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Car Rental Tips

car road flowers spring drive driving sunnyNeed wheels on your next trip? Renting a car can give you freedom and flexibility when you're traveling, and in some parts of the world it's the only feasible way to get around. But a rental car can sometimes add complications to your trip -- like trying to find the best deal or sorting out exactly which insurance options you need. Read on for our practical tips on saving money, understanding your rental agreement and avoiding problems with your car rental.

Choosing a Vehicle

Think carefully about what kind of vehicle you'll need. If you're traveling with children or with a lot of gear, you may want a large sedan or SUV. If you're simply looking to save money on rental rates and gas, you'll want to reserve the smallest available model.

But size isn't the only factor. Looking for something environmentally friendly? Check out our Green Travel Resources for eco-friendly car rentals. Can't drive a stick shift? Be sure to reserve a car with automatic transmission. (In many countries, a manual transmission is the norm -- so read the fine print before booking. Learn more with our International Car Rental Tips.) Also, be sure that the company from which you're renting offers any extras you might need or want, such as a ski rack, car seat or GPS system.

Booking Your Car

How long will you be renting? If it's for less than a week, you'll probably do best with a major rental company, such as Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National or Thrifty. For rentals of a week or longer, you may get better rates from local companies, particularly auto dealers. Remember, however, to be wary of local companies if you plan to drive a lot; if you break down or get into an accident, they usually lack the support services of the majors.

Always shop around. Check the major booking engines and aggregator sites (such as Travelocity and Kayak) to get an idea of what rates are available, but you should also visit the car rental companies' Web sites as well -- they'll often offer exclusive discounts, and you'll avoid booking fees. Don't forget to check out our selection of discount car rental deals before making any reservations.

To lower your rate, ask about discounts for any major national organizations, frequent flier programs and credit card programs to which you may belong. They'll frequently offer deals on car rentals. Those offered through AAA can be very good. If you're employed by a company that frequently rents cars, they may have a negotiated rate. Make sure to check.

Before you book online, do an Internet search for coupon or promotion codes to put into the booking engine of your car rental company's site. Just type the name of the company followed by "coupon code" into the search field and you'll often find special promotion codes that could save you anywhere from 5 to 20 percent off the cost of your rental. For more ideas on saving money when you rent a car, see Cruising for Car Rental Deals.

If you haven't already, consider joining your car rental company's loyalty program when you book. These vary by company, but most of them are free and entitle you to certain privileges when picking up your vehicle; your information will be on file ahead of time, allowing you to simply jump into the car and go rather than standing in a long line or filling out paperwork. You could also be eligible for special discounts or free upgrades.

The newest way to save on rental cars is to hook up with a car share service. If you live near a major city or you're a frequent renter, you may save money by joining a car share, such as Zipcar.

Five Features of a Fantastic Road Trip

Understanding Your Rental

If you're booking online, read the terms and conditions carefully before confirming your reservation. If you're booking over the phone, ask the agent about restrictions. Be sure you understand the conditions of your reservation. Is there a penalty for no-shows? How long will the car be held if you're stuck in traffic on the way to the pickup station? Is there a fee for additional drivers and must their names be listed in the contract? Is your 20-year-old daughter old enough to drive the car? (For liability reasons, this is important.)

If pertinent, ask about any restrictions on interstate travel. For your own protection in case of breakdown, be sure the company has offices in all the states on your itinerary.

For one-way car rentals, ask about drop-off charges. They can be exorbitant.

Always get a confirmation number. For airport rentals, be sure to give the customer service representative your flight number and scheduled arrival time. This will usually protect your reservation if the flight is delayed.

The True Cost of Car Rentals

Buyer beware: The rate you see advertised in big print may become so inflated with state and local taxes, airport surcharges, additional driver fees, insurance, gasoline bills and drop-off charges that you end up paying more than double what you expected. Learn more about these extra charges in Car Rental Hidden Costs.

Also, the advertised rate may be valid only during the off-season in Florida or California, when many cars are idle there, but not where you want to rent. Finally, the rate may be only for a car size that you would find unsuitable.

In recent years, the major booking engines have become more transparent about rental car rates, and they now usually show you the total cost of your rental, including estimated taxes and fees, early on in the booking process. For instance, Travelocity offers total pricing, which guarantees that the company's estimated amount will be within one percent of the actual rate.

Like the airlines, the major auto rental companies have adopted "yield management." That means that their computers can quickly readjust prices according to changes in the supply of cars available, and so the rental rate you are quoted is valid only at that moment. Unless you reserve immediately, the rate is likely to change.

