Renting a car in Pakistan is fairly simple and easy when you already know all the requirements and what you should avoid. There are small, medium and global car rental agencies located across the major airports and cities of Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Multan, Peshawar and Quetta.
I’m going to share some useful tips to rent a car in Pakistan without feeling ripped off and paying extra charges.
Tips to get best car rental rates in Pakistan
Book a hire car earlier
It’s always good to book a car earlier than you need specially for vacations and traveling across the country. Lately, I was planning a 10-days holidays to go to Northern areas of Pakistan with family and checked the rental rates from the websites of few companies in Lahore. I could have booked the car for 10 days for about PKR. 20,000 but finally, when I decided to book one, after a month the rates went high up to PKR. 35,000 due to the start of peak season.
Tip: Browse through the websites of few car rental companies and if you find good rates ahead of time then you should book the vehicle right away. Since there’s no booking charges that’s why you can always cancel it if you find a better deal later.
Car Rental Duration
Charges for hiring a car are normally on 24-hours basis. When you pick up the car at 11 am and return it at 12 pm on the next day then you could be charged for two days.
Tip: You can avoid such extra charges by carefully selecting the period for which you need the car. For example you might need a vehicle for 5 days but there’s an offer to rent it for 6 days at discounted prices or with free extra day then it will be easier to return the vehicle within the time.
Automatic or Manual?
In Pakistan we have mostly manual cars and due to less availability of automatic vehicles there are extra charges for that. Sometimes these can be shockingly more than manual vehicle due to the fact that automatic transmission is mostly available in newer or high-end models.
What you should do? If you are good at driving automatic vehicle then with just a little bit of practice you’ll be able to drive manual car and that can save you whole lot of money when you rent for long term.
Size Does Matter!
Small economy cars are not very small in size actually, and they can easily fit 4 persons especially when you don’t have extra oomph for overtaking. And, it is also good when you are going into inner parts of the old town or in the villages.
My advice is to opt for a small car when you don’t have much luggage. When you think you need extra space or bit more roomy interior then compact sedan will be the option you should go for.
This one gets tricky at times especially when the agencies rent out the vehicle with full tank. Some of the agencies also renting empty tank cars with enough fuel to take you to the petrol station. In both cases, full-empty and full-full you may end up giving free fuel to the company.
You have to make sure to spot the nearest petrol station (ideally within 5km) to the rental office. This will give you the idea of how much petrol you need to leave in car to safely reach the office when returning.
Most of the car rental companies include driver with the vehicle and you have to pay extra charges for that. There are few companies that still offer rental vehicle without driver with a reasonable personal guarantee.
I have personally rented mid-sized sedan few times from a car rental company in Lahore city without driver and it always was cheaper deal. Sometimes you may also find a deal with free driver while booking in advance.
Some companies, including PSG Rent a Car offer free cancellation up to 48 hours before the renting date. So you should always choose such a company that is flexible with the customers. Never skip checking the rent policy of the company before booking.
Written by Usman Butt of PSG Rent a Car