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News How to save money on driving abroad: Skyscanner guide to car hire charges

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How to save money on driving abroad: Skyscanner guide to car hire charges

Headline car hire deals can be tempting, but once you factor in all the extras you might need – like excess waiver, child seats and additional drivers – it can bump up the price.

From exploring medieval castles to basking on hidden beaches, when you hire a car you really get more from your holiday. With lots of low-cost providers and great deals it won’t eat into your budget too much, either.

We’ve done our research, and you can hire a car at Faro Airport in the Algarve for as little as £13* per day, in Alicante for £10* or in Malaga for a very wallet-pleasing £7* per day.

How to get a better deal on car hire abroad

There are some seriously amazing deals out there, but we reckon there’s always room for improvement. Here are a few quick and easy tips on how to save money on car hire abroad.

Bring your own child car seat

It’s always worth double-checking the luggage policies, but most airlines let you bring a child car seat for free along with a pushchair. This doesn’t eat into your luggage allowance, so you can still pack your epic swimsuit collection. Car seats get put in the hold, so label it clearly and cushion it with bubble wrap.

Consider an annual excess waiver insurance policy

When you buy full coverage insurance from the car hire company, it can end up costing more than the vehicle itself. It’s cheaper to organise your own excess waiver insurance policy separately – it can cost as little as £40** per year for driving in Europe.

Basically, the insurance company will pay your excess if anything goes wrong – like if the car is stolen or damaged. Always double check the terms and conditions of what you’re signing up for, and bring a copy of the policy with you so you know exactly what it covers and how to make a claim.

Check prices for ‘hidden extras’

Different car hire companies have different prices for extras – such as unlimited mileage, second drivers and insurance excess – so shop around a bit before booking. With Skyscanner you can compare it all on one page, so you don’t have to keep switching between browser tabs.

Be smart about your second driver

If you don’t need a second driver for the whole holiday, it’s usually cheaper to just add them for a day or two. This is handy for the heavy driving days – like road trips or long journeys to and from the airport. Some companies offer a free second driver, so double check when making your booking.

Compare pick-up points

Sometimes it’s more expensive to pick up a car in the city centre than it is at the airport. As most places have express airport buses, it’s easy to get there to pick up your car.

Rent in 24 hour blocks

If you can, try and return your car at the same time of day as you picked it up. Car hire companies count it as a full day if you drop it off later than you picked it up. So if you collect your car at 10am on Tuesday and bring it back at noon on Wednesday, you’ll be charged for two days even although you’re only using it for 26 hours.

Remember to fuel up

The best fuel policy for all car hire companies is to return with a FULL tank. Full to Empty policies are bad value as you pay for a full tank, which you’re unlikely to use all of – we don’t recommend coasting into the airport on fumes. Research the nearest petrol station before you set off and give yourself plenty of time to get there. Car hire companies charge more than forecourt prices to top up the tank, so don’t skip the last step!

Ready to start comparing? Search below to check out car hire prices for your next holiday 👇

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*Car hire prices are based on Skyscanner search results at time of writing in June 2019.

**Insurance policy prices will vary depending on provider, driver experience, and country of rental.