There’s nothing more exciting than finally getting the chance to travel somewhere. However, there are a ton of things to prepare if you want everything to run smoothly, and making a decision between taking your own car and renting one could make a huge difference. Choosing the wrong thing might end up with you being very frustrated throughout the whole trip, so it’s important to take everything into consideration. Since what you pick really depends on a multitude of things, here’s what you need to bear in mind if you want a stress-free, fun vacation.

Take stock of your vehicle

If your car’s not ready to make a cross-country trip, then whether you should take it or rent one becomes a moot point. You have to take stock of your car before you make any decisions, and if you’ve been driving an old, beat down rust bucket, then you can be pretty sure that taking it with you is risky at best. Anyone who’s planning to take long trips needs to have their car in absolute top shape, so consider taking it to a mechanic just to make sure everything’s in good order.

If you have a new car, this could be a great opportunity to test-drive it and see whether it holds up to your expectations, or you might be too nervous to take it with you if you’ve owned it for only a short while and aren’t completely comfortable with all of its controls. After all, a brand new vehicle takes some getting used to, so make sure you know exactly how it’ll behave.

Take the region into account

If you drive a sleek little car that’s perfectly fine in paved city areas, it doesn’t mean it will perform nearly as well in mountainous regions. You have to take where you’re going into consideration, and it’s a good idea to take a look at actual maps and figure out what kind of surfaces you’ll be driving on. It’s possible that your car can’t really handle some regions, in which case it’s best to be safe and hire a proper rental.

Determining the cost

It’s tricky to determine it exactly because it depends on several things – how far you have to travel to reach your destination, how long you plan to stay, how much gas you’ll need, what are the average gas prices in the area, your own car’s fuel efficiency, spare tires, and what kind of insurance you plan to get. If you plan to rent, it’s always better to rent per week rather than per day to reduce the overall cost, but it still depends on the size and model of the car you plan to ask for. If you only need a small vehicle for you and your partner you’ll manage a lot better than if you need a vehicle for a big family. To make it easier on yourself, try using this calculator to figure out the exact costs.

Long-term costs

It’s very important to take long-term costs into consideration when making a decision, because it’s not really only about what you need to pay out of your pocket immediately. It’s a particularly big problem with cars under lease where you need to keep your annual mileage in mind, so do calculate how much you really plan to drive. Also, the wear and tear of your own vehicle is another thing to remember – a lot of added mileage can lead to future pricey repairs. As long as you go for a reliable service like Avis Car Hire, you could actually end up saving yourself money in the long run.

 

Your own comfort

Sometimes it’s simply easier to book a plane ticket, get to your destination quickly, and then rent a car merely for sightseeing. Alternatively, driving your own vehicle the entire time could make you feel a lot more comfortable, so it really does depend a lot on what you want out of this experience. Will you be the only one driving? Do you need frequent rests along the road? Maybe you love the idea of a long road trip with your buddies where you can mess around and make jokes the entire time? To add to that, will your buddies be pitching in to pay for the gas? Answer all these questions and you’ll have a much better idea of what you can expect.

In the end, both renting and driving your own car are great options, and it all depends on your specific needs. Renting could end up being cheaper and easier to pull off in long-term, but your own car might provide you with a better sense of comfort. Whatever you choose, make sure you’ve got good insurance that can cover any mishaps, and enjoy your vacation in peace!