Renting a car while traveling is essential for some destinations. There are some places where we can get by with public transport, but in others, car rental helps a lot.
We have already done several itineraries where car rental helps a lot to save time and brings a lot of freedom for your trip. With the car, you are more independent and are not tied to tour and transport schedules.
In some cases, the absence of public transport makes some unfeasible car-free travel itineraries.
Here, we have already highlighted some options for itineraries by car in São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s worth following our tips.
But first of all, let’s check out the essential tips and frequently asked questions when it comes to renting a car.
Car Hire: Travel Tips and 10 Questions and Answers
1 – What do I need to rent a car?
- The driver must have a valid driver’s license, but the minimum driving time depends on the rental company.
- Remember to check that your driver’s license will be valid for the entire period of use of the vehicle.
- Minimum age is 18, but some places may require an older age.
- Some rental companies may allow younger drivers, but in this case, a fee called “under age” is required. When booking, check how it works.
Do you need a credit card?
In the case of car reservations in Brazil, it is necessary to have a credit card, in the name of the driver and with an available limit. The card is necessary as the rental company usually charges a pre-authorization amount when picking up the vehicle. This amount is refunded when the car is returned.
If you don’t have a credit card, some rental companies can also make the rental possible, but you’ll need to go through a credit approval process.
- In case of car reservations abroad, you must have a valid passport and international credit card.
Who can drive the vehicle?
- It is possible to include other additional drivers, obviously with daily fees.
- It is important to inform this when picking up the vehicle, as the name of the additional driver must be included in the insurance contracted.
- The qualification rules for additional drivers are the same as for the main driver.
Is the Brazilian CNH valid abroad?
- Each country or sometimes even each region has a rule. We have already traveled to Europe with only the Brazilian CNH and that was enough.
- The driver’s license is required when picking up the car.
- For those traveling to Mercosur countries, only the CNH is enough.
- In the United States, the Brazilian CNH is also well accepted, with the exception of the state of Georgia.
- For some places, it is necessary to have the PID – International Driving Permit. If you want to feel more secure, I think it’s interesting to issue the PID for travel abroad.
2 – How to rent a car?
Currently, many rental companies already make the reservation process available online, either through the rental company’s website or through mobile applications.
Localiza has Localiza Fast, which greatly speeds up the vehicle removal procedure via cell phone. The process is so practical that you don’t even need to go to the rental counter, just go directly to the car.
The process through the rental company’s website is also very practical. You define the pick-up and return location of the vehicle and the lease term. Based on these data, the rental company will present all the car models available in the location you have chosen.
- We generally choose to pick up and return cars at airports, as the variety of models in these stores is greater. But you can also choose stores that are outside the airports. Fees may be lower.
- Also keep an eye out for extras, such as insurance, GPS, baby seats and even a driver. These extras affect the final rental price.
- At the end of the process, do not forget to write down the reservation number generated, as it will be necessary to pick up the vehicle at the agency.
- Some rental companies ask for a reservation or printed voucher. Just in case, we usually take it on paper.
Remember to provide your flight number and airline. In case of flight delays, the rental company can monitor and guarantee your reservation even after the grace period.
If you are not familiar with this booking process, you can also do the entire process through a travel agent.
3 – How to rent cheaper cars?
- Among your trusted rental companies, check for partnerships or promotional codes. Localiza, for example, has a page for offers and partnerships.
- Be very careful with prices that deviate from the average price.
- In Cancun, for example, we found that there were rental companies with much cheaper prices than their competitors. They were rental companies that we had never heard of, but as they were from other countries, we were in doubt.
- We went to evaluate user complaints and there were many. In general, about fees that the rental company puts later (and that end up making the price equal to those of competitors) and about the quality of vehicles and services.
You know that saying: cheap is expensive? Well, in the case of car rental it is the purest truth.
- Don’t risk your trip: always look for well-known companies. From our own experience, we highly recommend Localiza’s services. The difference in quality and service is significant.
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4 – Is it possible to pay the car rental in installments?
- The possibility of installment and the number of installments varies from rental company to rental company.
For rentals in Brazil, Localiza pays in up to 10 interest-free installments on American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club International and Elo credit cards (issued in Brazil).
- Abroad, payment in installments is more difficult to find. There are some agencies that allow payment in advance and in installments in reais, even without charging IOF.
Does the rental time affect the price?
