As of the 1st March 2010 Avis UK will be making changes to its payment policy whereby customers will no longer be able to use cash as the only method of payment to hire a car.

Following a review of Avis’ processes and after assessing the risks associated with keeping cash at Avis branches, the company will no longer be accepting cash as an only method of payment. In line with industry standards, customers will be required to make all or part of their payment with an authorised credit card.

Avis will continue to accept cash:

  • as a full settlement or part payment at the end of a rental.
  • alongside a credit card payment. However, the card must be authorised for the full amount at the start of the rental.
  • as a fuel deposit.
  • from customers that have booked via a tour operator and has lost their card. Please note that the card must be reported lost and payment must be authorised by the Avis branch manager.

But please be sure to remember you must still present a credit card that is in the name of the renter.

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This spring, renting a car with Avis will be even better value for money, thanks the unexpected holiday bonus over Easter and the Royal Wedding. Savvy Avis customers have already realised that the two back to back bank holidays make it possible to take 11 days holiday while losing only 3 days of your annual leave allowance.

Treating yourself to an Avis rental car transforms driving to your destination from a chore into an enjoyable part of the holiday. To help you make the most of this unique opportunity to get out and explore the UK or drive off into Europe, we’re advising to our blog followers to book early.

Why book your Avis car rental now?
With the kids on school holidays during that enticing 3-day week just before the Royal Wedding, this is the perfect time for families to get out and about and drive to a new holiday destination this spring. But to get that special rental car you’ve had your eye on at the best price, you need to book soon…

Here’s why:

Booking early with Avis means more choice.
Due to supply vs. demand there’s a good chance that our most popular cars, particularly the larger, family friendly vehicles that have space for everyone to travel in comfort, will get booked up fast. So make sure you book your rental car soon to avoid disappointment.

Avis rental prices have to change in response to demand: like many other services such as airlines or hotels, Avis rental prices change in response to supply and demand. The fewer cars we have available, the higher the rental price will be. Leave your booking until the last minute and you could find yourself with little choice of car. Read ‘Our pricing explained part 2’ blog post to learn more about demand-led rates.

Of course there are many other benefits of booking a rental car with Avis, especially on busy bank holidays when public transport services are restricted and packed with other people heading off for some family fun. With an Avis hire car you are free to come and go as you please, stopping anywhere you like along the way, and enjoying complete flexibility at your destination.

The usual Avis benefits
Avis also allow you share the driving with Avis Additional Driver cover so everyone gets a break, and we’ll fit child and baby seats on request so the kids travel in complete safety. You can also hire an Avis GPS to make sure your trip goes without a hitch and we’ll even deliver your vehicle to your home to get your trip off to the perfect start.

We’re always pleased to hear from our blog followers –why not add a comment and let us know how you are planning to spend your extended bank holiday time in 2011?

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I am very excited to announce the introduction of the Peugeot RCZ to Avis Select Series. It is the first in a number of exciting new marquees we are adding to the range in 2011.

I was lucky enough to get to drive a demo for the night and I can tell you that it is as stylish in the flesh as it is in the pictures – no Photoshop jiggery pockery required here! The curvaceous lines and the double-bubble roof – it’s a car with well deserved reputation for style.

The model we have introduced is the GT 1.6 THP200 which includes a load of great features as standard: leather upholstery, 19″ ‘Sortilege’ Alloy Wheels, front and parking aid and, of course, the active rear spoiler.

The RCZ is currently available at Heathrow, Gatwick and London. And if you’re still unsure whether to give the RCZ a go, I’ll leave you with this little taster…

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sleepAccording to a recent European study, prolonged night time driving can be as hazardous as driving drunk! The report, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, claims that up to 20% of accidents in industrialised countries can be attributed to fatigue and that driving as little as 3 hours at night was similar to being intoxicated.

The Highways Agency estimated in 2009 that 300 people die each year on the UK roads in sleep-related incidences.

I have to admit to being slightly surprised by these statistics. How many of us wouldn’t think twice about jumping in the car early in the morning before your first coffee of the day or making that long journey to start/end your holiday overnight to avoid the rush-hour traffic? But on the other hand wouldn’t ever consider driving a car after having an alcoholic drink?

This got me thinking about some tips for safe driving to avoid fatigue at the wheel and I discovered the Safer Motoring website offered some great advice:

  • Don’t start your journey tired, make sure you are fit both mentally and physically for your trip.
  • If you are to be driving for a long period pre-plan 15 minute breaks every two hours.
  • Where possible, avoid driving for long periods between 12 midnight and 8am.
  • If you must stop, find a safe place to rest – the hard-shoulder is not suitable for having a break.

Some of the other common theories about keeping awake (opening your window to get fresh air and playing loud music) appear to only have a minimal, short term effect. In my experience, sharing the driving with a friend/partner also helps keep you fresh when taking long journeys.

Next time you take a long journey or need to drive where there is a risk of getting tired, consider the above recommendations on keeping safe. If you have any tips on how to drive safely, we’d love to hear them and for more information on adding an additional driver to your next Avis car rental, click here.

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With Valentines Day just around the corner we thought we’d help you out with some last minute inspiration on where to take your loved for a romantic break this weekend.

