Renting a car for the holidays

November 19, 2008

, NAIROBI, November 19 – As the festive season approaches, many people are already making travel plans. It is a time when car rental companies make business, as many seek rental vehicles for safaris.

According to Christine Mathagu, a car hire operator in Nairobi, many travelers operate under the misconception that car rental rates are all about the same, and that shopping for the best deals is a waste of time.

Rates will vary from one company to another, she says, explaining that the leading factor in rates is usually destination. Mathagu says car rental companies offer various deals on many vehicle.

With the holidays just around the corner, Mathagu says rates are bound to go up,  and she is therefore advocating for early bookings to beat the new rates.

She further explains that different car rentals will have different arrangements and considerations. For example the rates for submitting the hired car as agreed could depend as others charge per hour for lateness. At the same time, beware of hidden fees and extras.

While renting a car, consider various car models as well. In general, economy models translate to the lowest car rental costs as opposed to ‘fuel guzzlers’.

“Look realistically at the size of car you need. Ordering a car that’s too small can cost you time and aggravation. Reserving a larger car can cost you more money and more fuel,” Mathagu adds.

Before driving off with the car, insist on a test drive to check for any damages. Ensure that you have raised all initial scratches, dents, broken lights or anything you believe to be unsafe. This is important as rental service providers will usually charge for any damages.

Apart from a driver’s license, a cash deposit and national identity cards which most car rental companies require for registration, make sure that anyone who will drive the car while on your trip; whether it is your spouse or children has been indicated on the agreement sheet.

She explains that while some companies will not rent a car to be used by a person below 25 years of age, others never mind as long as the driver has a valid driving license.

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