Vacation time … finally! You thought it would never come. Seriously, how long has it been since your last vacation? A year, two years, five years? Recent statistics show that most people in the United States don’t go away for nearly as many vacations as they’d like. That’s why when you’re planning on going away for vacation; you want things to go as smoothly as possible. And that’s why planning all the important details is vital. Sure, you don’t want to stress about every technicality. By the same token, however, you want to make certain that the big stuff is taken care of in order to avoid last-minute chaos. So, when it comes to your rental car, you need to decide ahead of time the right kind of car for your needs, and you need to book your rental car far enough in advance of your vacation to ensure your reservation is accurate. Whether you need a car, a minivan, or any other type of car rental in NJ, NY, CA or any other state, here are some tips on choosing the rental car that’s right for your particular needs.

1) Naturally, the first thing you need to know is exactly how many people will be included in every part of your journey. If you’re going to use the car for different purposes at different times, determine the most number of people you’ll be transporting at a given time, and use that amount as your total. But wait! By all means, don’t forget pets, especially if you’ve got large dogs or other big animals that will be accompanying you.

2) This next step is something that many people don’t bother with, or don’t even think about when deciding on rental cars in New Jersey … the luggage! Take every piece of luggage and all other big ticket items, such as skis, surf boards, etc., and pile them up in order to determine the amount of room you’ll need for baggage alone. Too many people think only about pets and people who’ll be seated in the car, and they forget that luggage and other items also need room.

3) The next thing you should do is go on the Internet or make phone calls to rental car companies for fuel information. It goes without saying that you want to pay the least amount necessary for fuel. Of course, you don’t want to choose something that’s high on fuel economy but low on comfort. Another thing you can do when it comes to fuel is to calculate your total fuel cost. The Internet has tons of websites that include fuel calculators that allow you to plug in the number of miles you’ll be traveling along with the type of vehicle you’ll be driving, spitting back a tally of your estimated fuel costs.

4) While you’re surfing websites of car rental companies, read through the vehicle descriptions that include information about fuel economy, size, number of passengers, GPS systems, DVD players, etc. If your vacay will include kids, you may want to opt for something like a minivan that has a DVD player to occupy back seat passengers.

5) When renting a car or minivan in New Jersey, the first things you’re likely thinking about are cost and location. Be sure to check out more than one car rental company in order to compare costs as well as locations. And, by all means, never scrimp on insurance. Sure, saving $10 or $20 a day may sound like an attractive option, but sometimes all it takes is a scratch that wasn’t there before, and you’ve just bought yourself a financial headache that you never bargained for.

6) Finally, when you’re at the car rental company, check your rental car thoroughly for all dents, scratches, and other damage. Most rental agents will perform a walk-around inspection right along with you before you drive away, making note of all existing damage. However, if your agent does not do this, insist upon it yourself. At this point, it’s also important that you ask any questions about the vehicle you may have, including such things as how to work the wipers, lights, automatic locks, GPS, and radio. If it’s a model you’ve never driven before, you may find yourself wasting valuable vacay time trying to figure these things out.

If you’re going away for your next vacation, the last thing you need is to have your plans fall apart at the last minute. Destination, flights, budget … these are just a few of the elements that go into planning the best vacation possible. You also need to determine exactly the right type of rental car you’ll need, and you need to book your reservation enough ahead of time to ensure you’ll have the car you want.

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