Car rental in Florida is very popular with UK holidaymakers as it offers great freedom in moving between the many theme parks and attractions, and helping to make the most of any holiday.
Having said that, there are alternatives available so it is worth considering those depending on the type of holiday you are planning and which areas you plan to visit.
For example Disney offers complimentary transportation throughout Walt Disney World Resort which means that a holiday on Disney property need not involve any driving for the duration of your holiday – including to and from the airport on Disney’s Magical Express.
If you plan to rent a vehicle, we have listed some of the points to consider below, and why not take a look at our tips for driving in Florida.
One of the most important pieces of advice when planning your car rental is to shop around. Whether you plan to book as part of a holiday package, or directly with a rental company, or with one of the many broker websites, it is always worth pricing up the different options to make sure you get the best possible deal. Prices and deals vary all the time.
Book independently or as part of holiday package?
UK travel companies usually offer car rental as part of the package – these deals are worth considering as in some cases they can work out cheaper than booking directly. Some UK companies such as Virgin offer a pre-registration service which significantly speeds up the time spent at the car rental desk in the airport.
The many broker websites can offer some great deals so these should always be investigated.
Booking direct with rental companies is sometimes more expensive than booking with a broker, however (guess what!) in some circumstances they can be cheaper so they are worth looking into. Booking direct with the car rental company can also sometimes allow pre-registration before flying, which makes the process of pick-up as simple and fast as possible.
All companies will set out the details of the insurance provided and the costs involved, so this can be considered when comparing deals.
Aside from the insurance cover which you must take out, many companies will offer additional cover such as personal effects (to cover belongings stolen from the vehicle) or roadside assistance following an accident or breakdown. If considering this type of cover it is important to understand how your travel insurance may already cover some of these areas.
You will normally have the option to select a package which allows you to return the vehicle with an ’empty’ fuel tank, or alternatively you can usually select a lower-cost option under which you must return the car with a ‘full’ fuel tank.
Different rental firms offer different arrangements under their ‘standard’ packages so it is important to fully understand the details of each deal when comparing prices between firms.
If you select the ‘return with full tank’ option but then return the vehicle without a full tank,. most companies will charge a premium for this which makes the whole deal very expensive.
Pick-up and return
Although most people may expect to pick-up and return the vehicle at the airport, many firms offer alternative locations which may be close to your accommodation.
This type of arrangement can be useful for people who prefer not to dive immediately after a long flight, and instead pick up the car the following day. Of course it would then be necessary to arrange separate travel from the airport to your accommodation.
Car size/Luggage Space
A common ‘hiccup’ for UK travellers is to underestimate the amount of space needed in their rental vehicle to accommodate all of the passengers and their luggage (including carry-on bags etc).
If you are planning to pick up your vehicle at the airport then it is important to select a vehicle which will provide enough space for the trips from/to the airport – even though this may mean that the vehicle is ‘too roomy’ for the rest of your holiday!
Many companies will offer an upgrade as part of the registration process. This may be a ‘free’ upgrade or at a cost – either way it is obviously very important to fully understand any costs involved, and to be sure that the the upgrade vehicle is worth it.
If you have researched the vehicles in advance and booked one which you know will provide sufficient space for your party, it is unlikely that you would need to take up an offer of an upgrade at extra cost – and don’t forget you may not make your wisest decisions at the end of a 9-hour flight from the UK!