to Make Your Car Rental Experience Great – Part Two: At The Rental Desk
Our last blog post provided a number of tips and advice to help improve your online car rental experience. Today, we're going to focus on the second phase of the rental process – picking up your vehicle at the rental desk. No one likes starting their vacation off with a long wait in line, so come prepared. A little pre-planning can help save you time and money, both of which can contribute to a great car rental experience.
1) Arrive on Time
Car rentals are normally rented in 24-hour blocks of time. This is why the CRX Car Rental system requires you to submit an arrival time when booking your rental vehicle. Some companies will even ask for your flight number so they can monitor any delays in your travel. While there is usually a grace period for picking up your car rental, you should always do everything possible to arrive at the rental desk on time. Generally, you can be early or late by 3 hours without any fear of a price increase. With that being said, it is always a good idea to contact your rental car company directly if your arrival time changes by more than an hour.
2) Have Your Paperwork Handy
In the last CRX blog post, we recommended that you print out your car rental reservation confirmation for your personal records. It's also important that you bring a copy along with you to the car rental desk. Pack it in a place that's easily accessible, just in case you need to refer to it at pick up time. If problems arise at the desk, try not to argue with the desk attendant – they're just trying to do their job! Instead, call the 1-800 number for the car rental company (it will be listed on your reservation confirmation print-out).
3) Vehicle Upgrades
When you arrive to pick up your vehicle, you may be asked if you'd like to upgrade the quality of your rental. Car rental companies are obligated to provide your requested vehicle or one that is better. If your requested vehicle is unavailable, this upgrade should be made free of charge. If your vehicle is available, you will likely be asked to pay for the upgrade. You are not obligated to take an upgrade.
4) Check Your Vehicle – Inside and Out
As excited as you are to get out on the open road, don't just jump in your vehicle and take off. Make sure that you take the time to check your rental both inside and out for any damage – dents, scratches, and dings. Pop the trunk and check for any tears, or stains in the interior. If you'll be picking your car up at night, pack a keychain flashlight along with your car rental reservation papers. If you find damage of any kind, be sure to report it to the attendant and that it's noted in your rental paperwork. Nothing ruins a great car rental experience like a giant charge for damages that you didn't cause.
What To Do If Your Car Rental Is Delivered
Many car rental companies now offer to deliver your car rental to you, rather than having you pick it up at the rental agency. This shouldn't change your rental pick-up approach, however. Still double check to make sure that the vehicle is in line with your rental request. If you've received an upgraded vehicle, make sure to contact the agency to ensure that you aren't being charged (unless you requested a last minute upgrade). If it isn't provided, request a copy of the vehicle walk-around. Check to make sure that all visible damages are recorded.
Once these steps are completed it's time to relax and enjoy your vacation. Next, we'll look at how to properly return your car rental vehicle to your rental agency.