Everything You Ever Needed To Know About Car Hire

Back in the day making a car rental reservation was serious admin. You’d have to leave work to make a special visit to a rental agency to get a consultant to assist you. Or you’d leave it until the last minute only to discover too late that they’re having some kind of conference and the only vehicle available is an 18 wheeler truck! Times have changed, in 2015 you can even do your grocery shopping from the comfort of your couch, so it make sense when planning your next trip to simplify your life and book your next rental car online.

Booking car hire online means they’ll have the car size you want

Mini Cooper Limousine by Ciorra photography on Flickr

You’ll have the freedom to go your own way


Courtesy of Raiseyourglassfridays

You get to leave when you want, choosing the most direct route or the road less travelled. It’s up to you. With 24 hour booking online, you can search and book at any time giving you added freedom when planning a trip.

Here are some car hire tips to unleash your inner car booking expert and simplify your life:

Same same, but different


Courtesy of Caters News

Once you’ve entered your pick up point and dates, you’ll get a list of cars and suppliers from which to choose. One of the first things you will notice is the header (for example Kia Picanto or similar). This means the vehicle displayed and model listed are common to this vehicle type. There is no guarantee that make or model will be the same from the supplier. What you can expect is the same size of car.

Cancellation Policy

Basically this mean that you get a FREE cancellation period for up to 24 hours before pick-up time, thereafter an administration fee of ZAR684 will apply. No cancellations are allowed after the pick-up date and time have passed.

Driver’s Age

You need to be 24 and over to be the lead driver of a vehicle or even the second driver. Young drivers (18 to 23 years of age) may incur an extra surcharge which is not included in the rental price. It is paid in the local currency at the rental desk (this at the discretion of the supplier).

Driver’s License

A full license held for minimum of 1+ year is required depending on the supplier. and there must be no major endorsements (defaults) on your license. UK license holders need to present their photocard. If your license is not in the Roman alphabet (i.e. Arabic, Greek, Russian or Chinese) you need to take your international driver’s license and your domestic license. If you’re renting abroad (outside your country of residence, or outside where your license was issued), an international driver’s license is usually required regardless of the alphabet. Your international driver’s license must be accompanied by your original domestic license.

Cards Accepted

You must present one of the following cards when picking up your hired car: American Express, MasterCard or Visa (not debit). They will not accept pre-paid credit cards, Laser, Maestro, Visa Debit or Switch cards.
It is important to note that the credit card must be in the lead driver’s name. You should also check that you have enough limit on your card to cover the excess.
It’s very important to make sure that card is all in order before you arrive at the supplier’s desk. If you do not have sufficient funds or a valid credit card they may refuse to release the car. In these cases you will not qualify for a refund.

Payment Methods

There are three payment methods which are dependent on the supplier and the time frame in which you want to hire the car.

  • The first is a full payment. Full payment means funds will be deducted directly from your credit card for the hire of the vehicle at the time of booking.
  • The second payment method is making a deposit when you book the car. Thereafter the balance will be deducted from your credit card seven days before you pick up the car.
  • The last method is similar to the previous one- you pay a deposit however the remaining balance will be paid at the supplier on the date of pick up.


You must present a printed version of your voucher when you arrive at the rental desk. Failure to present the voucher means the car rental agent may charge you at the local rate. Also note if you don’t present the required documents, the documentation is not valid or you do not have enough funds on your credit card, the car rental agent may refuse to release the vehicle and no funds will be reimbursed.
Here is great link that allows you to manager your booking, whether it’s to check details of the booking, to see how much still needs to be deducted or if you’d like to cancel your booking. Cartrawler has a comprehensive web-based tool which you can login to, to manage your own car hire bookings.

We Love to Help

If you have any queries our expert travel consultants are eager to assist you. Call 0861 878 278 or +2721-468-4300.

Our Readers Comments

  1. Hi!
    I made a booking of a car hire at Woodford which wad supposed to be picked on the 7th of September, but my husband passed on then i did a cancellation.
    Up to now I haven’t got any response about my repayment.
    My Booking Ref: ZA at Travelstart
    And with Woodford it was:
    can I please get my money before i put this on midea

    • Hi Phunzile,

      Thanks for getting in touch and sorry to hear of this sad news. Condolances to you and your family.

      Your reference numbers provided are not showing. If I could ask that you please e-mail urgent@travelstart.com and provide them with the reference numbers and query. Our guest agents and team leaders who monitor this inbox and specialise in this area will be able to assist.

  2. Great information you shared. This really helps person who are visiting for the first time in South Africa. It was a great read.

  3. Good day

    I hired a car from Budged troughTravestart Car Hire as frm 20 September 2017 to 24 September 2017. (Booking number ZA779174320). I was quoted R827.00 which was paid when the booking was made on 17 August 2017.

    Another amount of R1,188.67 recovered from my credit card on 28 September 2017. Please supply me the detail of the last mentioned osts


    • Hi Philip,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      For this you would need to contact the car hire company or car trawler the supplier. On your bank statement, it should say who debited the amount. If it was Budget you would need to contact them and they would advise the additional cost was for.

  4. Helpful information, thanks for writing and share this information.I really appreciate it.

  5. Hi there,

    As a South African, how do I apply for an international drivers license for Germany?

    Your response will be appreciated.

    • Hi there Brenda,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Unfortunately we are not able to advise on your query, however you may contact home affairs directly.~Stacey

  6. Before renting a car in countries abroad read also the specifications of driving in that particular country. There will be many differences and specifications.

  7. If you book a car through Travel Start, they will use a sub contractor called Car Trawler. (Although you still pick up your car from Avis or Budget.)
    Car Trawler are based in Ireland and use Euros as their base currency.
    Because of this, your refundable deposit on the car (the amount they reserve on your credit card when you pick the car up to pay for any damage you might do), is ridiculous. For us it was ZAR25,000. For a Toyota Corolla.
    Better to go through Avis or Budget or similar. Same cars, same staff, same pick up point, same prices, 10x smaller deposit.

    • Hi there,

      Thank you for the feedback. We appreciate you taking the time to share it with us,.
      We partner with cartrawler to make sure that our customers have the largest selections of suppliers available online to compare.

      Regarding the Excess, when you collect the car from the rental company they will pre-authorise an amount on your card. This amount will automatically be released if there is no theft or damage during the rental period. The excess amount will vary from supplier to supplier and is not determined by us or our online car rental partner. Do let us know if you would like us to look into why you had such a big amount pre-authorised on your card.

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