Renting a car during your travels can appear like a simple task, but is it really that simple? You pay the rental service, hop in your ride of choice, and go from point A to B. Surely that isn’t hard. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone.

Every person or family have different needs, and these needs should absolutely be considered when choosing a rental car during your travels. Here are some tips to get the most out of your next car rental.

Most car rental companies will offer similar vehicles in various classifications. The era of simple choices between subcompact, compact, mid-size and sports cars as your only choices is over. Now your options range from mini cars to luxury SUVs.

So, the question becomes what is your need? A Sporty BMW luxury car might sound nice, but if you’re not spending a lot of time in the vehicle, it may be a wasted expense. You might be tempted to rent a convertible, but if the weather is forecasted for 10 days of rain, or you have a lot of luggage, it’s not the most practical choice and you may not get full enjoyment out of it. An examination of what you’ll need while on your trip will help you in your journey to make a choice.

The earlier you determine what you need from your rental car, the more flexibility you’ll have when looking around for the right deal.

One thing to remember, large cars tend to consume more fuel. They’re also usually more difficult to move around, particularly in cities that have narrow roads or limited parking. Small to mid-sized cars tend to be the most popular rental vehicles. Most have better fuel economy than larger cars, and they tend to be less expensive to rent. You may even find that when you reserve a compact or subcompact car, you’ll often receive a free upgrade to the mid-size category. That’s because most rental agencies occupy smaller cars in their fleets.

Remember, of course, you aren’t guaranteed an upgrade — you may get exactly what you asked for. If that makes you nervous, try to choose a car that’s large enough for you. Large families with lots of luggage should pick a vehicle that will provide a safe and comfortable ride, normally SUV’s will suit families of 4 or better.

If you’re travelling with children, check the child seat policy of the country you’re travelling to, as it may be different to what you’re used to. If you need child seats, it’s best to reserve them at the same time you book your hire car, as they won’t come as standard. The same goes for GPS/satnav systems. You’ll pay for these when you arrive to pick up your car, and rental companies can’t usually guarantee them. These extras are charged at a daily rate. And, if you’re travelling anywhere hot, make sure the car has air conditioning, or your road trip might quickly become too hot to handle.

Your rental car company will no doubt ask if you want to purchase insurance on the vehicle. While the normal response would be no, this is highly recommended since you never know what can happen on the road, you do not want to be out of pocket because of an incident, it is always better to be safe than sorry.