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Driving holidays in Europe - Plan your self-drive motoring holiday

Top 10 car hire tips for vehicle rental in Europe. 10 things you should know when renting a car

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Driving abroad is one of the best ways to see the sights and get around on holiday. There are many companies that offer cheap deals on car hire in your favourite holiday destinations. However before you book, read through our car hire tips to help you make your decision and to drive safely.

1. Make sure you choose a vehicle with adequate storage that will also comfortably seat your party: If you need an MPV, donít just book a vehicle that will seat everybody, ensure it also has enough storage space for all your luggage. Looks can sometimes be deceiving.

2. Book early: If you are travelling in the high season, car hire and car hire extras can become very limited. Extras such as ski racks, child seats and GPS can usually be booked at the same time you book your car.

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3. Make sure your car can handle the terrain: This is especially important if going on an adventure holiday or place where you may need to take the car off-road. Nowadays, car manufacturers are aware of the amount of people who buy into the Ďoff-roadí market despite using their vehicle for just normal everyday purposes such as city driving, or taking their children to school etc. Research a vehicle before simply opting for the one that looks up to the job.

4. Check driving laws and emergency numbers: Driving legislation differs from country to country, therefore it is best to familiarise yourself with local driving laws and customs before departing. Moreover it is also a fine idea to make a note of emergency numbers such as highway patrol or take a number for a breakdown company.

5. Accustom yourself to your hire carís features before you drive off: Check which side the petrol tank is, how to use the headlights/windscreen wipes/indicators etc. This may be patently obvious to some, but similar model cars to your native country may not always function in the same way abroad.

6. Inspect the car for any damage: After inspecting the car for any dents/scratches etc, also make sure the lights and other functions are operating properly and be sure to check the tread on the tires. If there are any problems, report them immediately. In not doing so, you may end up being liable for any damage that was already there before you got the car. It is also worth making a note of the carís mileage before setting off.

7. Car Insurance: Be aware of what insurance is needed, depending on where you hire your car many companies require you to pay excess on any damage caused during an unlikely event of an accident. However there are packages companies offer where they reduce excess to zero or refund you the costs. Enquire about these packages when making your booking.

8. Check the small print: There may be additional costs for driving one way and returning your car at a different destination, or if you are under 25 a young driverís supplement may apply.

9. Petrol or Diesel: even if you are pretty sure what fuel your car takes, ask anyway. It doesnít hurt to confirm the type of fuel it takes, using the wrong fuel might end with you having to pay a large fine to have the fuel tank cleaned.

10. Prepare yourself for returning the car: If you need to put fuel into the car, do so at a petrol station away from the airport. Garages tend to bump their prices up the nearer to the airport you are. Also be sure all belongings have been taken out of the boot/armrests/glove compartment etc.