Flight and Car Hire

Old Dec 16, 19, 7:50 am
  #1  
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Flight and Car Hire

Hoping that the wisdom and experience of all you lovely folk on here can help me.
We are flying from ABZ to JNB in May 2020 on a 2-4-1 voucher. Then we are going from JNB to WDH ( separate ticket ).

We wish to hire a vehicle from WDH, tour Namibia, cross into Botswana and then return the car to OR Tambo in JNB. Doing research into vehicle hire with Avis through BA and have come across a couple of "issues".
If I book the flights from JNB to WDH the cost is approx 395 ( 2 pax in J ). I am unable to book the car hire for the entire trip as BA state that they do not allow hire for more than 28 days outside of the US. I looked at "splitting" the hire into 2 blocks and adding it to the flights which would then take the total cost including flights to 2500.
If I made a booking just for the vehicle hire, again splitting it into 2 blocks, the cost is approx 1300. If the flights from JNB to WDH are done as a separate booking to the car hire the total is approx 1700. That is a 800 difference from the flights and car hire on one booking!
It seems like an easy decision, just make two separate bookings, but could I be missing something here?
Many thanks for any advice.
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Old Dec 16, 19, 9:27 am
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Will splitting the car hire bookings work though? What would be the pickup location for the second booking?

Assuming that you are wishing to keep the same car throughout I'd be very wary of splitting that into separate bookings without written confirmation from Avis that you would be allowed to keep the car.

What is the price of booking directly with Avis for the whole trip?
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Old Dec 16, 19, 11:19 am
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Thanks Windowontheaisle,

It was a pop up window on the BA site which suggested we split the booking for the vehicle hire when I tried to book for the whole trip. It said " please note your price may NOT include unlimited milage. To ensure you have unlimited milage we recommend that you make two separate bookings eg one rental for 28 days and one for the remainder of your stay". This is what made me look at splitting the bookings and then discovered the big difference in price. We would be passing back through Windhoek on our way to Botswana so the idea was to drop off and pick up a vehicle in Windhoek.

We have now looked at booking direct with Avis, doing so via the Namibia office looks like our best option price wise, unlimited milage and other t&c's. We'll just book the flights with BA this time.
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Old Dec 16, 19, 11:20 am
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Personally I would be looking to book direct with Avis given that this is (a) a 'long" rental (you don't say how many days) (b) a one way international hire and (c) it is Southern Africa (and there are plenty of examples on this board of 'extra charges' in this region).

Adding BA into the loop as a agent adds very little protection (obviously it becomes a holiday and you get ATOL cover) but by dealing direct with Avis may prove to be much easier in case of any difficulty. Pick an Avis booking that is not prepaid and can be cancelled without cost and your risk of things going wrong before you travel is quite low. Watch out though for high Collision Damage Waiver and tyre protection charges (I'd advise a separate excess policy).

BTW if you sign up to Avis Preferred, you'll get the free additional driver you've get with BAEC (not checked the local Southern Africa rules).

Other car hire firms may be available too, of course :wink:
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Old Dec 16, 19, 11:45 am
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Going on considerable experience booking both through BA and independently, I second the advice to book direct with Avis and sign up for Preferred - and if you use the right AWD code you will get BAEC benefits. It's also essential to have third-party excess insurance as the standard Avis one does not include windscreen, tyre and 'underneath' damage, all of which are likely especially in Namibia. Check also their policy on using gravel roads, which are inescapable in much of Namibia if you do more than drive between the main centres of population. I recall the main Avis depot is at the airport, which is some way south of Windhoek.
Another thing to watch out for is the 'maximum charge' scam at petrol stations in South Africa. If they're not busy, one attendant distracts you with friendly conversation while you stay in your seat while another fills the tank. Once that's done he rests the pump to the maximum prepaid amount and claims that's how much you've bought. Safest to get out and watch the filling process closely.
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Old Dec 16, 19, 3:59 pm
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Thanks for the feedback above, all good advice. We'll book direct with Avis and save ourselves a fair amount of cash which we can waste on enjoying ourselves and spending the kids inheritance lol.
Our rental is for 30 days so we are just over the maximum 28 allowed.
We do have Avis Preferred and also excess insurance through icarhireinsurance. It covers windscreen, tyres and the underneath etc which is essential for driving in Namibia. We were there earlier this year but hired a vehicle which was fully equipped with camping gear etc. Luckily we didn't have any issues even after driving some 5000km in five weeks.
Next year we are going down the "staying in lodges" route so don't need the same kind of vehicle we hired this year, hence the attempt to book via BA.
Great advice re the petrol stations, hubby always gets out of the car. We've lived in Africa in the past and also try to go back at least once a year, especially since we discovered the delights of 2-4-1 companion vouchers with great advice from the folk on FT.
Thanks everyone. Happy travels.
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