Mercedes Minibus near the port in Villefranche in the south of France – Photo Courtesy: Matt Davis
A minibus is a perfect option if you are traveling in groups. Not only does it allow for better organization, it also proves to be one of the most economical modes of transport when you work out the cost per person. Moreover, if you hire a chauffeured minibus, you and your travel companions can discover the joy of not having to drive and fend for directions!
Even though minibuses are very cost-effective to begin with, you can save some more money on your rental package with a few clever tips.
Carry Your Own Stuff
Rental companies make a hell lot of money by renting out “add-ons” such as child car seats and navigation tools. The cost of renting these may sound nominal at the outset but the figures can be quiet misleading. Many customers find that these tidbits add up to quite a lot when you factor in the hours or days you have been billed for.
If you are going to travel with infants or young children, it is best to carry your own car seats (most models can be installed and removed from rental vehicles without any hassle). Moreover, you can be assured of quality and safety, not to mention the comfort of your child. As for navigation tools, carry yours along if you own one or borrow one from a friend or co-traveler. Installing a navigation app on your Smartphone or carrying an old-fashioned road map are other ways of saving money on rentals.
Don’t Fall For Insurance Gimmicks
It isn’t uncommon for minibus rental companies to hard-sell or even charge unsuspecting customers for insurance policies and “Collision Damage Waiver” (CDW). Be wary of the fine print on your receipt to make sure that you aren’t being fleeced for something you neither want, nor need. Why purchase insurance from a rental company when you can buy it independently at a fraction of the cost?
Sometimes, a representative from the company may insist that buying insurance is mandatory. In such cases, carry out a meticulous research and speak to other rental companies to avoid being misled.
Real Cost V/S Advertised Cost
While the rates advertised by a company may sound like a dream, they are far from the figure that is going to show up on your invoice. The advertised rates seldom include state taxes, driver fee, airport surcharge, fuel costs and insurance charges. These can add up to a hefty sum, especially if you are not inquisitive at every step of the way.
Are you opting for a one-way rental? If yes, ask about the drop-off charges as these can be high enough to double your total rental cost. The same goes for no-show penalty and various fines. Scrutinize every detail to make sure there aren’t any unpleasant surprises on your receipt.
Understand The Fuel Policy
Fuel policies differ widely across competing companies, and as a customer, you should always try and opt for unlimited mileage wherever possible. Be careful of “full-to-empty” fuel policies that charge you for a full tank if you are renting a car for more than a couple of days (irrespective of how much fuel you are actually going to consume). If you are not going to drive extensively, it is best to opt for short hourly rentals to avoid paying for fuel you didn’t /aren’t going to use.
Samuel Connor is the owner of a travels and tour agency in Sydney which is run by his family. The mini bus charter services in Perth that he provides are some of the most sought after bus services. Whenever he gets a chance, he loves to spend quality time with his children.