4 Easy Steps To Avoid Car Rental Fuel Charges

The mysterious charge that appears on your credit card after you return the rental car for missing fuel is annoying and virtually impossible to dispute and have reversed. It’s your word against the car rental companies. We outline the issue with examples in this article - After Rental Fuel Charges - A Common Complaint.

Fear not though. There is a way to protect yourself.

Follow the 4 steps outlined below and rest easy in the knowledge that you have an iron clad paper trail that a car rental company can't argue with. At the bottom is a simple infographic outlining each of the steps. Save it to your phone or tablet to use as a reference next time you rent a car.

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Renting under the age of 25

The situation for young drivers isn't as restrictive as it was even a few years ago when most major car rental companies didn't allow anyone under 25 to rent. These days drivers age 21 to 24 are permitted to rent at most locations operated by Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, National, Sixt and Thrifty subject to additional fees, requirements and restrictions.

In most cases these drivers are required to pay a daily surcharge that can vary by company and location. Additionally, restrictions generally apply to the categories of cars that young drivers are permitted to rent. Typically high passenger vehicles and luxury cars are off limits, however, some companies and locations will allow these vehicles to be rented for an additional fee.

Drivers ages 18 to 21 are generally unable to rent from most companies and locations. In the United States, New York and Michigan state laws require agencies to rent to drivers ages 18 and older. However, hefty fees and restrictions apply. There are other countries and companies that allow younger drivers but again there are usually additional costs and restrictions involved.

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How to Avoid Being Charged for Pre-Existing Damage to Your Rental Car

Rental car companies will inspect cars carefully upon return; do yourself a favor and perform your own inspection before driving off the lot. A little extra time and effort at the beginning of your trip will save you undue charges later on.

Walk all the way around your rental car and inspect the exterior. Take note of even small dents and scratches. If possible, check the roof. Inside the car, look for rips or tears in the upholstery and fabric. Check the ceiling and back seats. Scratches, dents, and damages to glass or bumpers are the most common claims.

Document any damage in writing on an official form or rental agreement from the rental company. Be sure to get an employee to verify and sign the forms. Both the rental company and you should have a copy of any forms that indicate pre-existing damage. It is very important that you have something in writing signed by an employee. In a perfect world, an employee would accompany you to your rental car and assist you with the inspection. In reality, you may have to track someone down.

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Guide to Renting & Driving in Spain

Renting a car makes rural Spain accessible to the traveler. Having your own car affords you far more flexibility and freedom as you travel throughout the countryside of northern and western Spain or between cities. Within the major cities, you may find the metro or bus system sufficient and, arguably, more convenient. Travelers may find the best way to travel in Spain is a combination of public transportation and rental car.

Car rentals are affordable and will be similar to rates in the United States on average however they vary wildly based on the season. In off season, you can often rent a small car for a week for less than $100 USD in resort areas. Summer and school holidays are a very different story with prices often increasing by around 200% and more - generally, cost will be lower the earlier you book a car. Most major rental companies have a presence at airports and city centers. You can also choose to rent from one of many smaller companies and may find this even more affordable. The added expense of gasoline, insurance, and tolls should be factored in. It will be required that you purchase liability insurance and advisable to also add on additional insurance. Expect your rental car to be a manual transmission. If you need to rent an automatic transmission car, plan on making a reservation far ahead of when you actually need the car.

Although anyone over 18 with a license is able to drive in Spain, you  may find companies will only rent to those over 21. While a US driver’s license is valid in Spain, it is advisable to pay the small fee and get an International Driver’s Permit. This option is available from the American Automobile Association and is an excellent idea as you travel throughout Europe and elsewhere.

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Car Rental Fuel Charges - A Common Complaint

Have you ever returned your rental car and then a week or two later found a mysterious charge on your credit card from the car rental company? This is one of the most common complaints, the charges that appear after the customer returned the car and everything seemed fine.

Post rental charges can be for a number of things including:

Damage caused to the car during the rental period. Toll road usage charges. Extraordinary cleaning. Late return. Missing fuel.

Missing fuel is by far the most common charge (closely followed by damage charges) and one that is appearing more and more often. Most companies offer options when you pick up the car to pre pay for a full tank of fuel allowing you to return it empty without having to worry about filling up just before you drop off the car. In countries like Spain and Portugal some companies actually enforce this as their standard policy, often charging the full tank at a much higher price than you would pay at a petrol station, a way for them to offer low up front prices but then make up the difference when you pick up the car.

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Child Seat Rules and Penalties in the UK

Sixt Car Rental have launched a campaign to educate consumers regarding the rules and regulations of child safety seat use in vehicles in the UK.

“It is estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Seat Check campaign that 7 out of 10 of car seats on the UK are not installed correctly.”

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Car Rental and Car Hire Fuel Policies Explained

The different fuel policies offered by car rental and car hire companies can be very confusing. In this article I will explain the various options.

The golden piece of advice here is to know exactly what your options are before you book. At the very least, know what your obligations are before you drive away to save yourself additional expense and aggravation later.

