Air travel is a fast, efficient way to get from point A to point B, but what about transportation once you reach your destination?
Unless you have family, friends, or associates willing and able to take you anywhere you need to go, hiring a car is likely your best option. Car hire allows you to move around on your own time and explore by yourself, but it can be overwhelming when you’re not familiar with the process.
Travelling to San Francisco airport? Read on to learn everything you need to know about hiring a car, what to expect, and how to make the most of your rental.
Cheap Car Hire at San Francisco airport
Whilst the rates on offer change based on factors such as the time of year and how busy the hire company is, you can still make some savings if you shop smart: Skip the Prepaid Fuel and Fill Up Yourself!
Ask if you are responsible for filling the car’s petrol tank with the same amount of fuel that was in it when you picked it up. If so, the car hire company usually offers to do it for you, but that generous move comes at a premium. Save money on petrol costs by fueling up yourself.
Book Your Car Hire Early
While you might be tempted to leave off booking a car hire service to the last minute to try and save money, this can also limit your choice of hire company and vehicles. If you are looking for a specific make and model or searching during peak travel periods, you should always try to book in advance - preferably at least a month before you expect to collect the keys.
Many companies offer early booking promotions at the start of the year. This is the best time to secure specific vehicles or ensure availability during busy travel times.
Look for Discounts
If you do a little research, you might find ways to avoid certain car hire fees. For example, if you want to add an extra driver, it can cost you.
Extra Driver Discounts
You might be able to get a free additional driver offer at San Francisco, which considering you typically pay per day for the vehicle, adding another person can significantly add to the price.
GPS and Toll Transponders
Some hire companies offer a free GPS discount which is helpful when you are not familiar with the location. Of course, you can always use your phone for navigation to save.
If you plan on travelling to locations with tolls, consider whether you need a toll transponder. Typically the hire company will offer one for a cost so consider where you expect to be travelling. Fitting a toll transponder is worth your while if you do decide to cross into locations with tolls as they can help to avoid administration fees.
Free Car Upgrades
Sometimes you can get a free upgrade to get a better vehicle. You can search for upgrade offers in our car booking engine to see what’s available.
Tips for Car Hires at San Francisco
Here are a few tips and tricks that can save time and money.
- If you plan to do a fair bit of driving, lookout for companies which offer unlimited mileage. Whilst usually more expensive, some companies have charges and fees associated with going over mileage limits which can prove costly.
- Be sure to check for any damages both inside and outside before you leave the lot. Record any damages with the company, secure an employee signature on the record of damages, and take photos of the car and record before taking possession of it.
- Make sure you’re aware of what side of the road you will need to drive, as well as what are the speed limits for motorways and city roads. Save on hiring a GPS by downloading the area you will be staying in on Google Maps. This will allow you to use your phones GPS to navigate to locations without the need to use the internet.
- Whilst we do not condone drinking and driving, being aware of the alcohol consumption limits of where you’re driving is worth checking before you set out. Check to see if your current car insurance covers international travel. Be careful to make sure you cover both Third Party and damage to the vehicle, to avoid having to pay for repairs to the vehicle.
- Where possible, pay using your credit card, that way if anything goes wrong your credit card company can step in to help.
- Before leaving the site, make sure that you review all charges on your invoice and ask about any questionable fees. When you sign off, take the keys, and drive off, you essentially accept the pricing listed, and it might be too late to make changes later.
Do you still have questions about car hires at San Francisco? Read on to learn more about what to expect.
What Do I Need to Rent a Car
First and foremost, you will need a valid driving license, which depending on where you are travelling may require additional permits. It’s worth searching for in advance whether your driving licence is valid and/or whether you need to apply for a permit before you arrive.
You will otherwise need your reservation information and it is wise to carry with you another form of government issued identification - e.g. your passport
What Car Hire Insurance Do I Need?
Car hire companies usually require Third Party Liability (TPL) coverage and a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). It’s worth confirming if your car insurance provider covers rentals abroad, and if not by default how much extra it would cost to add it for your trip. When picking up your car make sure if you do use your current insurance to bring proof of coverage.
How Old Do You Need to Be to Hire a Car in the UK?
Many car hire service companies require drivers to be between the ages of 23 and 75 and also require them to have held their license for at least two years. Drivers who do not meet these criteria may need to purchase extra insurance or pay additional fees.
Age restrictions for car hire companies are determined independently, and some car hire services will not rent to drivers younger than 25. Car hire companies can also restrict certain types of vehicles to drivers 25 and older.
Terms and conditions for car hire age minimums will vary by region, based on what country or city you are travelling to. It’s extremely important to research all driving laws for every place you travel to make sure you drive legally.
On occasion car hire companies might have a maximum age limit that could prevent senior drivers from renting a car. This sort of requirement usually affects drivers who are 75 and older.
How to Hire a Car if Under 25?
Some companies charge a young driver’s surcharge and/or simply refuse to hire certain models of cars to customers under 25 years old.
It’s worth being upfront about your age and asking if the hire company will be willing to waive the fee - this is most successful if you’ve held your licence for more than two years. Alternatively, if you are travelling with someone over the age of 25 it may be worth only insuring yourself on the car for choice days - relying on them for the other days if they are happy to help.
Can I Get a Free Additional Driver?
Having another driver on your car hire agreement can mean halving the driving, as well as an opportunity to explore independently for the added driver.
That being said, it can come at a cost, which is compounded further when you consider taxes being applied to the daily rate being charged for another named driver.
A number of suppliers offer free additional drivers, which we have conveniently made filterable from within our filters menu.
Simply pick the dates that work for you above and once taken to the list of cars, select “Free Additional Driver” on the menu for the results to be filtered.
One gotcha to be aware of is when none of the suppliers available at a location or specific date offer free additional drivers, this option will be removed from the menu; so if you cannot see the option please assume it’s becaue none of the suppliers we compare have an offer available.
You can check the rates for additional drivers, as well as if there’s a limit to how many can be added, by clicking on Important Information and selecting “Driver”.