It’s amazing how that little munchkin changes your life, right? A simple task like renting a car becomes a super complex project all of a sudden. But the truth is that traveling with kids doesn’t have to be troublesome and the same goes for renting a car. Follow our 5 tips for renting a car as a parent and you won’t have to worry about a thing.
1.) Be sure to know kid-friendly cars
Understanding what kind of car features matter to children is necessary, because you want to make sure they will enjoy the ride as much as you do. On this note, here are a few of the things you should take into consideration if you are driving with a small child in the back seat:
- Do you still use a stroller? If so, some of the smaller cars won’t be appropriate for you, because their trunks are too small.
- Cars with appropriate trunks are: Audi A4, Audi A7, Kia Soul, BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, Fiat 500L, Ford Taurus, BMW 5 Series GT, Cadillac XTS, Mazda5, Chevrolet Trax/Buick Encore, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa Note, Hyundai Elantra Touring GLS, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon and Scion xB.
- Window line shouldn’t be too high, or your child won’t be able to see outside, which means that your little angel could get bored and start asking for attention which could influence your driving.
- Safety belts can be unpleasant if they are too high for your child’s height. Safety-belt clips that pull the chest strap away from the child's neck can make the belts feel less harsh. They don’t cost much (you can buy it for 6 to 10 EUR), but they can make a huge difference.
2.) Choose the right car category for your needs
It’s like buying a car – you should be sure that it corresponds to your needs. If you have two or more children, a bigger car might be a better option than the one from the ‘mini’ category. If, on top of that, you travel with a lot of luggage, ‘compact’ or ‘full size’ car categories could be even more appropriate for you.
Smart note: A car agency can not assure you that you will get the exact car that you have booked, but you will definitely get the car from the same category, so rather than focusing on specific car models, focus on the car category that fits you most.
3.) How to rent a car with a child seat
With every booking you are able to choose different car accessories that will keep your kids safe. After selecting a vehicle, you can choose extras – a child seat or a baby seat, if needed. Additionally, keep in mind that even if the selected accessories are displayed on your voucher, they won’t be included in your price. For all additional products like a baby seat you’ll have to pay at the time of pick up – directly to the car rental provider.
Smart note: The prices for renting a baby seat are about 10 EUR a day. Don’t forget to take this into consideration when you’re calculating the travel costs.
4.) Child seat: Better be safe than sorry…
When you’re selecting the accessories while booking a car these additional items are placed in a request and will be provided if possible, meaning that they are not guaranteed – it depends on a car provider’s capabilities right then and there. If you are not willing to take the risk, bring your own child seat with you.
Smart note: Fortunately, most airlines allow car seats to be gate-check free, and they can often be collected right on the jetway after landing, potentially limiting the damage from luggage handling.
5.) Child seat: One more reason to bring it with you
There is one more reason to consider bringing your own child seat with you. Even if the local car agency is in possession of child seats and offers them as accessories, you don’t know the quality of these seats and how they are stored. Sure, most probably they are aware of the importance of a proper storage, but you can never be entirely certain. Used child seats can be broken, missing their manuals or are stored without storage bags, one of top of the other.
PS.) It’s not all about the car…
We are positive you know that when driving or traveling with children, every little thing matters – especially the atmosphere during the drive. You will definitely need loads of distractions; a portable DVD player or an audio book can save your life! On the other hand, do not forget that books can be heavy and some toys can be too big to pack, so bring only the smaller ones and create some fun car games instead.
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