Car Rental With Special Needs
Sometimes when you book a rental car you may also need to book something 'extra'like a baby seat, child's booster seat, roof rack, ski rack, snow chains, or hand controls for somebody who is physically handicapped. For some of these things it's not always necessary to book in advance, where with others, it is vital. But, to keep your travel plans as smooth as possible it is strongly advisable to plan and book well in advance to iron out any kinks that could trip up your holiday.
In most countries children under the age of four are required by law to be in a child restraint seat of some description. So you should always check with the company you book with if that is the case for your destination, and what the age requirements are. Many car rental companies do not supply baby seats for children under the age of six months old, therefore you may have to bring your own.
You should also check about fitting the seat, as many companies will not fit the child seat for you and will charge you if you do not remove it and take it back to the office. If booking through a broker you need to ask which is the case for your chosen company. In fact, whether booking directly through the car rental company or through a broker you should check every aspect of your family's safe travel, but also anything in regards to your family's safe travel that may influence your budget so you can set aside the necessary funds to cover all your needs.
Roof racks are not universally available, and where they are available they are generally restricted to saloon cars. So this means that they are not available for MPV's, Wagon/Estates, or 4x4's. But it never hurts to ask when booking your reservation.
Ski racks, on the other hand, are available for more vehicles but not available in all locations. This is also the case for snow chains and tires. Most car rental companies will fit snow tires as a standard feature if they are in a ski region and during the snow season.
Be sure to address the issue of the needs for a physically disabled driver. It should be on the top of your list of priorities when booking your rental car. Some companies will charge extra for hand controls for a physically challenged driver while other companies may not. This is one of those things where advanced booking is strongly urged and usually required by the rental company. And even if a particular company may not advertise their capabilities for providing hand controls does not mean they cannot provide that extra service. But again, this is not something you want to wait until the last minute to find out. When you do find a company that can meet your needs, get your agreement in writing, including the cost.
Not only will planning ahead ensure a more pleasant tour, but it is seen as a consideration for your rental company so that they can, in return, provide you with the best service possible.
by: Terry Mickelson