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January 2016

The Benefits of Using Taxis Over Private Cars

The Benefits of Using Taxis Over Private CarsMost of us own cars that have become a luxurious necessity. It saves up on time and is convenient to move around without having to wait for public transport to your destination. The journey is customisable, and there are no particular routes that you need to follow. Despite it having several advantages to its name, it at times becomes a liability where you need to spend a large sum of money while purchasing it and then follows the cost of fuel and other maintenance charges. Not everyone can afford to take up such a responsibility due to financial constraints and often opt for other methods of travel.

One such mode of travel is a taxi that allows you to avail the same luxuries as that of a car, and you make payments for the services availed after you are done with it. Most urban cities have taxi services for the public and apart from them, several companies have privately owned cars serving the purpose of the same. These services are meant for the common people to hire and reach their destination whenever they intend to. While you analyse the difference between a car of your own and a hired car, here is a comparison put down for you to help you understand the merits of it over a car of your own.

• Convenience – You may own a car and know how to drive about all by yourself but what about the times when you are ill or cannot drive the vehicle for any given reason. There may be no one near you while you intend to reach your destination, and therefore, it is at these times does this service come to your rescue. It makes your travel convenient where they come to your doorstep to drop you off at your desired destination.

No maintenance costs – Owning a car comes along with responsibilities of spending money on maintaining it. Oil changing, refuelling, cleaning, etc. adds up to the cost incurred on maintenance which is absent in a taxi service. Hiring a taxi doesn’t include any costs apart from the fare charges that you have to pay after you avail their services.

• Hassle-free travel – Think of the time when you have to travel to the airport all alone and then comes the tension of who would be taking care of your car when you have boarded the flight. No one at the airport would be attending to it and therefore it is then when these services come it use. They would come to your house or office to receive you at the stipulated time and ensure that you reach the airport on time.

Things You Must Check On Your Rental Car

Things You Must Check On Your Rental CarRental cars are very helpful because they can save the day for you when you are looking for travel convenience in your home area or away. Apart from renting a car for your events or travel needs, you might want to rent a car when you are on a holiday to have an easier time moving from one attraction or area of interest to another. Luckily, there are so many rental car companies that offer a huge range of cars for you to choose from depending on your travel needs and prices that are affordable to you.

Even though most of these companies give their best in keeping their fleets in top shape for the sake of the customers, you as the customer must ensure that you do important checks before renting that car. The checks are important because they give you peace of mind that the car won’t disappoint you when you are already on the road. These checks are important regardless of the distance you wish to cover in the rented car.

Air conditioning – This is a very important check during summer months. Test the system to make sure that it functions properly and check the air flow strength and whether the temperatures are cool enough for your preferences. The last thing you want is to get roasted while driving on hot summer days.

Heating system – This is just as important as the air conditioning, especially in winter months. Ensure that the air flow is adequate and that the car takes reasonable time to warm up. A rental car that has a good heating system will make your journey more enjoyable no matter how low the temperatures go as you travel. Also important to check are the defrosting capabilities of the car so you are assured they will function when you need them most.

Fluid levels – Good car rental companies will make sure that the fluid levels are checked when the car is returned so they are ready for their next rental but it helps to check before you rent the car of your choice. The brake fluid, windshield washer fluid and oil are some of the most important fluids to check. Ensure they are filled up to the appropriate levels to avoid any inconveniences when you finally hit the road.

Damages – Knowing the state of the car right before renting it is very important. On the exterior make sure you check for preexisting dings, dents and scratches that could end up attracting charges when you return the car. Stains, unpleasant odors and other damages should also be checked on the interiors. Make sure that all preexisting damages are recorded to protect you from unjust charges later. If you do not like how the car smells, maybe because it was used by smoking customers, you can always ask for a non-smoking rental.

Car stereo – The DVD player, cassette player or radio should be operated beforehand to confirm that the system is in good working order. Long journeys can be boring and some entertainment can keep you excited.


Checklist for Your Next Car Hire

Checklist for Your Next Car HireRenting a vehicle at home or abroad can surely be a lifesaver adding convenience and saving your costs.

