Orlando International Airport - Do I need to prebook hire car

(40 Posts)
theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 01-Feb-13 19:58:34

I like to hire in advance DH likes to take his chances. What do people recommend and any particular car hire companies that are good? Would prefer one that we didn't have to get a bus to as we will be tired.
Thanks.

NoraSpect Fri 01-Feb-13 20:49:55

Last time we went we booked in advance with Alamo. You don't need to catch a bus to get there, it's just out of the doors and across the road and you're there. Really easy and great service.

specialsubject Fri 01-Feb-13 20:56:18

last time I went to America, it was MUCH cheaper to book in advance because the insurance was cheaper if bought from the UK.

mummytime Fri 01-Feb-13 21:00:00

It's much cheaper and quicker to book in advance. You can often upgrade if they have availability.

MummysPuppet Fri 01-Feb-13 21:00:13

We booked in advance with Dollar through their US site. All fine and straightforward. Have a google for discount codes while you're at it - we found one that saved us a few hundred dollars, which counts for car hire because it's not cheap!

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 01-Feb-13 21:05:35

Thanks folks. I have an annual worldwide insurance policy so we're good for that. Will check out Alamo - have found through experience in Europe that it's best to go for a well known brand and will google for discount codes.

I'm looking at convertibles grin. I know its a bit expensive, but we hired one for our honeymoon in Colorado and it ended up snowing in June so we didn't get full use of it.

nefertarii Sat 02-Feb-13 08:43:56

The cheapest way to do is to book a basic car. With top insurance. Not sure what happens if you already have insurance? I don't know if they let you hire without taking their own.

Anyway I would book before you go because if not you will need to go to all the desks to find out the best price/ who has what car etc. Tbh I couldn't be bothered after the flight.

We go to Florida every year and usually book with Alamo or budget. Both in the terminal building. You cross the road outside into the multi story and you car is there.

We flew to Orlando 20 years ago and you had to get a bus to the rental places. It was a pain. But they are all on site now.

nefertarii Sat 02-Feb-13 08:45:55

Oh also print off the upgrade prices before you go. Last time they tried to charge loads to upgrade. Dh had screen printed the prices from website and showed them and they brought it down to match.

GettingObsessive Sat 02-Feb-13 08:48:22

The travel insurance you have is not the same as the insurance you have with a hire car - your travel insurance will not cover you for car accidents or damage to the car.

Book in the UK in advance because the collision damage waiver is expensive to buy on top once you get there and is included by law in bookings made in the UK (even for a hire in the US).

RedPencils Sat 02-Feb-13 08:59:25

Are you sure your insurance covers you for hiring a car in US? We have worldwide travel and still had to pay for car insurance. You need a lot of insurance in America.

mummymeister Sat 02-Feb-13 09:42:40

book in advance if poss. we went at peak time and there was a huge queue of people waiting hours to pick up a car with the prebooked ones all going first. this was in miami but made me realise never to risk it. dont think your insurance will cover you and tbh unless 100% and you get it in writing from your company specifically i wouldnt risk it.

Bunbaker Sat 02-Feb-13 09:47:44

Another vote for book in advance. We have been to different parts of the states and have always booked with Alamo. You must take out collision damage waiver and it is cheaper to do so in the UK. We hit a deer on one of our trips (the deer was OK but the car sustained some damage). Thankfully we had CDW and the car hire company were absolutely fine with it. As has already been pointed out CDW is not included in an annual travel insurance.

After a long flight the last thing you want to do is spend ages sorting out car hire, and paying more in the process.

Hulababy Sat 02-Feb-13 09:59:35

We always book in advance - usually cheaper ime. Have a look at Travel Supermarket for suggestions - can get car rental very cheap - even under £100 for a small car.
If you have to get there they try to make you buy all this extra enhanced insurance which is very expensive and most of it not needed.

We are there in february half term and just booked car rental. We used a comparison site and booked via Budget. Not the cheapest but still only £116 for a car with air con. Not a big car as only 3 of us but in our experience many cars are far bigger than we expect, esp compared to here!

Hulababy Sat 02-Feb-13 10:00:48

Convertible lovely - but not if going in middle of summer!

Bunbaker Sat 02-Feb-13 10:09:11

I wouldn't bother with a convertible unless you are going in our winter months as you will need the air con.

mummytime Sat 02-Feb-13 10:37:29

Also it rains a lot and hard in Florida, so check if it is likely to rain.

