stock
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.
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
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.
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.
Photo by: wildman/Stock
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.
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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