Business Travel: Hitting the Road by Rental Car
As a business traveler, it’s convenient when you can walk, use public transportation or hail a taxi to get to a meeting. But there are other times when you’ll need to rent a car.
Here are some tips to keep in mind before you get to the rental counter.
First, check with your insurance provider and with your employer to make sure you understand your rental-car coverage. Don’t assume it’ll be the same as renting a car on vacation. Different rules may apply for business travel as opposed to personal use. It’s also a good idea to contact your road service provider to see if the coverage you have with your vehicle extends to a rental car. If you don’t own a car and plan to rely on insurance included with your credit card, check with the issuer to confirm all the details of your coverage.
Before you take the keys and drive away, find out when the car last had maintenance ¬— if it was too long ago, that should raise a red flag. Even though the rental agency’s customer service representative will do a visual inspection, take a few photos of your own so that you have proof of the car’s condition. Do a visual check of the tires to make sure they’re well inflated, and there’s no significant wear in the tread. Also, put in your mobile contacts the phone number you should call if there’s a problem with the car or if you lose your keys.
Remember that you’re getting into an unfamiliar vehicle. So, it’s important to learn where everything is located before you leave the lot.
Make sure you know where the emergency brake is located, how to adjust the seat and side and rear-view mirrors, how to use the window controls and hazard lights and turn on the heat and air conditioning. Try the windshield wipers, the turn signals, and headlights. If you want to listen to the radio, figure out how to turn it on or program it before you leave. When you’re ready, take the car for a quick spin nearby to make sure there aren’t any readily apparent problems or troubling sounds.
If renting a car is part of your regular business travel routine, then it’s a good idea to get an extra USB car charger and mount for your smartphone and leave them in your suitcase. While the rental car will most likely have a USB port, a dedicated device will do a better job of keeping your phone charged and providing enough power for a GPS app.
While your employer may have a preferred rental car agency for business travel, you may be able to save your company some money. For example, an off-airport location will tend to be cheaper. Also, pay close attention to the rate structure. By extending your rental for an extra day, you may be able to take advantage of a lower weekend rate.
For help planning a business trip, including car rental, contact your travel agent.