Florida has a hot humid climate.

nefertarii Sat 02-Feb-13 10:48:48

hula and others makes great points. When are you going?
In august (during hurricane season) it will probably be too hot or posaiblet too stormy for that sort of car.

We have just been and the weather would have been lovely for a convertable.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sat 02-Feb-13 12:53:07

Hi we're going over Easter

RedPencils Sat 02-Feb-13 13:19:58

Good point about the queues, they're horrendous even when you've prebooked.
You run the risk of being offered whatever is left over once all the bookings have been dealt with. You could end up with some mega expensive 15 seat minibus! If you want something specific like a convertible then you deffo need to pre book.

nefertarii Sat 02-Feb-13 13:27:19

March last year got up to about 32. We were there. Absolutely roasting.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sat 02-Feb-13 16:24:26

Ok will deffo pre book. The insurance I got is definitely world wide, its specifically for hire cars, paid extra so it could be used in US.
Dh & DS all excited by the thought of a convertible, so am I if I am honest ! It's not too dear if we pre book.

Wheels79 Sat 02-Feb-13 16:27:26

When we tried to hire a car at Boston airport they wanted $1000+ for five days (mid-size SUV). I used my BlackBerry to book online and managed to get it for under $500 but learnt my lesson to pre-book in the future.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sat 02-Feb-13 16:45:50

Woah, thats a lot of money. Its just that in the past we have been stung by pre booking and having to wait hours in line. When we last went to Tenerife DH just went up to one of the stalls and got a car for a week for 100 Euros. I suppose it depends on the airport.

GettingObsessive Sat 02-Feb-13 17:06:11

Just as a warning, even if you pre-book a convertible, you may not get one. When we were in San Francisco recently, we (fortunately) arrived early to pick up our car. We were given the last convertible available and they had three more bookings for them.

I guess there were some pretty disappointed people that day.

clam Sat 02-Feb-13 18:14:08

God yes, book in advance!! Much cheaper and you can shop around online first.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sat 02-Feb-13 19:07:59

That would be disappointing gettingobsessive sad. We are just figuring if we can squeeze all our luggage into a convertible.

Bunbaker Sat 02-Feb-13 22:52:27

"The insurance I got is definitely world wide, its specifically for hire cars, paid extra so it could be used in US."

But does that include CDW? You absolutely must have CDW when driving in the US.

mummymeister Sat 02-Feb-13 23:16:26

agree with bun. you need in writing from your insurer specifically that it includes cdw. have done a quick internet trawl and cannot find any world wide car insurance that includes this. it is a special and specific insurance.

mummytime Sun 03-Feb-13 08:11:33

If it is the American Express one then you should be okay. Anyone else I would examine carefully. You also needto beware that when you arrive jet lagged in the US the car hire people will try to sell you insurance and any other extras they can (even if you have pre-booked).

theoriginalandbestrookie Sun 03-Feb-13 08:57:30

Hi its through icarhireinsurance.com and it does appear to include CDW as it mentions it. Its a pretty good policy recommended by the Sunday times. I will maybe email them and check if there is any insurance they recommend on top in US - but tbh it appears to be impossible to hire a car without some basic level of insurance.

Mummytime we had this experience in Italy with Gold Car (shudder never ever use them again). Despite the fact that DH showed them our world wide policy ( clue in the name) they said it wasn't valid in the name. They also said he would have to join the 2hr+ queue to return the vehicle if we didn't take out insurance shock. He resisted but in front of him a couple were in tears because the company insisted on putting a £1400 block on their credit card which meant they had no spending money for their holiday.

I'm sure the Americans can be persuasive, but hopefully not quite as bad as our previous experience.

MOSagain Sun 03-Feb-13 13:32:50

Definitely book in advance, much cheaper. We go every year and would never take a chance on arrival. When we went last year we had a 24 hour delay going out and on arrival at the car hire collection point another family we were talking to had accidentally cancelled their whole booking when our flight was delayed, instead of asking for it to be a day later. They ended up being charged nearly double for the same car because it wasn't booked advance'. Most car hire companies, ie Alamo, Herts are based at the airport, just across the road in the car park but there are still a few smaller ones that bus you out.