At Pickup Time

If your first drive will be from an airport to a hotel for the night, why not take a shuttle van to the hotel instead? Doing this may save you the price of a day's rental. Even if you must drive the same day your flight lands, you may not have to get the car at the airport. By picking it up downtown, you can often avoid hefty airport surcharges.

ignition car keys If you have personal auto insurance or charge the rental to a major credit card, you will probably be covered at least for collision damage -- so you shouldn't have to purchase the car rental company's collision or loss damage waiver (CDW or LDW) insurance. If in doubt, ask your insurance agent or credit card issuer.

Before you drive away from the pickup station, inspect the car carefully for body damage. Be sure the lights and turn signals are working properly, and check the mileage odometer. Report any defects at once.

Familiarize yourself with the workings of the car before you leave the lot. Check which side your gas tank is on, and learn how to use the headlights, windshield wipers and turn signal. It may seem obvious, but you'll also want to memorize the make, model and color of your car -- that way you won't lose it the first time you park in a busy lot! For more tips, see The First 10 Minutes of Your Car Rental.

Returning Your Car

Be wary of prepaid gasoline plans. Always fill the tank yourself before returning the vehicle so that you're only paying for the amount of gas you actually used. Try to avoid the gas stations right near the airport where you're dropping off your car -- the prices tend to be highest there. Instead, fill up a few miles away. Even better: Check before your trip to find out where the cheapest gas stations are in your area.

It may seem counterintuitive, but returning your car early may actually cost you money. You'll often pay an early return fee (usually about $15 a day), but even worse, your rate structure will most likely change and you'll be responsible for the difference. Of course, returning the car late could cost you too -- many car rental companies only give you a 30-minute grace period before beginning to rack up the late fees.

Before leaving the vehicle, check to be sure you haven't left any personal belongings. Don't forget to check the trunk! The most common lost articles include cell phones, sunglasses and umbrellas.

Be sure that the check-in attendant inspects the car's body in your presence and that you agree about any damage. Examine your rental agreement carefully for all charges and make sure they credit any deposit to your account while you wait.

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Why Buy Spare Wheel Covers?

One of the most popular car accessories out there is the spare wheel cover. As functional as it is stylish, it is capable of transforming the look of any vehicle while making it more attractive for the eyes. For some people, keeping their wheels exposed is a good look. However, such an approach can leave your spare wheel exposed to the elements, which may result to damage. So why should you buy spare wheel covers?

Here are some of the reasons why you should at least consider it for your 4x4, motorhome, or camper van.

Added style

One of the main reasons why wheel covers are popular is because it is a simple yet effective way to change up the looks of your car. Available in different colors and designs, you can give your exterior an upgrade with the help of a nice wheel cover. You can spice up your truck's looks with the help of a cover.

Wheel protection

This is the main reason why wheel covers are developed. Wheel covers, especially the high-quality ones, offer superior all-weather protection for your spare wheel. This can be a major asset, especially if you own a custom set of wheels and you don't want it to get damaged by extreme weather conditions. It also keeps your spare wheel clean while it is not in use.


A wheel cover can be an effective deterrent to crime for a wide variety of reasons. Having a cover in place means thieves cannot access your spare wheel that easily. This added cover can spell the difference between a foiled heist and a successful one. Another advantage of a cover is it protects your spare wheel from incidents such as vandalism.

Practical and affordable

Spare wheel covers are one of the most practical custom car parts you can get out there. Compared to most custom car parts, a wheel cover only costs at most a few hundred dollars. Its low price of acquisition, combined with its functional benefits, make it one of the smartest parts to invest on, regardless of what car model you own.

Now that you know the importance of this item, it is now time to look for a place where you can get one. If you are in the lookout for spare wheel covers, you cannot go wrong with getting it from us. With a long history of selling good-quality car parts, we will help you get the right wheel cover at the right price. Whether you are looking for a soft cover, a semi-rigid cover, or a metal ring cover, we got your ride covered. Check out our catalogue to see which covers best fit your needs.

Drones For Courier Deliveries

Drones are here and their existence in the courier industry is inevitable. However, they have not been fully implemented in delivering packages for the courier businesses. There are still delays in this technology to come to life as they are still figuring out how to regulate drones when they go airborne. Due to the security issues and strict regulations set forth, the drone technology for the courier industry is yet to kick-off. Luckily, the future is bright for drones to hit the market and take off to make delivery immediate and certain. Some things it is set to bring along include:

Cheap Labour

Drones will not ask for leave or a salary increase. They deliver on demand depending on how they are programmed. With drones, you can be assured that they will follow the order you input into them. They provide the best alternative for human labour. If you want a certain package delivered to a particular location, you are sure that a drone will do that for you. You will not have to worry about a wrong delivery point or even delays.

