How much can you save by booking car hire in advance?

Hiring a car overseas can cost nearly 12 times more if left until the last minute, new research suggests.

According to comparison website TravelSupermarket, holidaymakers pay significantly more when renting at the airport desk than if they’d hired the same vehicle in advance on the net.

On average, drivers can save 59% by being proactive, although that figure jumps to 91% in some locations around Europe.

Texas road in the sunset

The big savings

Based on figures for the February half-term week at ten of the most popular holiday destinations, car hire in Malaga would cost £17.12 when purchased in advance online, or a little over £2 per day, compared to nearly £200 if purchased at the airport!

A saving of £181.19 for the same period highlights the main advantage of booking in advance, with huge savings on car hire also possible in Alicante and Malta.

Booking in advance at the Spanish resort would cost holidaymakers £16.98 for the week, compared to £133.16 for a similar vehicle for the same time at the airport desk, a saving of 87%.

Meanwhile, in Malta, a week’s rental was priced at £8.57 – just £1.07 per day – when purchased online before travelling, compared to £58.51 at the airport – a saving of 85%.

At the opposite end of the scale, the cost for car hire at the rental desk in Geneva, the half-term’s most popular destination of those studied, was priced at more than £455!

Even in Switzerland though, a saving of nearly £100 was still possible by booking online, representing a saving of around 20%.

Swiss road

Don’t leave it late!

If you book a holiday last minute, you’ll be left with no choice but to sort car hire late too - not only does this mean a higher cost, it may also limit the choice of available vehicles.

The majority of cars in the popular destinations will be rented out in advance during the peak season, so you may find you end up with a vehicle that doesn’t have enough luggage space or that doesn’t suit your needs!

You can also save by considering car hire excess insurance in advance, as this is also considerably cheaper when purchased online via a third party before going on a trip.

This cover protects against the excess fee that would need to be paid should your hire car be damaged while you have it – a figure that could amount to tens or even hundreds of pounds!

Date Created: 25/02/2020

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