Is it your first time to hire a car? Whether you’re traveling to the Gold Coast from overseas or another area in Australia, it pays to start your research early. There’s so much to learn about the process, especially if you’re considering getting car rental services from the Gold Coast airport.

To help you get started, here are few things you’ll want to take note of for a stress-free road trip experience.

1. Book early.

Don’t wait until the last minute to book your rental car. If you’re planning a trip to Gold Coast on the holiday season, you’ll be competing with more travelers. Your desired vehicle type may get booked out fast. Plus, waiting too long before booking may cause you to pay more. When you’re booking ahead of time, you may be able to score early bird deals. Plus, chances are high you’ll find that a lot of vehicles are still available.

2. Understand the terms and conditions.

Don’t just read through the fine print. Be sure that you have a clear understanding of the terms and conditions. This will help you avoid unnecessary costs and help you plan your trip accordingly. For example, there may be locations that you’re not allowed to take the car to, such as unpaved roads. So, if there’s anything that concerns you, don’t hesitate to talk to the supplier.

3. Consider time and book for a longer term.

Booking a rental car for a long period may allow you more savings than booking on a daily basis. It’s also more convenient to have a vehicle ready when you need to go than have to pick up a new one every time. This is especially the case when you’re traveling with kids. When booking a car, take note of your pick-up and drop-off times. You don’t want to be charged extra for delays so be on time. Even a one-hour delay can cost a full day rate.

4. You may pay extra if you’re below 25.

Rules vary per car rental agency. Some car hire agencies charge a fee for drivers below age 25. Young drivers may also have limited car choices and may only reduce the damage liability up to a certain amount. If you are taking turns driving with a young driver, take note of the extra costs this will entail. Compare and see which companies charge lower fees.

5. Take time inspecting your rental car.

Don’t rush the car inspections. You will be allowed to take a close look at the car before driving away so take your time. Notify the supplier if you see any dents or damages not declared. You don’t want to be charged for something that’s not your fault. Keep photos as proof of the car’s actual condition when it was passed on to you.

6. Always ask about potential charges.

You don’t want to be surprised with extra fees once you drop off the rental car. Ask the representative from the car rental company which charges you should be aware of, such as one-way and administration fees. Additional equipment, such as a child seat, may also cost money, so see if it’s more practical to bring your own or buy one somewhere. You can always sell these items to other travelers before you leave.

Hiring a car is always a practical solution when traveling. Gather as much information as you can to save both time and money. And don’t rush signing up with a supplier. You can always go back to the car hire company on your next travel if it turns out it’s the best choice.