Discover simple tips for great car rental for skiing. Find out how to get a cheap deal, pick the right car, and get the safety kit you need for snowy driving. Enjoy independence and freedom to explore when you’re skiing.
What type of rental car works best for a ski trip?
Although many people rent larger cars – intermediates, SUVs, estates and people carriers – for their ski trips, economy and compact cars are still the most popular for skiing. The perfect car for your ski trip depends on how many people you’re travelling with and whether you want to carry skis or snowboards inside the car.
Our recommendations for ski trips
|Car make & model
|No of people/seats
|Fits skis or snowboards inside?
When’s the cheapest time to book?
It’s worth booking your car as soon as your flight is booked. This is because rental car companies in ski resorts and airports naturally get very busy during the ski season. So the earlier you book, the more car choice you will have. Prices can rise at the last minute – although there are sometimes still great deals to be had.
If you’re after a more unusual car, it’s definitely worth booking early as these cars often sell out quickly.
What’s the best way to insure a rental car for skiing?
In almost every part of the world, rental cars come with a minimum level of cover against damage, theft and third-party issues. It’s up to the renter whether they want to add insurance to their rental to protect them against losing money if there is a problem while they have the car. You can buy insurance online when you rent your car, from a separate company online, or at the counter when you arrive to pick up the car.
Will the car be ready for driving in ice and snow?
When a rental car is fitted out for wintry conditions – with winter tires or snow chains and any other weather-proof kit – it’s called winterization.
When you rent somewhere snowy, your car will be automatically ‘winterized’ and ready for the weather. In fact, it’s usually a legal requirement for local rental companies to winterize all their cars. Look out for deals marked ‘Winterization included’ or ‘Free winterization’. You can also check what’s included in the rental deal’s Ts & Cs.
If you’re renting a car where snow isn’t expected locally, but you’re driving somewhere snowy, let the rental companies know your plans when you book. Then, when you arrive to pick up your car, it will be fitted with the right type of weather-proof kit. To cover the extra safety kit, you’ll be asked to pay a ‘Winterization fee’ when you get to the rental counter.
Can you carry skis and/or snowboards in a rental car?
Yes, you can. It’s worth picking an estate car or people carrier, so the car is comfortably big enough for your kit – as well as all your passengers and luggage.
The damage coverage that most rental cars come with as standard, called Collision Damage Waiver doesn’t cover the interior of the car. So if the interior were to get damaged by skis or snowboards, the person who hired the car would be asked to pay the full cost of repairs.
If you decide to buy extra insurance for your rental, check what it does and doesn’t cover so there are no nasty surprises. Putting ski kit in bags or wrapping it in fabric can protect the kit as well as the car’s interior.
What if you need a ski rack?
Many rental companies in popular skiing destinations offer ski racks for an extra fee. You can request a ski rack when you book online. Then, when you arrive to pick up the car, you’ll pay the fee and the rental company will provide the ski rack. Very often, rental companies ask customers to fit the ski rack. This is so you can be confident it’s fitted correctly. There’s no harm in asking for a helping hand if you need one.
Ski racks are subject to availability when you arrive. Currently it isn’t possible to guarantee you’ll get one, although it’s very unlikely a rental company will run out of ski racks.