OPTION 1: Full to Full

This is by far the most common default policy used worldwide and in my opinion, it also the easiest to understand and fairest for the customer. It is very simple. When you pick up your car it is full of fuel and it is your responsibility to return it full at the end of the rental.

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International Driving Permits

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is an official document that provides a translation of important information from your driver’s license. The permit contains your name, photo and driver information translated into 11 languages, including English.

International driving permits are recognized in over 150 countries today. Many countries that do not recognize US, UK, Australian or other driver’s licenses do officially recognize an IDP. Additionally, some countries only honor valid US, UK or Australian driver’s licenses when accompanied by a local language translation, satisfied by the IDP.

Carrying an international driving permit along with a valid driver’s license from your home country, can help with language barriers when traveling in non-English speaking countries. The IDP also serves as an additional source of identification. So, buying an IDP prior to your trip can save a lot of potential time-consuming headaches. If you need to communicate with foreign authorities, an IDP can be a big help.

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Guide to Driving In South Africa

Renting or hiring a car is a readily available choice in South Africa. Most major car rental companies have branches at the main airports and in the cities. South Africa boasts a well maintained road infrastructure unlike many African countries, so traveling by rental car allows for increased flexibility and freedom particularly considering the vast distances between some destinations.

South African Rules of the Road

Driving: South Africans drive on the left hand side of the road and pass on the right.

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Video Review Of 2014 Chevrolet Sonic LS - David Adams

Have you ever walked through a car rental parking lot with your rental agreement in hand and the instructions from the agent ringing in your ears, "pick anything you like in Aisle B"?

In some car groups there are often 5 or more makes and models available for you to jump into and drive away. Do you wish you knew what each one had to offer? Comfort, power, handling, features, leg room, luggage space, Bluetooth, GPS, Cruise Control?

These are just a few of the things that I am going to cover in this series. Sit back while I take you on a tour of the inside and outside features of each car and then put you behind the wheel, narrating and drawing on my experience as a competitive racing and drifting driver.

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Video Review Of 2013 Chevrolet Impala 1LTZ - David Adams

Have you ever walked through a car rental parking lot with your rental agreement in hand and the instructions from the agent ringing in your ears, "pick anything you like in Aisle B"?

In some car groups there are often 5 or more makes and models available for you to jump into and drive away. Do you wish you knew what each one had to offer? Comfort, power, handling, features, leg room, luggage space, Bluetooth, GPS, Cruise Control?

These are just a few of the things that I am going to cover in this series. Sit back while I take you on a tour of the inside and outside features of each car and then put you behind the wheel, narrating and drawing on my experience as a competitive racing and drifting driver.

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Guide to Driving In Ireland

Renting and driving a car in Ireland can be a rewarding and safe experience if you are familiar with local laws.

To rent a car expect to be asked for your regular driving license.

You will be driving on the left hand side of the road. This means you’ll need to get comfortable using the gear shift with the opposite hand and learn to make right turns into traffic. You will also need to adjust which mirrors you use. It is a good idea to drive around a parking lot to get your bearings.

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Avis And Budget Car Rental Introduce Portable WiFi Units In 12 European Countries

Avis Budget Group have announced the introduction of a new service for their customers traveling to or within Europe.

Renters are now able to add Mobile Wifi units to their car hire bookings in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

These units are roughly the size of a deck of playing cards - actually, about the size of a credit card and the thickness of an iPhone so can be comfortably carried in a pocket or handbag. The usage allowance included in the daily rental price is 1GB per day and the download speed is 21.6Mbps which facilitates video conferencing according to Avis.

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Ibiza Airport and Car Hire Guide

Ibiza Airport (IBZ) is the airport used by almost all visitors to the islands of Ibiza and Formentera. The Ibiza Airport, Aeroport d’Eivissa, is small with only one terminal but does service a little over 5.5 million passengers each year. All parts of the terminal are accessible to people with reduced mobility.

Most passengers use this airport during the tourist season running from May to September, but there are flights that operate year round to Barcelona, Madrid, and Palma de Mallorca. Ibiza is part of the Balearic Islands and IBZ does operate inter-island flights.

Renting a car at the Ibiza Airport should be easy. All rental desks are located in the terminal on the ground floor. Companies located on airport at Ibiza Airport are:

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Orlando International Airport and Car Rental Guide

Orlando International Airport (MCO), located six miles southeast of Orlando, is sunny Florida’s second busiest airport. Both Southwest and JetBlue use Orlando as a focus city. International flights to the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America frequently depart MCO. Lufthansa runs daily flights through Orlando to Frankfurt, Germany; and Virgin Atlantic and British Airways have multiple daily flights from the UK.

Located in Central Florida and dubbed “The City Beautiful”, Orlando is a major tourist destination. Orlando offers over-the-top theme parks including Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, Legoland and Sea World. Over 50 million people visit Orlando’s tourist attractions each year. Within about an hour’s drive, travelers can take in the sun and sand at Florida’s Cocoa Beach, Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, or Canaveral National Seashore.

