Avis, along with the other car hire companies, get extremely busy over Christmas. In fact, it’s one of our busiest periods of the year. With our busy periods, the demand for our cars can easily outstrip supply. So, we recommend that if you need a car for the Christmas period, book as early as possible.

Firstly, this will help you guarantee getting a car (because if the past few years are to go by we will sell out). Secondly, the earlier in advance you book, the better the price you are likely to get. As described in the blog post “Tips for getting the best price”, our pricing works similar to airlines with prices getting more expensive as the plane fills up (except of course we fill up cars not planes!)

Another tip is that if you need rent a car one way, look out for some bargains. To help us get our cars into the right locations, we are currently putting in place some good prices on one way rentals into Heathrow and Gatwick airports and into our busiest locations in Central London. These prices will be available soon from many of our locations in and around the Midlands, South and South East regions.

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10 Responses to “Booking early for Xmas”

  1. MacGregor Says:

    A Competitor let my wife down at Manchester airport as the car that she had reserved was not ready.[unusual as this is a repeat hire of some 15 hires a year] Avis came up with the goods at a very good price and was perfectly satisfied with the car hire on her trip to Gatwick South via Bangor in North Wales. However she was really let down on dropping the car off and the catch phrase ‘ we try harder’ could only be intrpreted as ‘we try harder to maximise our profit from the customer’
    1] My wife was given a bill of £100 for a nick in a tyre [for which she had no knowledge and she did't have the time to spend 30 mins inspecting the car on collection] she said that at no time was she anywhere near a curb or anything else where this damage could have occured. Basically this was already on the tyre – and the car was re hired with the same tyre in the same condition the next day !!!
    2] She left a mobile phone and expensive fountain pen in the car but upon phoneing the loss could not be encountered for. She knew for a fact that the items had been left in the car and we can only conclude that the items were STOLEN BY THE CLEANERS OR OPERATIVES. loss [theft] was reported to the Police but they could not give a damn. Neither could the management of the car hire office at the airport. I have to say it was a miserable experience that will not be repeated.
    We will be taking up the matter further !!!

  2. Andrew Says:

    Looks like it is already too late. Trying to find a 2 day rental the weekend before Christmas from the Avis branches in Central London, and very little availability – most branches sold out, the one branch which does have a vehicle wants over £300 for a people carrier!

  3. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi MacGregor,

    Thanks for your comment and I’m sorry to hear about your experience. We take comments like this extremely seriously and I understand a Customer Service representative has already contacted you to discuss this matter.



  4. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Unfortunately, lots of people have booked early this year and our fleet availability is reducing by the day. The only thing I can suggest is if you can travel a little further, our larger airports just outside London (Heathrow, Gatwick, etc) might have more availability.



  5. Francesca Critchley Says:

    I had to cancel a rental car which I had pre-booked over the Christmas period and have been told by Avis Customer care that I will be charged GBP 20 cancellation charge.

    I gave nearly 2 weeks notice of the cancellation yet still it is deemed necessary that a ridiculously high fee will be applied.

    I have now read on this webpage that sometimes “demand outstips supply” at Christmas so it is almost inevitable that the car I cancelled will be rented out.

    Further to this, I have now emailed customer care three times with no response.

    I am an expat in Switzerland and write for many expat publications and contribute to a number of fora also used by the expat community in this part of Europe. I will have no hesitation to recount my experiences of an unpalatably steep cancellation charge on any and all of these fora and publications and highlight Avis’ appalling customer service.

    I also control the travel, hotel and rental car booking for a large investment company and will urge our management and partners not to include Avis on their rental car company list.

    Customer care? More customer rip-off!!

  6. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi Francesca,

    Avis prepay rates are designed to offer better prices than pay later rates, hence charging the amount upfront and applying specific terms and conditions, similar to airlines or hotels.

    We do inform customers of the terms and conditions at time of booking so that they know a £20 fee applies in case of cancellation. This will be either at the call centre, where the agent informs the customer on the phone before confirming the booking and charging the credit card, or on the Avis website, where customers are asked to agree to the terms and conditions by clicking the relevant tick box before processing their booking. In addition, our terms and conditions are stated on the voucher sent to our customers either by mail (if booked at the call centre) or email (if booked through the internet).

    If an Avis customer needs to cancel their booking, they can contact us by either writing or sending an email to Avis customer services. The booking can be cancelled up to the expected pick-up date and time and a refund will be applied, less the £20 cancellation fee. The reason why we apply this fee is because we have to cover some admin costs, such as Avis finance services staff and credit card processing fees. I understand your point about renting the car again, but we cannot guarantee that the car will be rented by another customer, despite the increased demand.

    I hope this explains why we apply this charge.

    I have also looked at your case and from our records, a reply was sent to you from Customer Services on 11/12/08. If there is a further communication that you have not received a reply for, please forward to me at comments@avis.co.uk and I will chase this for you.


  7. Francesca Critchley Says:

    It is still an unfair charge as it applies to someone cancelling with a long notice period in the same as if someone cancelled at the last minute. I would expect that this charge be applied to someone cancelling within 24 hours or even 48 hours, not 2 weeks.

    Very unfair and excessive charge.

  8. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi Francesca,

    I understand your strength of feeling on this matter but we do try to be transparent about this charge (as detailed above). In addition, we incur the same charges for pre-payments, regardless of when the customer cancels the booking.



  9. Sarah Hughes Says:

    Hi, my husband and I are thinking of hiring a car in France (Nice Cote d’Azur airport) and he has 3 penalty points on his licence for speeding. Will that be a problem hiring a car with Avis in France? Many thanks. Sarah

  10. Michael O'Donnell- Reservations, UK Says:

    Hello Sarah,

    3 points will be no problem to rent with Avis. Under most circumstances you can rent with up to 6 points,



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