Below is the checklist you must consider while finalizing your car hire.

Driving License: Your Driving license will be requested at every rental. You must ensure that your driver’s license is issued by your country of residence and held for a minimum period according to local legislation or conditions. In addition to your normal Driving License, your International Driving License is also mandatory if your driving license is written in a language different to the one of the renting country and/or in characters that cannot be read in the renting country. Note that your International Driving License is valid only if accompanied by your normal Driving License.

Don’t forget your Credit Card: It is mandatory for all travellers to provide their credit card for authorization purpose. The rental company generally holds an amount which is estimated based on length of rental, Applicable rate including tax, Incidental charges such as gasoline, etc. This amount is not debited but just blocked and is generally released few days after the rental and all charges have been paid for.

Identification document: A valid passport or your national identity card must be carried for all rentals abroad.

While the above mentioned items are mandatory for the car hire company. Below are few tips that must be considered by you before driving your car hire.

Insurance: While insurance can be very expensive in most countries, it is always recommended to include insurances to avoid any unforeseen expenses. Reputed car rental companies generally include third party insurance which covers third party property and vehicles but that does not cover the vehicle you are driving. Hence, it is always advisable to atleast purchase a basic insurance as it will still be a cheaper solution incase of any damage even if you do have to pay extra in excess.

Check the vehicle thoroughly: Before you drive away make sure all external & internal damages, if any on the car is recorded on the paperwork the company has given you to sign. As a precaution take your own digital photos of the car.

Extras / Equipments: While on new ground it is always recommended to have a GPS or Navigation system to avoid losing your way and wasting time. Owning a GPS would definitely be a cheaper option but if not your car hire company can provide this along with your rental vehicle at an additional cost. Don’t forget to request in advance for a baby / child safety seat if you have a baby travelling with you.

Fuel Tank: It’s always better to choose a fueling plan that allows you to return the vehicle with the same amount of fuel it had when you picked it up.


Car Rental Hidden Fees

AlamoHave you booked your car rental for your next vacation? Think you know what the cost will be? Beware of car rental hidden fees. You may be paying more than you’re expecting.

Hidden Fees
I took a trip not to long ago and picked up a car rental at the airport. After my trip, I returned the car and picked up my receipt. That should be it, right? Sadly, no. After I returned home, I found I had been charged not only for tolls but the convenience fee of using the toll transponder in the rental car.

Most car rental companies have a toll transponder in each of their vehicles. This is supposed to make it easier for you. You can just simply drive through the toll booths without having to stop and the transponder will calculate your tolls that you owe at the end of your trip. Great deal, huh? Not so much. Once you pay your first toll, a convenience fee goes into effect. This fee is charged each day until the end of your rental period or you hit their maximum.

Here are some of the car rental convenience fees:

  • Alamo, AVIS, Budget, National, Enterprise: $3.95 per day, maximum $19.75 per month
  • Dollar, Thrifty: Enroll in PlatePass or $15.00 admin fee per toll, maximum $105.00 per rental period
  • Hertz: $4.95 per day, maximum $24.75 per rental period

My bill actually reflected a convenience fee for each day of the car rental even though the toll was incurred on the last day of the car rental. After a call to the car rental company, they reversed the convenience fee for all of the days except the last one. But, I still ended up paying triple what the actual toll would have been as the charge was the convenience fee plus the toll for that day.

Avoiding Hidden Fees
Trying to avoid paying these fees can be tricky. If possible, avoid the toll booth by driving an alternate route. If you must go through the toll, then elect to pay the toll rather than using the toll transponder. I was told by the rental car company that if you do this, you should ask for a receipt, in case the transponder bills you anyway. If you have the receipt, then you can dispute the charge. Some toll roads don’t have an option to pay, once you go through one of these, you’ll not only be charged the toll, but the convenience fee each day until you reach the maximum. One of the best ways to avoid these toll roads is to use a GPS. In the GPS, set the option to “avoid toll roads”. If you can avoid the tolls, then you’re on your way to avoiding car rental hidden fees!