Top tips for getting great car hire deals - hiring a car abroad

Hiring a car when you are on holiday can be the perfect way to see the sights. A hire car can take you to all those hard to reach places where public transport never ventures.

Getting the best car hire deals requires a little research, but it's worth it to avoid paying extortionate prices. You need to be sure what you are actually getting when you hire a car abroad.

Getting cheap car hire abroad

  • Use a price comparison website to search for cheap car hire deals
  • Search for small, independent car hire companies that often don't appear on price comparison sites - they might have cheaper car hire deals
  • Book your hire car well in advance as early birds sometimes get cheaper rates - you'll also have more choice
  • Pay by credit card so that you can claim money back if the car hire company overcharges you
  • Airport car hire firms can charge more, so consider booking your hire car outside of the airport
  • Take your driving licence with you, both the card and paper versions. Most car hire companies will need to see both when you pick up your hire car. Take the originals as they won't accept photocopies
  • In some countries you might need to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP). The AA can tell you which countries require an IDP
  • Consider booking a hire car as part of your package deal for extra protection, even though it might not be the cheapest deal. Most travel agents are members of ABTA, the Travel Association, so your money will be protected; they are also more likely to use car hire companies that stick to the rules.
  • Check out popular cashback sites such as Quidco or to see if you can get any cashback on your booking.

Avoiding hidden extras on your holiday car hire

  • Find out if your car hire premium includes collision damage waiver (CDW) which covers damage to the hire car when it's in your possession. Most firms will include this in the price, but an excess will probably still apply
  • Consider buying car hire excess insurance as the excess could be as much as £1,500
  • Many car hire companies allow you to add an additional driver free of charge, while others charge extra
  • If you are under 25 you might have to pay a large surcharge when hiring a car abroad
  • Don't pay for Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) or personal effects insurance on your holiday car hire as they will already be covered on your travel insurance policy. offers a range of comprehensive single trip and annual travel insurance policies
  • Return the hire car with a full tank of petrol to avoid paying an excessive fuel surcharge
  • Some car hire companies have the option of paying for fuel upfront. Check that the fuel price is lower than the national average to make it worthwhile

Getting a great deal on car hire abroad requires a little extra planning and research. It's definitely worth it - you could end up with a better deal and avoid having to pay unnecessary surcharges.

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