Travel Prep Tips to Make the Most of Your Vacation

While part of any family adventure includes embracing a few speed bumps, a little travel preparation can ensure a smoother ride. Make your travels easier with these Alamo products and  items worth packing for the drive.

Kiss Vacation Packing Blues Goodbye — We’ve Got You Covered

If the idea of packing bulky items like car seats stresses you out, check out these Alamo rental car products and enhancements that can streamline your vacation preparation process.

No cash for tolls? Add on a TollPass device or waiver.

Forget counting your change, stopping at an ATM or even rolling down your car window. Reserve a TollPass device or waiver (available in select areas) to breeze through toll facilities worry-free. TollPass devices and waivers are just $3.95 per day in most areas, plus the price of tolls, which are automatically applied to the debit or credit card on file for the vehicle rental. TollPass waivers in the Chicago area start at $7.99 per day and include all toll charges.

When making your reservation online, choose add-ons like a TollPass device or waiver after making your vehicle selection.

Looking to lighten your travel load? Rent a car seat upon arrival.

Car seats are a necessary safety feature for kids, but traveling with car seats is no walk in the park for parents. Cut this travel anxiety out of your vacation by reserving  car seat rentals, also known as child restraint systems. Alamo offers child booster seat rentals, ideal for kids not big enough for a seat belt, and child safety seats (five-point convertible seats that can be rear-facing or reclining for infants up to 30 pounds or face forward for children 20 to 40 pounds).


Packing your skis? Leave your ski racks at home.

Avoid cramping the inside of your ride and leave storing your skis to us by adding a ski rack to your rental car reservation. When you arrive, your car will be ready to transport you and your skis safely to the slopes to enjoy your vacation.

Running on empty? Opt for fuel service.

Make returning your rental car easier by prepaying for fuel at your pickup location. Skipping the search for a gas station, and the time it takes to refuel, means less stress getting to the airport and a little bonus vacation time. Just return your vehicle on empty and let Alamo take care of the rest.


Forget to download tunes in advance? SiriusXM Radio has it all.

If you’re looking for the perfect soundtrack when you hit the road in your vacation rental car,  don’t worry about using up all your smartphone’s storage by downloading music or wasting your data streaming songs via bluetooth. Instead, add SiriusXM Radio to your reservation and let your device rest (and recharge!). With more than 140 channels that include commercial-free music, comedy, sports and news radio, SiriusXM Radio provides plenty to listen to while you enjoy your vacation and make memories on the road.

While preparing for vacation, reserve a rental car with SiriusXM Radio for just $5.99 per day or $24.99 per week. Available in most vehicles at U.S. locations.


Afraid to lose your way? Rent a GPS or enhanced navigation device.

Rent one of Alamo’s GPS navigation or TravelTab enhanced navigation devices to guide you to each stop on your itinerary. Featuring a secure Wi-Fi hotspot for up to five devices, TravelTab can keep your family connected while saving money thanks to its unlimited and fast 4G data service, global calling and text messaging. Each TravelTab device also includes voice-activated GPS navigation available in more than 60 languages and comes loaded with apps related to local attractions such as the St. Louis Arch or Walt Disney World®Resort .

Reduce travel anxiety associated with driving in unfamiliar territory by adding a GPS navigation device to your rental car reservation. These devices are available on the Trip Enhancements page of your online booking.


Raring to go? Skip the Counter.

Maximize your vacation time by using the self-serve kiosk to complete your rental process. All you’ll need to check in at the kiosk is your driver’s license and credit card. Drivers can also upgrade their vehicles and purchase add-ons like a toll device at the kiosk. After checking in, collect your car and present your rental agreement and driver’s license at the exit booth.

Hit the road faster by seeing if your rental location offers Skip the Counter. If it does, fill out an online check-in form with your driver’s license information and confirmation number, and you’ll be able to skip the counter and go straight to your rental car upon arriving at your destination. Select additional driver preferences, such as adding a car seat or GPS navigation device, while checking in online.

For more tips on the fastest and easiest way to rent a car, check out this guide.

What to Pack for Your Car and Drive

Families can also pack a few key items to reduce vacation anxieties and smooth out any hiccups that might occur on the road.

Toll Passes: If you already own a toll pass or device, check to see if it also works on toll roads and bridges in your vacation destination. If it does, pack it. Tip: Place it and other important items in a bag that fits inside the cabin of your vehicle for easy access.

Over-the-Door Shoe Rack: It’s not for your shoes, it’s for their toys! Drape a clear, over-the-door shoe rack from the driver or passenger seat to organize the family’s toys and gadgets. Check out more car hacks to cut the clutter on your next great vacation.

USB Cords to Charge Devices in the Car: Most rental cars come with USB ports, so remember to pack a USB cord to charge your phones and other devices in your rental car. Not sure where your rental car’s USB port is? Check out this guide to finding key car features.


Keep Your Car Cool: If you’re planning a vacation in a warmer climate, pack collapsible windshield shades with UV protection to help prevent your car’s interior from overheating. Because they can easily collapse and fold, sunshades are painless to pack in checked or carry-on luggage.

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About the Author

Lisa Zimmermann is a Washington, D.C.-based writer and has previously written for Boston magazine, The Dallas Morning News, The Jersey Journal, New England Travel and Atlas Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @lisazimm or Instagram @lzloveslife.