Reliability in the Delivery of Small Packages

Since they are small, they can only carry small weights. They can help with emergency delivery of small packages like body organs and blood samples. Instead of hiring a whole van to deliver such packages, you will be able to utilise drones for this role.

Flexible Delivery

Delivery can be done at any time or anywhere provided the place is accessible to the drones. It helps to pinpoint the exact location such that your clients can get their packages even when they are not at home or at night. It shortens the distance to the point of delivery as it can find a direct route to your customer.

Overcome Traffic And Tough Terrain

The menace of traffic has been around for decades and it is getting worse. Even with subways being built, traffic is still here to stay. With drones, this all can come to an end for courier businesses. They can plan their time schedule and deliver on time without delays. Drones help to beat the tough terrain as they float in the air before they can drop the package at a predetermined location. They are programmed and set to the exact coordinates before being released to deliver a package for customers.

Limitations are there in the use of drones for deliveries. Since couriers look to improve the reputation of their businesses through cordial customer service, drones are machines and thus do not offer the human touch. Apart from that, they cannot fly in tight or small spaces, which limit them in terms of delivery. Since they are limited to accommodate small packages, the day they are cleared for use, couriers cannot entirely depend on them for their deliveries.

They will have to rely on other means such as vans to deliver the larger packages. Apart from that, your customers may not trust drones and thus will require the common means of deliveries. Such limitations hold back the use of this technology in the courier industry.

What Is Needed To Start A Successful Towing Business

Towing has become one of the most popular and needed commercial services over the last few years, which of course, means it has become quite profitable. However, this type of service is heavily regulated with licensing and other procedures, meaning that it is essential to have a decent business strategy in mind to gain the level of success you desire.

Understanding Licensing Requirements

Many experts in the field point out that the most difficult part of starting a towing business is the licensing. Many of the states are going to have different requirements and it is important to find out the detailed regulations that are in place.

However, typically the towing business owner is going to have to supply detail and evidence regarding several of the points below. However, it is important to keep in mind that requirements are going to differ from state to state.

1) Bonding (Although each state the amount will be different)

2) Detailed information about each and every driver

3) Full inspection of the facilities and general equipment

4) Proof of a dependable driving record.

5) Criminal background checks of all drivers.

6) Drug test results

The Need Of Capital And Insurance

A good part of the business strategy is going to involve understanding the up-front cost of training, rental property, equipment, and maintenance, as well as marketing costs. When you have the numbers for all of these expenses, you will know the amount of capital that is going to be needed. If the amount that is needed is above your means, you can always apply for a small business loan to help you get started.

You are also going to have to be in contact with an insurance provider who has experience in tow truck insurance. Order several estimates that will allow you to choose the best type of coverage for the business that will offer the most affordable premiums. The most typical tow truck insurance is going to cover the trucks, lots, employees, as well as any repairs needed for trucks and cars damaged during a tow.

Market Analysis

When deciding to start a towing business, one important step that cannot be ignored is to analyze the local market and decide upon a proper zone to operate in. It is best to find a populated area that is not saturated with competition.

Creating The Ultimate Marketing Strategy

Once you have all the steps ironed out in front of you, it is time to begin a full blow marketing strategy. You are going to have to ensure that the community is aware of your business. If you are operating a public towing service never underestimate the power of the Yellow Pages, as it is still very relevant in the towing business, If you plan to market to various private companies, you can send out brochures inviting them to look into your services. It is even better to stop in and introduce yourself in person.

There are two factors that every business owner is going to have to address when starting a towing business and that is licensing and capital. Once those are in order, it is a process of understanding the local market and creating a campaign to maximize the chances of the businesses success.

Finding The Best Imported Mags In Brisbane

Street Wheels and Tyres has, without a doubt, the biggest mags showroom in Brisbane. If youre looking for high quality mags, then this is the place to be. Our staff is comprised of experienced and professional people who can walk you through the different types of mags or which one is suited best for your vehicle.

The Advantages of Mag Wheels

You might ask why should you get imported mags? Mag wheels offer a lot of advantages over the standard wheel. For starters, mags have alloys that render them lighter and stronger at the same time. This means that you are able to enjoy faster acceleration and more effective brakes. Other advantages include efficient fuel consumption and better tyre longevity. Consider it a good investment which you can make use of in the long run. These imported mags are designed to withstand the pressures of heavy loads and fast driving even racing. Last, but not the least, having imported mags will greatly customise and improve the look of your vehicle.

