Six Tips for Renting a Car on your next Timeshare Vacation

Most of you who are planning a timeshare vacation are also expecting to rent a car. After all, your timeshare is at a wonderful destination with plenty of fun activities and natural scenery, and a car rental is almost a certainty.

Christopher Elliott, a journalist for Tribune Media Services, offered some tips recently on how to "steer clear" of some bad car rental rules and what really to expect when renting a car, which we are going to pass along to you here.

1. Rate Changes. Some car rental companies have a tendency to change your rate, often after you've driven off the lot with the car. Make sure you have in writing what your rate is, what the additional fee is for bringing the vehicle back late, and even if there is a charge for returning the car early.

2. Age of the Driver. If you are under 25 check the fine print for additional fees, often up to $20/day. And some rental companies simply do not allow drivers who are under the age of 21.

3. Additional Drivers. If there's a second driver, car rental companies frequently ask for more money, often running up to $12 per day. Gone are the days when spouses or close relatives were exempt. Every extra driver is now charged a daily fee.

4. Child Safety Seat. You will always be required to pay an extra fee if the car rental company provides a child safety seat. Although you can check your own safety seat on the airline and use that, hauling it around can be a hassle, and the car companies know that. Elliott feels that child safety seats should be no-charge since they are required by law everywhere, the same as seat belts. But don't hold your breath.

5. Car classification. Recently Enterprise re-classified its cars in order to be able to charge more for popular sized vehicles. Avis, Dollar, and Hertz have followed suit. So be forewarned, Elliott says. "Pay close attention to car rental classes. What they call a midsize the rest of us may call a compact car."

6. Refueling Fees. Many car rental companies apply a refueling service charge to all rentals under 75 miles. "Presumably, car rental companies are concerned that if someone drives the car a few miles, the needle on the gas gauge will still register 'full,'" states Elliott. "Moral of the story? Keep a receipt if you drive less than 75 miles. Otherwise, you'll buy another full tank of gas."

Wherever you go on your timeshare rental vacation, and whatever you plan to do while you're there, these tips will help make your car rental experience a pleasant one.

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