- Yes and no. Car rental companies often work with prices for a week. If you rent in a shorter period, you will pay practically the same amount.
- That is, the price is the same, but in practice it is more expensive because you will be paying the same thing for a shorter period.
- So, go to the rental company’s website and do several simulations to check the price difference.
- Sometimes you can extend your rental period without necessarily increasing the final value.
5 – Do I need to book in advance?
- First of all, booking your car rental in advance can save you a lot of money.
- This is because the earlier you book, the more vehicle options you will have available. And with the increase in supply, the price possibilities also increase.
If you book at the last minute, you will have few vehicles available. And prices can be more expensive.
- For us, who always rent automatic cars, this is an even more important issue, as the supply of these vehicles is smaller.
- So we always book at least 30 days in advance.
- Remember to check if the booking process can be done with the free cancellation option.
- It is important to check the deadline for free cancellation. Usually the deadline can be 12 or 24 hours in advance. If you cancel without this advance notice, the rental company may charge an additional fee.
6 – Free or controlled km?
- Nobody wants to go on a road trip by controlling how much of the road you are traveling. Remember when we said that renting a car gives us more freedom?
- For those who are very detailed in planning, you can even opt for controlled mileage, as you are already aware of how many kilometers you will travel. Thus, you also save on the rental value.
- Caution: if you exceed the set mileage, the charge can be brutal.
- But in our case, we decided to opt for freedom. We pay a little more but prefer the freedom of free mileage.
- Also check the vehicle movement restrictions.
7 – Do you need to hire insurance?
- Insurance is highly recommended and some rental companies already include basic protection insurance in their prices.
- Other rental companies, such as Localiza, present values without insurance and with insurance, which gives greater flexibility to the user.
- This alternative is useful because some credit cards offer free car insurance to their customers. But in this case, it is important that you have not purchased insurance from the rental company.
- But watch out. These insurances offered by credit cards work through reimbursement (that is, you pay the expenses and then get reimbursed), and the process is not always as agile as you need.
- The most important insurance is CDW/LDW, basic protection (coverage in case of theft, theft, damage and breakdowns in the vehicle).
The problem with this basic insurance is that it has a deductible, which is usually a little high. In the event of any damage or breakdown to the vehicle with a value lower than the deductible, even with the basic insurance contracted, you need to pay this amount.
- Rental companies usually offer a supplementary insurancewhich serves to cover all expenses, without deductible.
- It is also possible to protect against damage to third parties (also not provided for in the basic protection).
8 – Is it recommended to accompany the inspection of the vehicle upon removal?
- Super recommendable. Look at everything: cleaning, hygiene, conservation, damage and eventual breakdowns.
- Everything must be noted at the time of inspection, so when you return the car, you are protected from possible accusations.
- Also check if the car has a spare tire and how to use it. There are cars that have different ways of accessing the steppe.
- Jack and wheel wrench are also items that need to be checked.
- Also check that the car manual is in the glove compartment (believe me, we already need to use it) and that the radio and dashboard (if any) are working properly.
- And most importantly, ask for the vehicle document and always keep it with you.
Always have the rental phone number handy in case of emergencies.
At this time of picking up the vehicle, it is also important to ask any questions about the car with the rental company’s employees. Especially abroad, you may not be familiar with the type of automobile.
9 – How does the car rental return work?
- Remember that you need to return the car at the time and at the store specified in the booking process.
- The rental company can adopt cleaning and sanitation fees, values of the rental company. To avoid unnecessary or excessive charges, do a basic cleaning of the car before returning it. It doesn’t have to be anything too strict.
- For damages, they do a thorough examination on the return, so be careful.
Do I need to refuel the vehicle when returning?
- Yup. If you do not fill up the car, you will be charged for this, at the values defined at the rental company, which will certainly be higher than at a gas station.
10 – Is it possible to return the car in another city, country or state?
- Remember that at the time of making the reservation you had to define the pick-up and return store. All this affects the price of the rental, if, for example, you choose to return the car to a different location than the pick-up.
- If, by any chance, you return outside the specified store or outside the scheduled time, you will be charged for this.
- At the time of the research, you can do several simulations to verify the amounts charged in case of return in a destination other than the pick-up. In some cases, this situation may not be available.
- Search properly. The further away the return location, the higher the price.
- We already prefer to take a car in France and another car in Italy, rather than having the same car for the entire trip.
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