The layout of Orlando International Airport includes a centrally located main terminal building divided into Terminal A and Terminal B. There are four airside concourses which surround the main terminal in a hub and spoke design.

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Child Seats and your Rental Car

When traveling with small children and renting a car, car seats are certainly a requirement. Deciding whether to schlep your own along or rent one at the car dealership will depend on availability, convenience, and personal preference.

Most big name car rental companies will have a limited number of car seats available to rent for an additional fee. These go on a first come, first-served basis, so be sure to reserve them far ahead of when you will need them. You will also need to specify the type of car seat you need. For example, you will need something that can be installed rear-facing for an infant while a simple convertible car seat or booster seat will be appropriate for different aged children.

Keep in mind that some rental companies will require you return the car seat to the location you rented it from. It is likely you will need to install the car seat yourself. There is a good chance you will need to put down a refundable deposit when renting a car seat.

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Palma de Mallorca Airport Information

Palma de Mallorca Airport, also know as Son Sant Joan Airport, is the third busiest airport in Spain. With its proximity to the sunny beaches of Can Pastilla and a mere 5 miles (8 km) to the capital city of Palma, it’s not a surprise that Mallorca Airport is among the busiest in Europe during summer months. During 2012 over 22 million passengers used this airport. The airport is organized into four modules which allow up to 12,000 passengers to be dispatched every hour. The airport is clean, airy, and welcoming. There is plenty of comfortable space including a solarium in which passengers may relax.

Mallorca Airport offers passengers many amenities. ATMs are located throughout the airport. Currency exchange is available in Module A. There are play areas for children in Module A and C. Passengers may also access police and a post office. There are also meeting rooms available.  Wifi is available for a fee after the first 15 minutes.

In the Passenger Terminal there are a number of bars, cafes, and restaurants including Cafe Son Sant Joan, Deli&Cia, Espression Lavazza, San Miguel, Warsteiner, Burger King, and Sa Cala. Terminal A has Carling Pub, Cerveceria 1516, Medas Ready to Eat, Burger King, and Subway. Module B has Cafe-Cafe. Module C has Farggi, Ready to Eat, Starbucks, Warsteiner, McDonalds, and Upper Crust.  Module D has Madas Beer, Ready to Eat, Bit Burguer, Burger King, and Delimarche.

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Winter Driving Tips and Advice

Driving in winter’s messiest weather can be a stressful and potentially dangerous endeavor. Bearing this in mind, the best advice is to stay home. Just. Stay. Home. Unless there is a truly compelling reason to be out in the storm, put off travel until roads have been treated and cleared.

Here are tips if you do find yourself in an unavoidable winter driving situation.

Keep your headlights on and clear of snow and ice. Clean your windshield off completely. (Go fill your wiper fluid right now!)

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Guide to Driving In Cyprus

Cyprus is a large island located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea off the southern coast of Turkey. With long, sunny summers, mild winters, and iconic beaches, tourism is an important part of the Cypriot economy. If you are visiting Cyprus and planning on exploring the island, renting a car is a great way to get around.

Perhaps most important to know is that you will be driving on the left side of the road. For most nationalities, this means you’ll need to get comfortable using the gear shift with the opposite hand and learn to make right turns into traffic. You will also need to adjust which mirrors you use. It is a good idea to drive around a parking lot to get your bearings.

Please be aware of local laws:

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Guide to Driving in Italy

Planning on renting a car and spending some time driving in Italy? Here are few tips and some helpful information to make your experience easier.

If you have a U.S. driver’s license it is strongly recommended that you buy an International Driving Permit before leaving for Italy. An IDP is simply a translation of your license into 11 different languages. In the U.S. they’re easy to obtain for a small fee from your local AAA office, no driving tests or exams required. This should be carried in addition to your regular driver’s license. You should also have insurance papers, car documents, and any required equipment. Italian law mandates that all cars are equipped with a warning triangle and a reflective vest or jacket in the event of a breakdown; car rental suppliers provide these items for each rental car.

Don’t rely too heavily on your GPS. Double check a map to be sure you’re going in the right direction; not to another town with the same name. Also, your GPS may not denote a ZTL.

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Car Rental and Travel Tips for Italy

With more than its fair share of art, architecture, historical sites, and natural beauty, Italy is a destination we all should visit more than once. Here are some simple travel tips if you are planning to visit Italy.

Your valid United States passport is all you need to visit Italy for up to 90 days. Be sure you have applied for or renewed your passport well in advance of your trip. U.S. passports are valid for 10 years and will cost about $135. It is recommended that you make two copies of the data page - keep one with you but separate from your actual passport and give one to a friend or family member at home (or scan it and email it to yourself and someone stateside).

If you plan to stay beyond 90 days, you will need to get a visa. You should also do this well in advance of your travels. Visas may be obtained through the Italian consulate that serves your state. Don’t leave this until the last minute.

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