How to Drop off Rental Car at Airport

Couple renting a car from rental counter agent.

If you’re traveling to a different country or city, then there are several different ways you can choose to get around. Larger cities have reasonably accessible options for public transport; alternatively, you might be able to get a taxi from A to B, or even walk if you’re staying in a small area. However, nothing offers you the freedom and flexibility that you can get by renting your own car. Having your own personal method of transport when you’re staying in an unknown area can take away a huge source of stress, and provide you with easy transport both to and from the airport as well. But if you’re unsure of the procedure of how to drop off your rental car at the airport at the end of your stay, then here is a short guide to help you.

Plan Your Route

To make your drop off go as smoothly as possible, try to plan your route in advance so that you know exactly where you are going, and so that you can ensure you drop off your car within your allotted time frame. It is important to be aware that some rental companies charge penalty fees for late drop-offs, so make sure that you know your allocated drop off time exactly, and get in touch with the company to confirm it if you need to. When you pick up your car, make a note of the exact location of the drop-off area so that you don’t get lost upon return, and so that you can plan your route from the drop off area back into the main terminal. Most airports should be reasonably well signposted anyway, so be a lookout for directions when you get closer to the airport.

Leave Yourself Plenty of Time

One of the most important factors of airport rental car drop off is ensuring that you leave yourself plenty of time. After all, the last thing you want at the end of your time away is to be rushing to pack your belongings into the car the day you have to drop it off or worrying about missing your flight out because you are stuck in traffic trying to return your vehicle. Make sure that you check the estimated travel time in advance for your journey back, and keep up to date with traffic reports if you can.

Factor in Time to Refuel

Most rental companies operate a policy that requires the tank to be full when you drop it off, just as it is when you pick it up; in these instances, you need to make sure you leave enough time on your way to drop the car off to fill up. By planning your route in advance, it should make it easier for you to find a convenient gas station on your way in to fill up the tank. For your own peace of mind, it might be worth requesting a receipt when you fill the tank, as added proof that you fulfilled the policy in case of any problems. However, some rental companies offer different fuel policies, such as ‘pre-purchase,’ and in these instances, you won’t need to refuel the car before you bring it in, so make sure to double-check the terms and conditions of your rental agreement.

Take Photos

Once you arrive at the drop-off area and your vehicle is safely parked up in an allotted bay, it is worth taking a few pictures of the car to avoid being accidentally charged for any discrepancies within terms and conditions. For example, you don’t want any damage that might occur once you’ve dropped off the car to be wrongly attributed to you, or for there to be any disagreements regarding whether you filled the tank. To be on the safe side, it would be worth taking a photo of the fuel gauge, the mileage, and the front, rear, and sides of the car’s exterior.

Collect Your Belongings

Once you’re parked up and ready to go, make sure that you collect all of your belongings from the car, as it can be difficult to retrieve items that are accidentally left behind. Make sure to check the boot, the glove compartments, in front of the seats, and any back-seat pockets or areas within the car where smaller items can easily be misplaced.

Ask for Assistance

Once you’re ready to hand over the keys, you’re fine to approach a rep from the company to help you with the final hand over. Once they are satisfied that everything is fine, they may refund your security deposit straight away, though every company’s policies are different. If you’re returning the car after hours, there should normally be a dropbox for car keys if there are no members of staff available or if the office is closed.