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Top Ten Tips when renting a car in Sri Lanka

Even though you’ve rented a car on several occasions, it’s still likely to experience that hard feeling when you talk to the car rental agent.

Do you just want to say YES to everything or NO to a few things? The following tips can help you alleviate the car rentals headaches.

1. Shopping around online.
Check comparison Web site and get a feeling of what’s available. Then check the rental car companies’ Web sites if possible directly to see whether you can grab an even cheaper offer.

2. Do your math properly.
A rate that looks unbelievably low might not be so low when everything is said and done in black and white. Consider which taxes, surcharges and other fees you’ll be expected to pay. For instance, In Sri Lanka, VAT might be added on top of your rental fee likely to be paid.

3. Search for deals.
Always check for weekend discounts or special weekly or holiday rates. You could save on your rental in seconds if properly searched.

4. Opting for a smaller car.
Do you really need a larger car? If not, stick to your pocket. Here’s a little secret: Rental car companies often run out of economy models because they’re the most popular in the industry, so you’ll often be incentivized to a supreme car in the hopes that you’ll accept and pay for it. Be strong to say NO unless you get the upgrade at the same economy rate.

5. Any restrictions on the car.
Make sure you are aware of the “unlimited mileage” rates.

6. Extra insurance is unnecessary.
Rental agencies often request you to spend extra money on additional insurance coverage. Review your auto insurance policy and credit-card agreements; you’re almost certainly covered already.

7. Gas up at the end.
Don’t prepay for gasoline as it’s cheaper and then don’t forget to fill the tank back up before you return the car. If you fail to do so, expect to pay much more than the market price for the gas you owe.

8. Try to be on time before the devil.
If you return your car late, you may be charged as much as a full day’s rental, sometimes at a rate higher than before. If you are going to be late, call the company and explain your situation. It may help. Also, clarify what charges you might have to pay if you must drop the car off early or use it for another day for that price.

9. Avoid airport location.
If you rent a car from the airport, you’re likely to pay extra fees such as airport surcharges, drop-off fees or taxes levied. Consider renting from a different location if at all possible to avoid at least some of those costs.

10. Supply your own car seat.
If you’ll be traveling with children, you can save up a significant amount by providing your own child safety seat rather than renting one from the car company.

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