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Car hire tips!

Look for independent excess insurance policies: Car hire companies often overcharge for excess insurance and you will find that standalone providers can be up to 90% cheaper. Just be aware that by using this method you will need to budget for a refundable deposit when you pick the car up.

Bring your own child seats and satnav: You can easily waste money by hiring satnavs and child seats directly from car hire companies. Bring your own if you can to avoid rising costs. Many smartphones now have satnav capabilities so this may save you even more money...and space in your suitcase! If you are travelling abroad for your holiday, don’t forget to check out additional charges for flying with child seats (this cost will usually still be cheaper than hiring one).

Do your checks on the car: Check the car thoroughly before driving off. Photograph, video and note down any visible damage. This will make the checking process much smoother and more accurate upon returning the car. Take a look at how much petrol is in the car before you do any driving. If you pay upfront for a full tank, you may be charged higher rates than you can get locally and in addition, you may not be entitled to a refund for any fuel you don’t use. If you are planning on travelling a long distance, it’s also sensible to clarify whether or not there is a mileage limit on your policy.

Choosing a car: Choose the vehicle that you will be hiring carefully - and don’t always assume that the smaller models are cheaper. The price of a car depends on the demand in that region, so good deals can often be found with estate cars and people carriers.

Do you really need a hire car?: People who drive a lot at home often assume that they won’t manage without a vehicle. If you are making smaller journeys, you may find that local taxi companies or public transport options offer cheap rates. If you're venturing onto Europe's roads, it may even be possible to take your own car - another good way to save.