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Car Hire search engines - who do you use?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
for excess insurance follow moneysavingexpert.com look for the car hire section and then 'excess' cover, there is also a code on the same page, so when you use one of the insurance companies put in the code and you get quite a decent discount, last time i did excess insurance for the week it cost £18 !!! damn site cheaper than the hire companies
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@yorkshirelad, and if you hire more than once a year insurance4carhire annual policy wirh quidco
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I have been watching this as we haven’t booked our hire car yet for Easter - though have booke for half term.

Prices I have been getting back for April have been significantly more than we found for Feb when we booked. Just did a search in a Black Friday deal made a difference and actually has. However checking the conditions spotted this:

Deposit / Excess

The rental company will require a security deposit of 1296,00 € when you pick your car up. The deposit will be returned after the rental, as long as all conditions have been met.
The car has a damage excess of 1296,00 € including tax.
The car has a theft excess of 1296,00 € including tax.
Due to fluctuating foreign exchange rates and other possible banking charges, the car hire company cannot be held responsible for any difference between the amount paid and the amount refunded.

Now I thought they put a hold on an amount in your card but didn’t actually take it?

The above is for Europcar via www.rentalcars.com (via Quidco for 12% cash back)

Is this unique to Eurocar or standard practice? Didn’t get this with Avid who we used last time. Our Feb booking is with MegaDrive via eBookers via Quidco.
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Sounds standard - I'd expect the deposit to be taken in the form of a pre-auth on your credit card.

When they swipe your card for the a pre-auth, it effectivly removes the money from your account but doesn't actually transfer it to theirs. If you bend it they can then complete the transaction for some/all the pre-authed amount. Return it in once piece and they release the pre-auth and your bank returns the money to your account. Of course your card provider don't want to get stung for any currency fluctuations, so as well as taking the money from your account they also change it to Euros. When it's released they change it back from Euros to Sterling - though I bet if the change is in your favour you still only get the sterling amount debited and they keep any extra.


A few hire companies will actually let you hire without a credit card, but in that case they are actually taking the money from your account to theirs and back again. This is more hastle for them so most don't do it. It's possible Europcar do though, so use that wording to cover both credit and debit card deposits.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Mjit, well that’s the thing. The wording implies they actually take the money rather pre-auth which is what I have had in the past.

This why I am checking here.
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Any ideas for insurance for a minibus rental?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Frosty the Snowman, we were originally planning on one for Half term. Found it was hugely more expensive to get minibus from Salzburg than from Munich where we had originally got prices from. In the end we got two cars as was cheaper!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
AllyK wrote:
But I find the shuttle bus a complete pain in the rear, especially since there are no toilets in the drop off so if you've had a longish transfer you could be desperate (my friend!)!

Just for the record, you can hire from either side, at any time of the year. The only difference is you go upstairs to France and there's no transfer bus.


Just walk, it's literally about 2 minutes.
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is it just me or is there a lot of conflicting views on the location of both swiss and french hire centres at Geneva in this thread?
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@Russeh, The difference are quite clear to those who have used both and rent regularly in winter and have expressed their points here. Grneva can be daunting to first time renters wanting to get the best deal from web sites that are not clear of all the considerations. One’s perspective on value for money, time and convenience will skew one’s view.


I can confirm that the Swiss side carpark is a very short walk from the terminal (less than 5 mins),probably not possible with a luggage trolley but fine with rolling luggage. There are toilets to the right between exiting arrivals and leaving the terminal.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Swiss side carpark.....short walk
Recently pushed a 15 stone pal in a wheelchair,so it is possible. Advisable or not,you decide. Tip... it is uphill on the way back
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Ozboy I'm one of those first timers! I'm hiring from the swiss side and what you're saying matches my understanding of where it is (i've looked at google maps). Sounds like there are 2 different sites for hiring from the french side, one of which is right at the other side of the airport.

Just doing my homework now on the French highway code.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Russeh, The 'French' side is physically in Switzerland but logically in France*, as the only way out is via a road to France with big barbed wire fences that stop you accessing Switzerland. The French side car hire desks are probably only a couple of hundred metres from the Swiss equivalents, and then you have to walk for another few minutes to pick up the car. Overall distance on the Swiss side is probably similar.

What I did find over the weekend was that a search on Skyscanner for GVA brought up cars that were from the French side.

* Unless someone wants to tell me that Switzerland ceded that corridor to France.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Matt1959, I use airport codes GVA for Swiss and GGV for France side in websites which seems to single out either side.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Ozboy, Me too, which is why I was amused when Skyscanner gave me French side options.

Here's hoping for some skiable snow in Chatel in 5 weeks.....
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Matt1959 wrote:
@Russeh, The 'French' side is physically in Switzerland but logically in France*, * Unless someone wants to tell me that Switzerland ceded that corridor to France.
Eh? Logically? Do you mean logistically? But it's irrelevant because it is French territory, not Swiss and was part of a land swap deal done to enable runway expansion.

