Which? Holiday reveals hire car extrasAnd we give tips on how to save on car costs

29 April 2008

A beach towel

Holidaymakers can be driven to distraction when trying to hire a car abroad, Which? Holiday says today.

Although most car-hire fees include some type of insurance, tourists might have to pay as much as the first £1,000 themselves if they have an accident, the magazine found.

A damage waiver, which reduced liability but can add around £80 to the cost of a week's hire, might be cheaper if bought directly for a separate insurer, Which? Holiday says.

Damage not covered

Our survey also found that even if paying for extra insurance, damage to certain parts of the car such as the windscreen, wheels and roof, are not covered.

In addition, people who book online or by phone before they arrive at their destination do not always get the size or type of car they expect, and are then charged extra to upgrade to a more suitable model.

Also, holidaymakers can end up paying well over the odds for fuel, or paying for fuel that they did not use.

Question

Which? Holiday editor Lorna Cowan said: 'A bad experience with your car hire firm can ruin what should be a relaxing and enjoyable break, so make sure you read all of your car hire documents before signing anything, and question any of the terms or conditions you're not happy with.

'If the hire firm does not provide what you have paid for, they are in breach of contract so you can claim back any extra charges involved in getting what was initially promised.'

Another report in this month's Which? Holiday revealed that in a survey of the magazine's members, flights were the most popular online travel purchase, with 21% naming easyJet as their favourite site for booking flights.

British Airways

British Airways, which has recently had to contend with the disastrous opening of Heathrow's Terminal 5, had some good news, with its website rated highly by Which? members and coming a close second to easyJet with 18% of the votes.

Expedia was the clear winner for booking hotels online while Thomson.co.uk was people's top choice for booking package holidays. TripAdvisor.co.uk was the favourite for researching holidays and as a source of holiday inspiration.

Ease of use was the top priority when choosing a website to book online or buy travel products, followed by value for money, and people preferred websites where they could filter search results and compare different hotels or destinations.

The biggest frustrations when booking online were the need to register before searching, websites that take a long time to load and a lack of flexibility with search dates.