Posted by Carter | Under Travel Tips
Sunday Nov 22, 2015
Know BEFORE You Go: Car Rental Preparation
At Kemwel, we want all your travel memories to be positive ones. Where we can offer insight and advice into the travel planning process to make it as easy as possible, we do! This brings me to a few quick tips that are important to take care of BEFORE you’ve left for Europe.
While we live in an increasingly digital world, there are still some hard-copy items and pertinent information that are essential in ensuring that renting a car for your trip to Europe is a smooth ride from start to finish.
International Driver’s Permit (IDP)
An International Driver’s Permit, also known as an IDP, is an important companion to your driver’s license when renting a car abroad. It is a translated version of your driver’s license details into 10 languages that can be easily understood in the European countries where you’ll be driving your Kemwel car rental. While the rules on where the IDP is and isn’t required will vary between countries and suppliers, it is an inexpensive and effective way to ensure you won’t be rejected at the rental car desk, as well as other establishments that require a photo ID (think, drinks). AAA offices throughout the U.S. can provide you with an IDP for a nominal fee, often in the same day you complete your application! For more information on how to acquire an international driver’s permit contact AAA!
To rent a car in Europe another necessary document is your driver’s license. I’m sure this seems like common sense, but it’s all too easy to get so wound up in the minutiae of packing and pre-trip purging of your purse and wallet of non-essentials that your driver’s license can get lost in the mix. It also must be the actual license itself, not a paper proxy. I’ve spoken to countless domestic and international travelers over the years who have ranted, raged and cried because they were the only person in their party who had the ability to drive, but couldn’t take out the rental vehicle because they left their license at home or they only brought the temporary version. Don’t be that guy (or gal)!
To pick up your rental car, bring your driver’s license, IDP, passport and Kemwel car rental voucher. Not all car rental suppliers will require you to show your passport, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
As a relevant side note, any person(s) in your party that intend to drive should be aware of these mandatory and potential requirements, and be prepared to present their own documents at the rental car counter too.
When you prepay for your car rental with Kemwel there are variables, depending on the country and the supplier, as to what is and is not included in the advanced payment cost (location surcharges, daily road fees etc.). These are all disclosed as part of the booking process and also clearly delineated on your Kemwel car rental voucher so there are no surprises at the counter. To pay these charges locally, it is best that you have a credit card with you at the rental desk.
If you took a basic insurance rate with your car rental, the credit card given locally must be the same credit card in the name of the primary driver, that was used initially during the booking process. If an inclusive rate or higher level of insurance, such as a zero deductible was taken, you have the option to use the credit card of another party member for the local fees. Suppliers put a hold on the credit card in the amount of any deductibles, fuel charges, equipment rentals and local fees (as applicable). After the conclusion of your car rental, any accrued charges will stay on the card and the rest will be refunded.
When choosing which credit card to use, consider that amidst your choices Discover cards are not widely accepted in most European countries and even more rarely with car suppliers.
Debit cards are viewed as a cash transaction and therefore are not available to use with all suppliers. If advanced approval for a debit/cash transaction IS given, the amount held will be a larger sum than would be required for a credit card transaction. It also takes a longer duration to have the funds returned to you in this instance, which is an important distinction.
Another key reason that credit cards are the preferred method of local payment for suppliers is traffic violations. If you receive a traffic violation while driving a rental car abroad, it can take up to a year to process the fee. As the car rental supplier is notified, they in turn notify you and charge the applicable fee.
As you prepare for your European trip, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of contacting any banks, or credit card companies of whom you intend to use cards abroad and let them know you’re traveling! Try having an ATM eat your credit or debit card because you neglected to notify the card provider and they assume it’s fraudulent activity. Getting a hold of a credit card company is difficult enough from abroad, but try a bank. I wish you the best of luck. As someone who made this error in their youth, it is not only an embarrassing experience, but annoying and a series of other adjectives and expletives trying to remedy the situation! It is a simple process to speak with an agent prior to your departure and have them note to your account the countries you’ll be traveling to and the dates.
It is best to reserve any equipment that you will need for your European adventure in advance to ensure its availability. Car rental suppliers offer anything from ski and bike racks, to child seats and navigation units. Kemwel will arrange that these important details are included in your car rental and note them on your voucher. The applicable costs will be listed as well so you will know how much to pay at the rental car suppliers desk.
Maximize your savings by renting a Kemwel GPS unit! We offer portable navigation units to compliment your Kemwel car rental making it convenient to find your destination from on the road, or as you enjoy a scenic walk through the city. Kemwel can also provide you with cellular phones rentals to stay accessible while you’re traveling. Avoid mounting roaming fees and plan amendment costs that would be required to bring your personal cellphone abroad. Check out Kemwel’s sample rates for international cellular phone rentals.
Kemwel offers the cheapest car rental rates in the industry and we back this up with our price match guarantee. Rent a car, cellphone, or GPS unit in Europe with Kemwel today by booking online, or contact one of our knowledgeable reservation agents at 1-877-820-0668.