Valentines2At Avis we’ve pulled together some of our Avis driving guides of our favourite romantic getaway locations in the UK and Europe. With suggestions of long walks down sandy beaches or a break in a picturesque cottage located in the mountains, we have something to suite everyone’s romantic tastes. So why not take a look, book your hotel and Avis hire car and then download your guide and make this Valentines weekend one to remember.

Click here to take a look at our romantic getaway suggestions and to download your Avis driving guides.

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Tower_Bridge__London__UKRenting a car from Avis in Central London is a quick and easy way to get moving, whether you’re driving out and about around the city or using a rental car for a well-earned break in the countryside. But it’s important to remember that even though the car belongs to Avis and not you, any congestion charge it attracts is still your responsibility. Avis advises all its customers using a car in central London that the congestion charge needs to be paid promptly – we would hate for you to have to pay a hefty fine.

Avis Car Hire London
You can rent a car from Avis in London at no less than twelve central locations, including all the mainline rail stations – Charing Cross, Euston, Liverpool Street, Paddington, Victoria and Waterloo – as well as Earl’s Court, Marble Arch, Tower Bridge, Shepherds Bush and Park Royal. You can also hire an Avis car from the main airports at Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted and London City.

If your rental begins within the congestion charge zone, or you visit the zone during your rental, you may incur a charge. The following information should help you avoid any fines.

The congestion charge
A charge will be applied to any car that enters the congestion charge zone between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday. There are no charges at the weekend or on bank holidays. The charges went up on 4th January 2011 and are now set at:

  • £10 if paid in advance or on the day of travel.
  • £12 if paid by midnight the day after travel.

Your car, your responsibility
Any congestion charges applied to your Avis rental car are your responsibility, and if you don’t pay, you’ll be liable to a fine of £120, payable within 28 days.

Naturally, Avis Rent a Car are here to help, and we will be happy to arrange a permit for the first day of your rental and add this to you rental charges. However, you’ll need to organise congestion charge payments for subsequent days.

If you are unable to accept your vehicle on delivery, or your vehicle is not available for collection as arranged, we may need to charge a further congestion charge supplement to your account to cover the extra trip.

How to pay the congestion charge
It couldn’t be easier to pay the congestion charge and avoid a fine. You can pay online at the Transport for London website, or by phone on 0845 900 1234, or, if you have pre-registered online, you can pay by text on 81099. You can also pay the Congestion Charge at selected London shops.

Remember, if you do not pay by midnight the day after travel, you could face a fine of £120, so it’s well worth making the effort to ensure your congestion charges are covered for the whole of your car rental in London.

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The media is currently awash with reports of soaring fuel prices reaching a record high, and with a further increase due in April (depending on whether the Chancellor George Osborne bows to pressure from motorists) – the British are facing some of the highest prices in the world.

At Avis we have been looking to see how you can make your fuel go further when renting a car and we found that Martin Lewis has put together some efficient driving tips on his site which claims to be able to cut your fuel spend by a third. Here are some of the highlights:

Step 1 – Make your car more efficient

  • Keep your tyres inflated – Driving your car with just one tyre at 20% below the correct pressure can increase fuel consumption by 4%.
  • De-clutter your car – The lighter your car is, the less effort it needs to make to accelerate.
  • Remove your roof rack – If you’re not using it, as it increases the drag and makes the engine work harder.
  • Turn off the air con – Doing this could improve your fuel efficiency by 8%.
  • Don’t fill the tank – Keep the weight of your car down by only filling up to ½ or ¾ full.
  • Step 2 – Drive more efficiently

  • Accelerate gradually – It’s more economical to increase speed gradually. The harder you press the accelerator, the more fuel flows.
  • Drive in the correct gear – Always drive in the highest gear possible without labouring the engine.
  • Slow naturally – Gradual braking and minimum use of gears saves fuel.
  • Be road aware – The more alert you are when driving, the better you can plan ahead and move gradually.
  • Step 3: Find the cheapest Petrol or Diesel

  • Shop around – Websites such as make it easy to find the cheapest petrol & diesel prices in your area.
  • Don’t run your tank dry – Always fill up at least fifty miles before your tank’s empty to avoid panic buying and spending more.
  • Avoid ‘high performance fuels’ – There’s little or no performance difference for most non-performance cars – so only fill up with the super-fuels if you’ve a sports car that can take it.
  • Step 4: Take advantage of cash back and promotional offers

  • Use a cashback/fuel credit card – Paying for fuel using a credit card reward scheme can earn you 5% cash back.
  • Look out for petrol promotions – Supermarkets often do petrol promotions, so keep an eye out for these to get the best saving possible.
  • If you’ve got any other tips for saving fuel when renting a car then please let us know. Plus for more information on fuel options when renting a car from Avis click here.

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    Please note:

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    Why we love to blog

    At Avis, we really do try harder. We pioneered blogging in the car rental world and we aim to make our blog much more than just an information source. You can use our blog to ask questions or tell us what’s important to you when you hire a car. We try harder because we care what you think, so we really do value your feedback.

    New to car rentals? Our blog gives you tips and advice on getting the most out of your Avis car hire experience. You can find information about booking and hiring your car, safety tips, and eco driving. We also provide driving advice and the latest news about our fleet.

    We understand that hiring a car is just one part of your trip, so our blog covers other aspects of holiday and business travel too. Whether you want to know more about business travel hire conditions, access to location and city guides or ideas for families travelling with children, it’s all here.

    But that’s just a taster – find out more about the Avis blog.