Matt1959 wrote:
@Russeh, The French side car hire desks are probably only a couple of hundred metres from the Swiss equivalents, and then you have to walk for another few minutes to pick up the car. Overall distance on the Swiss side is probably similar.
Since when? Last time I rented from the French side, the desks were just after passport control and the cars were in the on-airport car park. You just get in the lift. So nothing like the Swiss side which involves a transfer bus or a c500m walk. Has something changed?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Raceplate, TBH I haven't measured it, but I know that when I picked up a French side car and it had scratches I had to walk back to the desk and it seemed like a similar distance.

But.........IMHO the important things when choosing French or Swiss side are price, winter tyres and (depending on where you are going) Swiss motorway Vignette.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Russeh wrote:
is it just me or is there a lot of conflicting views on the location of both swiss and french hire centres at Geneva in this thread?
I've rented from both but not for a year or so. The French desks and cars are all on airport. The Swiss desks except Thrifty/Dollar are on airport but the cars are off airport in P51 car park. The Thrifty/Dollar desk is in P51 and a PITA because there's always a queue out the door right into the middle of the main car access route into P51.

Happy to be corrected if I'm out of date. Puzzled
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Quote:

The 'French' side is physically in Switzerland but logically in France*, as the only way out is via a road to France with big barbed wire fences that stop you accessing Switzerland. The French side car hire desks are probably only a couple of hundred metres from the Swiss equivalents, and then you have to walk for another few minutes to pick up the car. Overall distance on the Swiss side is probably similar.

I would say overall the French side is perhaps 500m closer overall if you didn't use the shuttle bus.
The Swiss corridor into Basle airport is perhaps even longer and the car hire slightly cheeper than the French side.

On the question of filling up before returning to the airport. Swiss fuel preices used to be less than the French - what is the current situation?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Matt1959 wrote:
@Raceplate, TBH I haven't measured it, but I know that when I picked up a French side car and it had scratches I had to walk back to the desk and it seemed like a similar distance.
Precisely because of the long narrow access road the cars are all in the basement airport car park on the French side as far as I know. The rental desks are on the Departures level (I think, upstairs anyway).

But on the Swiss side each operator also has a returns office in P51 so if you had scratches you would have to walk across the car park to the returns office to report it. That process is the same for both sides for reporting damage.

What isn't the same is that on the Swiss side you get on a transfer bus to pick up the car and on the French side you get in an airport lift.

P.S. The last car I had from the French side was covered in scratches too... Laughing
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@Raceplate, I think the point that is being missed is there is no need to get the transfer bus on the Swiss side as it’s a short walk in a straight line. The bus makes it seem longer as firstly there is a wait and then it has to navigate the airport one way system. Most of the major desks are in the airport terminal and I usually go ahead to beat the queue while the other half waist for luggage or buys a very expensive cup of coffee.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Ozboy wrote:
@Raceplate, I think the point that is being missed is there is no need to get the transfer bus on the Swiss side

There is if you've come in on a long haul flight with a 32kg bag, a carry on and a double ski bag!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Raceplate, yes indeed.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
johnE wrote:


On the question of filling up before returning to the airport. Swiss fuel preices used to be less than the French - what is the current situation?


Last year on pickup I was told that in return I was to top up at the petrol station on the same road as the car park and present the receipt, perhaps to prevent the usual game of "hire car gauge roulette"

I don't remember if anyone actually checked it Puzzled
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Does using a search engine actually result in that much cheaper prices than if you go direct? I guess it gives you an idea of the "smaller" firms that operate out of a given place that otherwise you may not have known about. But with the big guys, I've not seen much difference in price between search engine and going direct?

But that leads me onto my next question...am I the only one that tends to stick with the big names? I appreciate, you end up paying more. For example I was recently in France and flew into/out of Bordeaux. There were the budget options at £60-80 for the days I needed, but I'd never heard of most of them so went with Enterprise. It was £110 but experience was "almost" a joy. Easy pick up, no quibbles dropping it back, no hidden charges or nasty surprises.
I've also hired through Europcar, Sixt and Avis and it's been very much the same.

I know a bad experience can happen anywhere with any company but I do tend to read more horror stories about the more "budget" operators.
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@Fridge03, I think you are throwing money away. IME the agents are always quite a bit cheaper. You can always compare the quotes.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Fridge03, from experience depends on location. I always use Rentalcars.com and they provide a good variety of rental companies and choice of cars. Geneva airport always lists brand names or ‘budget’ subsidiaries or the top brands. I have 2 cars Jan and Feb and I am paying £72.50 per 24 hours inc winterisation from Budget and Alamo. Other airports such as Naples throws up cheap unheard of brands which always result in a shambles at pickup and long delays.

One of the great features is the free no qualms cancellation upto 48 hours before the pickup time. This is not available on all cars but is clear and they don’t make it hard to cancel. Simply hit the cancel button and confirm. The only caveat is pay upfront when booking by CC and receive a refund when cancelling. Never been an issue.

