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Mark Bower

Mark founded MoneyMaxim in 2008, with the aim of delivering an impartial and independent service. Mark is a regular money saving expert in the press and writes regular news and articles for the MoneyMaxim news pages sharing his views on banking, personal insurance and the utilities (gas, electricity, mobile and home phones, broadband and pay TV) market with customers.

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Our Top Tips for Ski Holiday Car Hire

Hit the slopes knowing you have got the best out of your car hire this winter

Driving on a snowy road

As we approach November, our minds (and many of our customers!) minds are heading towards winter holidays. Whether you're off skiing or simply going to explore a snowy country, it's worth putting some thought to your car hire in advance.

With there being less, or no, restrictions regarding COVID-19 compared to last year, we're seeing strong demand for hotspots in France, Italy and Switzerland as people look forward to getting back on the slopes.

The level of fleet that car hire firms are holding are not quite back up to 2019 levels yet, so the likelihood is that in popular locations you are going to find that prices are slightly higher than pre pandemic amounts and larger vehicles such as 7 and 9 seaters will sell out quickly.

We've rounded up our top tips for car hire to help you make your journey to the slopes smooth!

1. Book your car hire early on a free cancellation deal - Car hire normally works on the premise of the sooner you book, the cheaper the prices. There is likely to be high demand this year so this is our golden rule! Make sure that you do book a car hire that has free cancellation you can cancel and rebook later if you find a better deal.

2. Consider Standalone Excess Insurance - Car hire companies will offer their own excess insurance, sometimes even when you are booking, but with this cover it's common to find you are still liable for damage to areas such as the tyres, wheels, underbody, roof and glass. By getting a standalone policy through the MoneyMaxim Car Hire Excess Insurance comparison service you will be covered for any excess but also for any costs as a result of damage to those additional areas we mentioned above such as the glass.

3. Take into account the costs of extras - Make sure you add the costs of child seats, a GPS or ski racks on top of the vehicle. Some deals can seem great until you start to add your extras in then it can become more expensive than other companies! Consider using our sister site Clarify Car Hire as on there you can compare quotes for your hire with all the extras included so you get the cheapest overall price.

4. Country requirements - It's not uncommon for there to be rules in countries with heavy snowfall around winter tyres or snow chains. These can be dependent on the time of year, conditions or both. The AA have a list of driving regulations by country so you can find out exactly what you need to drive in your destination country. Once you know what is required, find out from your car hire whether firm whether the equipment is included in the rental or whether it is subject to an additional charge.

5. Winter Tyres or Snow Chains - Whilst both are good, many people have a preference for one or the other. Winter tyres are generally easier as there is no faffing around and they are specifically designed for use in cold and snowy conditions. Whilst snow chains can be better in really icy and snowy conditions. In some countries either snow chains, winter tyres or both are mandatory, in others you can opt for them as an extra, which is often the case if the airport you hire from is at lower altitude and a bit of a drive from your ski resort.

With Clarify Car Hire we have made a handy, pre-selected filter which makes finding vehicles with winterisation as easy as possible and gives you peace of mind you're prepared for all conditions!

Snow Tyres and Winter Tyres Filter

Remember snow chains need to be fitted when road signs require them, and when temperatures dip very low. In some countries, however, it is necessary by law for you to carry them in your car even if you have winter tyres fitted. For more information visit the AA or read our article on choosing Winter Tyres or Snow Chains.

6. Plan your route - Make sure you know where you are going and check it before you leave the airport. Using an online mapping system such as Google Maps, Waze or Here will show you any delays such as road closures and will path a way for you around them.

Image courtesy of: Cunigunde from Pixabay