In the ever-evolving landscape of travel trends, one aspect has resurged as a favorite amongst travelers in the GCC region—road trips. As the desire to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations and travel on one’s own terms continues to grow, car hire has taken the center stage. This article delves into the recent research conducted by Skyscanner, a renowned global flight, car hire, and hotel price comparison site, shedding light on the preferences, trends, and considerations of GCC travelers when it comes to hiring cars for their journeys.
Exploring GCC Traveler Preferences
In a recent study conducted by Skyscanner, it was revealed that a whopping 79% of UAE travelers express a strong inclination towards hiring a car during their upcoming holidays. This significant preference underlines the desire for flexibility and autonomy when it comes to exploring destinations. Additionally, the data brings forth an interesting trend—98% of UAE travelers are open to venturing into alternative or lesser-known destinations, even if public transportation options are limited. This shift towards lesser-explored locales has propelled road trips into the limelight for the travel seasons of 2023 and 2024.
The Sustainable Drive: Embracing Hybrid and Electric Cars
Sustainability has increasingly become a crucial factor in travelers’ decision-making processes. Skyscanner’s research highlighted that an impressive 84% of road trippers consider sustainability a pivotal element when renting a car. This heightened consciousness about the environment has given rise to a notable interest in hybrid and electric vehicles. Intriguingly, around 41% of surveyed UAE travelers have already chosen to hire an electric or hybrid car during their recent holidays, while an additional 50% are open to the idea.
Navigating the Road to Savings: The Price Consideration
While cost remains a significant consideration for travelers, the research shows that only a third of UAE travelers actively compare car hire prices from different providers—an action that could lead to substantial savings. Ayoub El Mamoun, a Skyscanner Travel Expert, highlights the platform’s role in aiding travelers in their pursuit of budget-friendly options. Skyscanner searches through billions of prices daily, sourced from over 1200 providers, to present travelers with comprehensive flight, car hire, and hotel options that align with their travel needs and financial constraints.
Unleashing the Benefits of Electric Vehicles (EVs)
Beyond financial savings, opting for an electric vehicle (EV) offers an array of advantages. Not only do EVs contribute to a reduced carbon footprint, but they also come with perks such as exemption from low-emission zone charges in select cities and free parking, provided they are connected to charging points. Whether you’re an environmentally-conscious traveler or simply looking to economize your car hire expenses, Skyscanner facilitates the process of finding cost-effective EV rentals. By selecting the ‘Electric & Hybrid’ filter under the ‘Low-Emissions Vehicle’ category on the Skyscanner car hire search homepage, travelers can effortlessly find suitable options.
The Road Less Traveled: Top Destinations for Road Trips
Skyscanner’s comprehensive research extends beyond preferences and considerations, delving into the top destinations that captivate the hearts of road trippers from the UAE. The Middle East, Europe, and Asia emerge as the most favored regions for road trip holidays. Here, we explore three of these captivating destinations in detail:
Historical Jordan: A Journey Through Time
Jordan, with its breathtaking landscapes and historical treasures, beckons road trippers to embark on an unforgettable journey. Starting from Amman, the capital city, travelers can explore the ancient citadel and the historic Roman Theatre. The road trip continues through the Desert Highway towards Petra, an archaeological wonder. After indulging in the beauty of Petra, a visit to Wadi Rum offers camping amidst stunning vistas. The journey concludes with relaxation at the luxurious spa resorts of the Dead Sea. A hybrid vehicle rental in Jordan for a week can cost as low as AED 919 between 1-8 September 2023.
La Dolce Vita – Italian Lakes Beckon
For those yearning for the charm of Italy, a week-long road trip to Milan and Lake Como promises an enchanting experience. The allure of Lake Como lies in its leisurely exploration, with picturesque lakeside lanes and charming towns nestled against a backdrop of majestic mountains. From Milan, the journey leads to Tremezzina and Varenna, adorned with captivating architecture and quaint pasticcerias. A visit to Como’s Bellagio offers indulgence, and the Villa del Balbianello, a site where scenes from Casino Royale were filmed. A week’s electric car rental from Milan Airport starts from AED 574 between 1-8 September 2023.
Switzerland’s Lakeside Landscapes: A Captivating Drive
The sweeping landscapes of Switzerland invite travelers to a captivating road trip from Zurich to Lugano, via Lucerne. The journey unveils serene countryside, pristine lakes, and rolling hills. Lucerne, with its fairytale charm and Swiss Alps in the backdrop, sets the stage for awe-inspiring exploration. The Vitznau-Rigi railway offers panoramic views, and the drive from Lucerne to Lugano traverses the breathtaking Gotthard Pass. Upon reaching Lugano, the lake and surrounding parks beckon with seasonal concerts and festivals. A week’s electric vehicle rental from Zurich Airport is priced from AED 1,290 between 1-8 September 2023.
Expert Tips for Affordable Car Hire
Skyscanner’s Ayoub shares invaluable insights for travelers seeking budget-friendly car hire deals:
- Explore Multiple Locations: Price disparities often exist between different car hire locations. Consider options beyond the airport to find cost-effective choices. Look for ‘meet and greet’ or ‘free shuttle’ services for added convenience.
- Early Reservations Yield Savings: Unlike last-minute hotel deals, delaying car hire bookings can lead to higher costs. Booking 24-48 hours before pick-up can result in a staggering 30% increase in expenses. Early reservations also offer a wider selection of vehicles.
- Upgrade with a Smile: A warm demeanor can lead to unexpected perks. A friendly request for a vehicle upgrade can yield a more luxurious car without extra charges. Negotiating an offered upgrade can lead to better deals.
- Loyalty Rewards: Some car hire companies offer rewards to loyal customers. Check if your preferred airline or credit card provider offers special rates with rental companies. Loyalty networks often present cost-effective options.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are hybrid and electric cars popular among UAE travelers?
A: Indeed, sustainability considerations have made hybrid and electric cars increasingly popular among UAE travelers, with 41% having already chosen these options and another 50% open to the idea.
Q: What advantages do electric vehicles (EVs) offer?
A: Apart from their environmental benefits, EVs often enjoy perks such as exemption from low-emission zone charges and free parking when connected to charging points.
Q: Is booking early important for affordable car hire?
A: Yes, booking car hire well in advance is crucial for securing the best prices and widest vehicle selection. Last-minute bookings can lead to higher costs and limited options.
Q: How can I find the most affordable car hire deals?
A: Exploring multiple locations, reserving your car early, and leveraging loyalty rewards are effective strategies for finding affordable car hire deals.
Q: What are some recommended road trip destinations for UAE travelers?
A: Historical Jordan, the Italian Lakes, and Switzerland’s lakeside landscapes are among the top recommended road trip destinations for UAE travelers, each offering unique experiences and breathtaking views.
Q: Are there specific rental locations that offer better deals?
A: Yes, car hire prices can vary significantly between different rental locations. Exploring options beyond the airport and utilizing ‘meet and greet’ or ‘free shuttle’ services can lead to more budget-friendly choices.