Most drivers, at some time in their lives, rent a car whilst on vacation. So let’s talk about how you should decide which company to use and what type of car to book.

But first let’s look at the things to be taken into account when booking your car:

1. Earlier the better: The earlier you book, better the deal you’ll get. Same way as hotels and airlines operate, rental companies have a booking engine that matches rates to demand so as the number of cars reserved gets bigger, so do the rates. Therefore based on your flexibility you must book as early as you can.

2. Day of the week: Sometimes the day of the week can also make a difference, for instance a rental location that is in a business area or a business airport will tend to have a lot of cars available at weekends and will offer cheaper rates then. This can work well if you’re able to choose the date of the flight or if you’re initially transferred to your hotel.

3. Go downtown: Airport offices are more expensive for rental companies to operate so usually you’ll find it cheaper to rent from a downtown office.

4. On/Off Airport: When booking the car check whether the rental company is on or off airport. On airport means it has a desk in the terminal area, this makes it easier to find and generally allows for a faster rental, off airport means the company will take you by shuttle bus to their location, this takes longer but will generally be cheaper.

5. Optimise the car usage: Work out how many times you’ll use your rental car. We often rent a car for a week at a time and then find for 5 days it just sat in the hotel car park. Work out what you’re going to do whilst away and when you need a car to do it. Sometimes it’s cheaper to rent the car for a couple of days and use taxis the rest of the time.

6. Small or big: The size of the car is important as well. If all you’re doing is using the car for local day trips in the surrounding area then a small car will do you fine, but if you’re doing a touring holiday then you need a bigger car to carry all your bags, souvenirs etc. plus the extra comfort that a larger car gives will be welcome when cruising along the highway.

7. Think twice before going fancy: Sometimes we are tempted to rent a fancy sports car or a convertible, it can be fun but you might be worried about leaving bags in the car or whether it will become a target for thieves, so again make sure that where you intend to go the car will be suitable.

8. Which car rental brand: In locations where all companies are operated corporately there is not a great deal to choose from between the bigger names, however in many parts of the world these big brand names such as Hertz, Avis & Budget are often operated by franchisees and quality can be patchy. Once you know where you’re going, it’s always a good idea to go online and read reviews from other users to see what they thought of the service. Make sure to leave your own comments too.

9. Internet is the king: One advantage the Internet revolution has brought is that it is easier to get multiple quotations from car hire companies as well as price comparison sites and car rental consolidators. Do your homework and check prices, in addition if you want to drive a specific model of car do make sure the company commit to that car or else you might find the ‘or similar’ applied to your rental and the smart latest model Ford Focus you were expecting has been replaced by a 2 year old Chinese brand!