I'd be very wary about the insurance policy you have, I very much doubt if that will cover CDW so check carefully. Also, HUGE warning here as I've seen so many people get stung here, make sure you book the insurance you need in advance, you MUST have CDW. A lot of the other insurances you don't need. The (bastard) agents when you arrive will try to push you into buying additional insurance which you don't need and they rely on you being knackered by the time you get there and just signing anything. It is often only the next morning (usually at 5am due to time difference) that people realised they've been 'done' and its too late then, you can't cancel any additional insurances.

If you need car seats, think about taking them with you. I've known friends be charged more than the cost of a car seat to hire for 2 weeks.

Also, another tip, if you are flying say, Virgin, who do a lot of fly drive packages, try to find out which car hire company they use. The last thing you want when you get off the plane is to find pretty much everyone else who was on your flight queuing up at the same desk as you so try to book a different company.

Another tip, I always pre-pay for a full tank of fuel, saves pissing around when driving back to airport to return car to try to fill up as you get to the airport. They charge a lot more (sometimes considerably more) at the airport petrol stations so if you pre-pay, it is cheaper and you don't have that hassle and can just return as empty as you can.

Hope that helps.

clam Sun 03-Feb-13 13:54:35

Re: full/empty fuel tank, I would disagree. We got stung in San Francisco this summer when we had to start with a full tank (which we paid vastly over the odds) and return it empty. But as we only had the car for 3 days for local trips, there was no way we could use it all. And when we had a different car for a longer period of time, we'd got low on fuel a couple of days before returning the car and then had to guess how much fuel we needed for the duration. Not easy.

Much easier to start full and return full, so you only pay for what you use. Factor in finding a cheaper fuel station near but not too far from the airport. It is possible.

MOSagain Sun 03-Feb-13 15:58:07

I suppose it depends where you are going and how long for. If only 3 days and not doing much driving then possibly not worth it. But, in Orlando, where we are talking about, in my opinion (having gone at least 20 times) it is the cheapest and easiest option to pre-pay.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sun 03-Feb-13 16:21:32

I can see both sides. In Italy with (deleted swear words) Gold Car they made us pay 154 euros for a full tank of petrol in a renault megane angry As it was so hot we ended up not doing much sight seeing so only used about a third of it. They then charged us a 20 Euro admin fee for not returning it empty angry . ( More deleted swear words)

We will probably use a tank of petrol, we are there for 13 nights and DH wants to go to Cape Kennedy one day.

MOSagain Sun 03-Feb-13 17:11:26

they charged you for not returning it empty? shock
I'm pretty sure that the amount of the pre-paid fuel is agreed in advance. I will find the details of who we used last August and re-post, they were great. A few years ago we had a bit of a nasty experience with Hertz who tried to F* us over with additional insurances. DH who was tired and fed up with the kids nearly fell for it all. As a result, I am in charge of all car hire bookings for future holidays wink

nefertarii Sun 03-Feb-13 17:56:57

We have been back 2 weeks. The situation with fuel is that you can pay a little extra (sometimes its a perk of the top insurance package) you can return it empty.

This time we opted not to do this. There are many gas stations at the airport.

Had we have returned it empty we would have been charged almost $10 per Gallon to fill it up. That price varies from hire company to hire company. The price of gas is about $5.50 per gallon. So you would be paying significantly more of you return it empty.

It wasn't a big hassle to fill it up at the airport. if you are in Florida for more than a couple of days you will use a full tank. Just weigh it up at the time.

Also regarding luggage. On the websites it tells you the amount of cases and people you can get in. Its absolute rubbish. They even admit it when you get there. The car we should have had this year should have fitted 2 large cases, 2 small cases, 2 adults and 2 children.

We slays upgrade. And the size car we would have had would not have fitted the luggage.
and car seats. We always take ours. Virgin don't charge for childrens car seats.

nefertarii Sun 03-Feb-13 17:58:44

Oh and the petrol situation is with all of them and is detailed on their websites.

clam Sun 03-Feb-13 20:52:15

Well I don't know about US cars, but the boot space in my sister's convertible is compromised even further by the gap you must leave for the roof to retract.
We always have to hire a bigger car than we'd need in order to fit in 4 suitcases plus hand luggage.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sun 03-Feb-13 20:59:18

Good point about the roof retracting. There will be three of us so we have the space beside DS as well. Urk don't know what to do now, I did so fancy a convertible.

I will bring the booster seat, always bring it on holiday with us.

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 01-Mar-13 10:53:13

Car booked. We have gone for a full size 4 door wink

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