Choosing the Right Mags

SWT carries all kinds of imported mags, customised to fit all types of vehicles. We share the same passion our clients have with their cars and decide which mags to provide them to suit their lifestyles. Needless to say, the type of lifestyle of a person plays a huge role in choosing which mags to go with. Another consideration is the type of vehicle, because mags wont fit all car types. The good news is that our staff is more than well-versed with these distinctions, so you dont have to worry about taking a wrong turn when choosing.

Getting Stylish Imported Mags

The array of mags we offer comes from the best brands all around the world. You can rest assured that you will be offered the most innovative and stylish mag wheels in existence. Commonly, drivers go for black to silver colour palettes, but you will be surprised at the wider range of colours that there are. If youre looking for something unique, if you want to stand out from the crowd, then this is the right shop for you. Feast your eyes on mags ranging from classic, all-time favorites to the most attention-worthy designs and colours.

To see our line-up of imported mags, feel free to call us at 3208-5208, or visit our website: Our friendly support staff will assist you in choosing the right mags for your vehicle.

What Party Buses Provide Beyond Transport

Its pretty much a given that riding in a party bus makes going out far more exciting and relaxing. Its literally a party on wheels, which makes the time spent inside a vehicle worthwhile with your family, friends, colleagues, classmates or significant other. You wont be disappointed for any minute while riding to and from the event.

The enjoyment is there as well as utmost convenience. Theyre pretty affordable rides for larger groups of passengers, especially if they split the cost evenly. But what else is in it for the customer? Some might still wonder whether its really worth the extra cash to travel on something thats fundamentally lavish. There are those who believe its only meant for big shots like celebrities, politicians or businessmen people who are perceived as living a life of extravagance. That, in reality, is a downright myth. There are several incentives for choosing a party bus apart from transportation, and they very much apply to everyday people in the city.

Customized Plans

When you've booked a party bus, you can take full advantage of having private transportation for the entire reserved period of time. You should know that theres no such rule as a limited number of places to go. Allow yourself and your buddies to gather around and discuss how to make your booked time the most fun-packed it can be. If its a Friday night, list down all the bars youd like to check out. If its a Saturday afternoon, make an itinerary of activities that can be squeezed in before and after a concert/game youve bought tickets for.

A party bus allows you and your buddies to get creative with the day and make the most out of the given hours. You can head to multiple places and do different things all while a convenient form of transportation is readily available.

Well-planned Tours

What if your group decides to travel across the country and spend the weekend in a new city? Sure, you and the others could do research and talk about the must-go places to include in your agenda, but is it all necessary? A better alternative would be to book a party bus of a well-established company in that city and arrange for a city tour. Those guys would be very much familiar with the whole area and could draft their own itinerary so you could visit all the good spots throughout a given day. The bus could then be arranged to pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel, where you could rest up or unwind before the tour.

Recommended Venues

It should also be stressed how knowledgeable and up-to-date party bus companies are regarding what their city has to offer. Although the drivers themselves have years of experience and can make great suggestions, these companies have the means to set you up with the perfect restaurant, bar, nightclub, park or beach area that matches your tastes or preferences. Theyll gladly take you to the best steakhouse or where the best beers are served. Theyll handle all arrangements and reservations. Its just your job to say what you want to do.

New Directions In Personal Hovercraft Design

If you decide to buy a hovercraft, you'll find a growing range of options available on the internet and some of them are breaking away from traditional ways of doing things. Up until now the small hovercraft builders have basically copied the design aspects of the large air cushioned craft built in the 60s and 70s by operators aiming to transport high numbers of passengers, which is necessary to turn a profit. The four basic requirements are a hull, which is by necessity rigid, a skirt which is not, some method of controlling direction and an energy source - personal hovercraft specs.

Large craft hulls are made from aluminium or similar alloy having high strength compared to it's weight. It doesn't have to be as strong as you light think, because it is going to be either supported by a cushion of air, or resting on the ground. It doesn't need to be aerodynamically streamlined as it isn't going to be traveling very fast. That kind of construction makes perfect sense when considering the size of some of these craft, but much less sense when building small hovercraft. Reduce size means that other methods can be used for making the hull, such as resin reinforced glass fiber or high density expanded plastics.

