Whether you’re renting a car for the first time or not, it can be an exciting and challenging experience. There are many things to consider when renting a car, such as knowing when the best time is to book a rental car, what size vehicle you’ll need or the potential pitfalls and hidden costs you may encounter while traveling.

Renting a car has increased in recent years. In 2021, the total number of rented cars around the globe was 29.2 million. However, this number will only increase in the future. Revenue in the industry is projected to reach $104 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach $119.30 billion by 2027 in the US.

Before you begin the process of renting a car, the Better Business Bureau offers these tips:

• Don’t settle on the first car rental service you find. Shop around and compare prices.

• Determine what vehicle class you’ll need by how much space you need.

• Book early. Sometimes, you get better deals when you reserve a car several weeks in advance.

• Look for package deals and discounts. You may find discounted prices for senior citizens, members of an auto club and certain credit card holders, as well as certain dates, weekends or longer rental periods.

• Check age requirements. Most rental car service companies require you to be 25 years old.

• Consider location. Renting from an airport rental facility may be more expensive than an off-airport location. Also, many rentals have an extra drop-off fee if you’re returning the vehicle to a different location than where you picked it up.

• Get the company’s policy on cashless toll roads.

• Consider car insurance. You should know if your car insurance policy covers rentals and their limitations. If it doesn’t cover rental cars, the rental company has options you can purchase. If you’re traveling for business, you may be covered by an employer’s policy.

• Consider mileage. Is the rate quoted for unlimited mileage or a certain number of miles a day?

• Save money by bringing your own child or booster seat, as well as GPS system.

• Know the hidden fees, such as additional driver fees, additional mileage fees, administrative fees, credit card surcharges, late pick-up fees, late return fees and refueling fees.

• Inspect the rental car. Note any damage you see and make the company representative aware of it immediately.

• Be sure the check-in attendant inspects the car’s body in your presence when you return it and you agree about any damage. Whenever possible, avoid dropping off your vehicle after hours as it’s hard to dispute damage charges if you aren’t there when the vehicle’s inspected.

• Check the final price reflects what you understood the fees to be based on the advertising or your reservation before signing the contract.

• Get a final receipt of the charges and check your statement later to make sure there are no unexpected charges.

For more information about renting a car, visit bbb.org or call 937-222-5825 or 800-776-5301. BBB can provide lists of BBB Accredited Businesses in the industry and Business Profiles on ones you may be considering.

The writer is the president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Dayton and the Miami Valley.