When you plan a car trip for the first time, all the steps look pretty easy and clear. For example, you have booked an Alamo rental car at the arrival airport, reserved a hotel room, made a list of places to go, and you seem to be 100% ready for the upcoming trip.
However, many inexperienced travelers overlook such an important process as picking up a car at the airport. As a result, many questions arise that you have to solve right on the trip. Where can I find a company representative? What should I have with me? What things should I check with the employee? How to check a rental car?
For your convenience, we have prepared a small but useful guide for those who rent a car at the airport. It includes not only the pick up process, but also the booking and returning.
How to book a car?
If you want to rent a car at the airport of arrival, it’s better to book a car in advance – 1-2 weeks before the start of your journey. Otherwise, there’s a great risk that there will be no available cars, or only the most expensive options will remain.
The easiest way to book a car is online or through a special car rental app installed on your smartphone. The sequence of actions is as follows:
- Find the required airport in the booking form.
- Enter the dates of pick-up and return of the vehicle;
- Choose the most suitable vehicle among all offers;
- Fill in your personal data and details of your bank card;
- Confirm your booking;
- Print out the confirmation voucher.
Usually, when booking a car at the airport, you will need to indicate the flight number and arrival date. This information enables the car rental company to better plan the provision of their vehicles.
How to find a car rental office at the airport?
As a rule, in any large airport there are offices of both international brands, including Hertz, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Sixt, as well as local providers, so it can be difficult for you to find exactly your supplier.
To get started, look at your confirmation voucher for the booking number and the address of the pick-up point. Some agencies have offices and car rental parking lots not at the airport, but not far from it. In the USA, most of the offices are located outside the airport, so you need to get there by shuttle. This is a free bus that runs continuously between the airport and the car rental center.
Summing it up, here’s what you should do right after landing at the airport:
- Go to the baggage claim area;
- After collecting your bags, look for the ‘Car Rental’ signs;
- Follow the signs.
As a result, you will find the office of the car rental provider, or the parking lot of shuttles that will take you to the company’s office.
How to pick up a rental car at the airport?
In order to collect your car, you must present your driver’s license, passport, credit card and confirmation voucher. After that, it’s recommended to immediately clarify with a company representative the basic conditions for renting a car – what’s included in the insurance, what additional fees or fines may be charged, speed limits and the presence of toll roads, and the conditions for returning the car.
Here are some other important questions:
Choose additional options. Refuse any additional services imposed on you – full insurance, a child seat, additional driver, prepaid fuel, if you don’t really need them.
Check fuel level. As a rule, you need to return the car with the same fuel level that was in the tank at the time of picking up the car. Most often the option is called ‘full-to-full’. However, if you have taken the prepaid fuel option, then you can return the car with any amount of left in the tank.
Inspect the vehicle body. Don’t rush to sign documents. Notice even the smallest scratches, chips and roughness found on the car’s body. Anything that you miss upon receipt can then be presented to you upon return of the car.
Check the interior. Very often there are stains from drinks and food, burned seats – mark all this on the special form.
Don’t refuel near the airport. In the airport area, the cost of fuel is always higher. It’s better to fill the tank after a couple of tens of kilometers.
How to return a rental car at the airport?
When returning a car, you have several options:
- Leave it in special car reception centers;
- In the parking lots of rental companies located next to the airport;
- In separate parking lots by leaving the keys in special boxes.
Usually, the last option is used to return a car after hours. The specific parking and location of the box must be clarified in advance with the car rental company.
Don’t forget that the vehicle must be clean, and with a full tank of fuel if you took the full-to-full option. Also, don’t be late, as you risk paying for another extra rental day.