A big ACV is controlled exclusively by servo operated ailerons placed in the airflow of the forward thrust fans, which are generally mounted at the rear. As the angle of the aileron is changed, the air flow is re-directed and the air cushioned craft turns in the same direction at a rate depending on the angle. Smaller types use the same principle, but the action is initiated by the operator turning a set of handlebars, which change the angle of the ailerons In addition, the operator must place his body weight towards the side of the vehicle in the direction he wants to travel.

The skirt is perhaps the element that has undergone profound design changes. Not in it's basic function and shape, but in the way it is fabricated and fixed to the craft. Skirt design should be one of your main consideration when planning to buy a hovercraft. A one piece skirt is very expensive to change if it becomes damaged, and so hovercraft manufacturers opting for a one piece design should use very tough materials, such as Kevlar. Other design separate the assembly into small sections that are easily replaced if damaged.

How To Maintain A Deep Cycle Battery Over Winter

A deep cycle battery is typically used in marine applications, and these types of batteries require specific care and maintenance that is not required in traditional automotive batteries. This type of battery needs a multiple stage battery charger that can be used to recharge these batteries. A single stage battery charger is used to charge an automotive battery. This means that deep cycle batteries are not fully charged until they undergo multiple stages of charging and discharging cycles.

The battery is designed to be discharged and then recharged many times during its life cycle. On the other hand, discharging an automotive battery one time can lead to the immediate failure of the battery. The charger used for a deep cycle battery should have 8 amps output minimum, and close to 16 amps on the higher side. The good news is that a float mode that is installed in many of the chargers can not only increase the longevity of the battery, but also allows the battery to be charged for a longer period of time.

Initial Charge

Even when deep cycle batteries are brand new, they still need to be charged before they are used. In fact, these types of batteries generally need 20 to 40 discharge/charge cycles before the battery is fully charged. This means that the battery should be broken into gradually during the discharge/charge period, and you should avoid allowing the battery to complete deplete its charge. If this occurs, the service life of the battery could be reduced by months or even years.


Although keeping the battery clean is a very important part of maintenance, it is a step that is often overlooked. When residue is allowed to build on the top of the battery, a circuit could be created between the negative and positive terminals. As a result, the battery has an opportunity to discharge.

The battery posts should be cleaned every year with a wire brush, and then they should be coated with grease in order to prevent oxidation from occurring. The battery case should also be visually inspected every year, or anytime the battery is dropped or is hit by an object. However, by securing the battery in a battery box, you will add an extra layer of protection for your battery.

A deep cycle battery can have an extended service life when it is properly cared for. It is vital to use a charger specifically for this type of battery in order to save you money and guarantee long service.


The More Subtle Benefits Of Gps Vehicle Tracking

If you're part of a forward-thinking company that operates a large number of vehicles, you've probably already considered the possibility of equipping your fleet with a GPS-based tracking system. In case you're still on the fence, here are some of the less-often-considered advantages to GPS tracking.

A Hidden Data Bonanza

Obviously, TIGTrack's GPS tracking equipment will tell you where all of your vehicles are at any given time. Have you considered just how much you can do with that information, though? You can analyze your vehicle usage from a host of new viewpoints with an automated system tracking every vehicle's movements.

The only real limits to what you can do with this data are those of the software you use to manipulate it. This is why it's important to pay attention to the reporting capabilities and software support offered along with a GPS vehicle tracking system prior to picking one. A good system can deliver tons of useful, easy-to-digest data; a cheap one may spit out nothing but uninterpreted numbers.

Streamlining Resource Utilization

When you're running a fleet of vehicles, you're trying to keep track of a host of different valuable resources. There are the vehicles themselves, the equipment and materials they carry, and of course the time (and pay) of the employees riding in them. A good GPS-based tracking system can help you manage all of these resources!

GPS tracking lends exceptional accuracy to your supply-chain logistics. You'll know exactly where every truckload of material is at any given moment. A robust tracking system also makes dispatching far easier, cutting down on both idle time and accidental duplication of work.

Minimizing Maintenance Costs

Consider the benefits that GPS tracking can confer on your vehicle maintenance program. You needn't worry about whether or not your employees are keeping accurate vehicle logs any longer; the system collects all the necessary data automatically!

With the help of GPS tracking, you'll extend the life of your vehicles considerably by ensuring they get their regularly-scheduled maintenance without time. This also makes your fleet more reliable and protects you from unexpected breakdowns.

Hopefully, reading this article has encouraged you to look at GPS-based vehicle tracking systems with a broader point of view. There are plenty of benefits to these systems that you may not have considered yet! As the hardware gets cheaper and the software gets more capable, the advantages to tracking systems are only going to get stronger and stronger. Isn't it about time you started enjoying those advantages at your company?