Wendy Shand, Family Travel expert and founder of child friendly villa specialists Tots To Travel has some important advice for families who are planning to hire a car abroad.
Getting a family with small children galvanised and on the plane is no mean feat. It means heroic levels of organisation, an enormously early start and the patience of a saint to deal with the mounting excitement of children who, on landing, can sense that they are just a few moments from the cool of the pool.…..or not!
This is the scene at just one car rental firm at Malaga airport last July. What a nightmare – especially with small children after a long journey.
When we send Tots families to their holiday villa we offer important advice to them so that they don’t find themselves in a four hour queue like the one in my picture..
So, what can you do to avoid this scenario?
Be aware that…
If you book the cheapest car hire through a comparison website, it’s likely that everyone else will too. And this is how queues like the one here come about.
First can be worst…
My advice would be to pay a bit more to avoid being stuck in this kind of queue. Don’t necessarily choose the one that comes to the top of the list, go a bit further down. I say it’s worth paying more to have a smoother start to your holiday. Being stuck in a queue after a flight with fractious children is not fun. Plus you still have the onward drive to your villa, directions to follow as well as driving in an unfamiliar car to tackle, so eliminate as many of the stress points as you can, where you can.
Alternatively, do a bit of research and find a local company that you can deal directly with.
You will get a much more personal service that will allow you to really understand the costs of your hire car, what’s included, what’s not and what insurance waivers you need to have.
Some people choose to avoid airport car hire pick up completely. Either arranging pick up from a different location (train station or city centre) or even on a different day. In either case you will easily find a taxi to take you directly to your villa or your rental car pick up point. It’s also possible to find a car hire firm happy to drop your car at your villa for you.
Renting car seats from your car hire company is an option. However it can be costly, confusing and not always very reliable. Consider taking your own with you. Here at Tots we’re big fans of the BoostApak. It’s a lightweight alternative that works really well for kids 4+.
Planning a family holiday?
A relaxing journey is all about being well organised, which is why we have put together our free Holiday Planner Pack – it’s jam packed full of great advice and travel tick lists so you don’t forget a thing.
Get your free Family Holiday Planner Pack at www.plannerpack.co.uk.