Sometimes I manage to get discounted rates that include collision damage waiver on a rental car but Hertz in Trinidad wasn’t one of these times. I was relying on my credit card’s insurance by paying for the car with the card. However I really didn’t want to have to stress over nicks and dings and go back and forth with Hertz and the credit card insurer so I always take a few precautions when picking up the car. I am not picking on Hertz and we didn’t have any problems with this rental but I am illustrating what everyone should do when they pick up a rental car from any company to avoid hassle.
I take photos of the car from every angle both on pick up and return.
Get a photo of the fuel gauge so you can prove you returned it with the correct amount. In some places it won’t always be on full so you have to match whatever it was when you picked it up.
Get close-ups of any nicks and dings. Usually a smartphone camera is fine.
Check the tires (tyres) and make sure they are in good condition.
I have read a lot of horror stories about people getting blamed for small damages that were already on the car because they didn’t take a few precautions. Don’t forget to take the same photos on the return. Try to avoid returning a car after hours. When the employees see you being extremely cautions they are less likely to try to pin something on you and will move on to someone who seems to be an easier mark. Hopefully most car hire companies are honest but there are bad apples in every bunch so better safe than sorry.
Regrettably, we didn’t have a lot of time to spend in Mauritius. We aren’t the beach holiday type (nor would we travel all the way from Australia to Mauritius simply for a beach) so we had to have a well organized plan to decided on what kind of transport we needed. The main purpose of the trip was to see the Echo Parakeets in Black River Gorges National Park. The hotel we stayed at (on points of course) was the nearest points option to BRGNP, the Mauritius Hilton at Flic en Flac. I also wanted to squeeze in a quick visit to the Casela Bird Park and the 7 Coloured Sands at Chamarel.
With such a short amount of time, only a rental car would do. The one thing I found frustrating is that the majors – Hertz, Avis, etc only seemed to have manual transmissions at a reasonable cost. I can only drive an automatic, especially if I will be driving through towns. The best option was going through a rental car consolidator which had more options with smaller car hire companies that offered automatics at reasonable prices. I checked 3 options – Expedia, Holiday Autos & DriveAway. All prices for these examples are in Australian dollars but if you do a quote, it will default to your own currency.
Holiday Autos had the best price back then just as they do now so I booked with them for First since it was the better deal for a better car. The rate includes excess up to 15,000 MUR which is around $450 USD or $500 AUD and this amount was covered by my travel insurance policy. Always check before booking a rental car what the insurance covers and what the excess is!
Here’s the actual car. As usual, I did a full inspection and made sure the employee knew I was doing it. It did take a while for them to fetch the car from their depot in town and we had to sit there and wait. I had given my flight number and they have a display on flight times in the office which is shared by all car hire companies so they could have been more proactive in getting the car there on time to meet the flight. I returned it a bit early and once again did the inspection, got the final receipt and had no issues while returning it so First was a good choice for me!
Traveling by local buses can be fun, is usually the cheapest option and a good way to meet the locals. Mauritius does have a large bus network and if you have plenty of time to spare and not so much money, this could be a good option for you.