For next season I plan to pre-book a bunch of cars for long weekends throughout the season and cancel closer to the date if not needed. VW Golfs start at about £62 per 24 hrs from GVA Swiss side of booked far enough in advance.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I hired a car last week from the Swiss side of Geneva and, as usual, had winter tyres included.

However, snow chains were not included Sad

Europcar was the supplier.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Bergmeister, did they forget t supply or were they extra? I recall someone posted last season that one of the Swiss side companies provided chains in a sealed box and would charge ~ chf70 at drop-off if they were used.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Ozboy, that was me (or at least I posted that and maybe someone else also did).

My experience from 100+ rentals:
The French and swiss sides are the same in walking time from arrivals, and similar in distance as well.
The Swiss side includes winter tyres, the French doesn’t unless paid for (and even then it’s a lottery).
The Swiss side is an easier drive by about 5mins.
Hiring direct is about 100x better than hiring from an agent, in terms of hassle, knowing what you’re getting, arguments at the desk etc. Time and again, I wonder why the person in front takes 10 mins to get their car, and it’s because they have an agent voucher. It usually takes 1-2. I s if you’re direct.
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Poster: A snowHead
@snowdave, I take next to no time with an agent voucher. The last time a person was taking an age was because they were humming and haing about whether to buy the upsells Evil or Very Mad
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@snowdave, Ive never had an issue with the Rentalcars.com vouchers at GVA as i make sure to follow their instructions which they highlight . And they have anteally good app so nothing to print.

Problem is that I am often held up by others in front of me, normally one-off renters using 3rd party agent, who either don’t turn up with a CC, don’t bring right ID or have a 10 min debate as to why insurance or out of country (CH -> FR) breakdown rescue is not included. Drop off seems to always be quick as the agents in the carpark try to limit congestion.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@snowdave, I've only rented once directly with the car hire company, Avis, and they just cancelled the booking with less than 24 hours notice, then charged me for the return booking even though I thought they had cancelled. I will not touch them again. With Argus I have never had a problem. 2 weeks ago I turned up at the the Europcar desk in Geneva (It was the French side, which I really do find much more convenient) gave my name and that was it, no vouchers to present, no problems at all and I was on my way within a couple minutes of approaching the desk. The clerk simply smiled as he attempted to sell me upgrade after upgrade - I declined them all.

I think those who spend a long time at the desk are actually those who have pitched up at the desk without a booking at all and are desperately trying to get a car they can aford. Mind you I did spend a long time at the desk once at Milan trying to explain that I did not have a mobile phone and hence could not supply a number. In the end they were happy with IIRC 1111111111

@Ozboy, £72 per 24 hours sounds very steep. I just checked a 2 day rental from Geneva for a citron c3 (fine for 2 or 3 people with luggage and skis and it was 66 euros or £27.50 per day. A fortnight at the end of January is on offer for just over £20 per day. I think you have given us the full weekend rate
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@johnE, these are 24hr rates from 1 Feb 29:00 to 4th Feb 19:30 for a VW Golf category car with winterisation and free cancellation. I only booked last week and thought the price slightly more expensive than usual as it’s busy ski weekend.

Just looked on French side and pricing is £55 per day like-for-like without winter Tyres. Probably not a big difference once winter tyres are added.

I can’t recall ever paying less than £50 per day on the Swiss side.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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Hi all,

Just wondering if anyone can recommend a "car size". I know the actual make and model varies but I'll need something capable of driving 4 adults with both hold and hand luggage from Lyon to 3 Valleys. Would I get away with an estate/suv (like a focus estate or a Kuga for example) or should I go for something like a MPV (like a Galaxy or grand scenic).

No ski's or anything. Just the 4 hold bags and hand luggage. I was thinking that something tall like a Kuga meant that we could stack the 4 bags on top of each of each other in boot (2 on 2) or go for like a 7 seater and utilise the seats for the bags?
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Bergmeister wrote:
I hired a car last week from the Swiss side of Geneva and, as usual, had winter tyres included.

However, snow chains were not included Sad

Europcar was the supplier.


I hired from the Swiss side last weekend with Alamo (actual supplier was Enterprise) and had winter tyres, but NOT snow chains.

Booked a compact manual (Golf or similar) for £28.42 per day using easyrentcars.com and had no problems. Was actually given a Renault Captur Auto.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Fridge03, I find the boots in the real cars are much bigger than in the mini-SUVs. In your position I’d happily use a Ford Focus estate.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Yeah it's always a shock how little luggage space there is in some of the smaller suvs
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@Fridge03, We were driving down to Les Arcs last Easter and broke down. The breakdown insurance company rented us a Fiat 500L whcih looked tiny. We got 4 of us, luggage for 4, bedding, towels etc, and 3 pairs of skis into it for the 500 mile drive down St. Quentin. It was amazingly cosy but absolutely fine.
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Could someone explain the differences between Hertz, Thrifty and Dollar who are all owned by Hertz Corp and operate from GVA? I think they share the same counter. Dollar seems to be the budget brand but what am i missing out on?
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