When we decided on going to St. Kitts for my birthday trip, I did a lot of research on renting a car in St. Kitts. There are many different transportation options but we decided we would rent a car since that option worked best for us. We like to have the option to explore anywhere/anytime and plus we were traveling with a toddler. So no, we didn’t have the option (like many others) of driving around on ATVs this trip.? Should you decide to rent a car in St. Kitts, I’ve put together 5 useful tips that will save you time and money.
After doing research online, I discovered the main car rentals companies that were listed were Avis, Hertz and Bullseye car rental. I got frustrated after discovering the operating hours for Avis and Hertz were not within the times we were gonna be arriving into SKB. On top of that, I couldn’t book with Bullseye online and their rates were higher than Avis and Hertz.
Undecided with how we were going to rent a car in St. Kitts, I decided to take a chance and wait until we arrived at SKB to verify what car rental options we had. Mind you, this can be very risky and you will end up paying more if you don’t book in advance!
It’s possible we could have gotten there and not find a car to rent but I was prepared to catch an Uber, a shuttle or Taxi and then just winging it from there. Either way, I preferred this way instead of booking with Avis, Hertz or one of the local companies.
This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I’ve recommended – at no extra cost to you, of course. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure here.
After arriving into SKB, I saw there was a guy outside the exit doors of the airport holding up an Avis sign with a name on it. I walked over to him and asked if it was possible to rent a car from Avis. He said they are in the process of closing for the day and the customer he was waiting on was the last customer of the day.
I mentioned to him that I would have booked online, however, the office hours conflicted with the flight’s arrival time. He acknowledged that is sometimes an issue but they make accommodations when needed. So had I called Avis to clarify their operating hours, I would have known this. Which brings me to the 1st tip . . .
Do your research when renting a car in St. Kitts
Be sure to verify office hours, availability and rates (online and/or via phone).
I then proceeded to ask one of the guys that worked at the airport, if he knew where we could rent a car. All the other car rental companies are off-site (not at the airport) so I wasn’t sure if there were other options.
He said his friend works for Thirty Car Rental and would probably be able to help us. We walked down to the entrance of the Ticket counter area of SKB and meet with Abu. He is the Thrifty representative and is actually located inside the Terminal at Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport in St. Kitts.
I was so surprised that Thrifty car rental was the one car rental company that is actually on-site and that information was not made available to me online.
Abu was really nice and said that he had available cars. . . . Thank Goodness! To tell you the truth, I really didn’t want to catch an Uber! LOL. After sitting down with Abu, we told us the best way to get the lowest rate is to book online.
When renting a car in St. Kitts, book online to get the best deal
I recommend booking online to ensure you get the best rate possible and verify everything in writing.
So since we didn’t book online, we ended paying a higher rate. Abu also informed us that you can’t book online with Thrifty car rental at the SKB if you are within 48 hours of pickup, you only have the option of booking directly at the airport. I don’t really know what that is about but it is what it is!
Recommended: Car Rental Tips & Tricks that will Save You $$$$
To ensure you get the best possible rate, book your rental car as far in advance as possible
When booking a car rental in St. Kitts, last-minute bookings prices are usually inflated.
At this point, we had no choice and proceed with finalizing the car rental. Now, of course, I tried to talk him down to get a better price but he said he really doesn’t have the option to adjust the rate. Toward the end of the transaction, we asked what we preferred to do about insurance for the rental car.
To opt-in for rental car insurance or not . . . That is the question! Now for me, depending on the location will determine if I opt-in for car insurance for car rentals when traveling. I usually use my own car insurance coverage and/or credit card insurance coverage when I travel domestically however renting and driving a car outside the U.S. can get really bad really quick.
We already decided we would purchase the car insurance the car company offers while in St Kitts. Once he explained to us how the rental car insurance works in St Kitts, I was not happy about either option.
If you don’t get the insurance, you run the risk of being responsible for ALL the damages if something happens to the vehicle. On the other hand, if you purchase the insurance (approx. $15/day) you still will be held responsible but only for a $500 deductible. That’s crazy, right?!?!?
Usually, if you pay for insurance with the car rental company directly, it covers you if anything happens. Well, that is not the case in St. Kitts. Our BEST option was to buy the insurance and hope and pray nothing happens to the car cause we would have been kissing our $500 deposit good-bye!
Research car rental insurance options.
Check with your own car insurance company, credit cards, and Allianz to clarify if coverage is offered and if so, what kind of coverage.
We finished up with Abu and we were on our way to check in to the hotel. The experience with Thrifty rental car was great and I HIGHLY recommend booking with them but as I always say . . . Always look around to be sure you’re getting the best deal!
St. Kittians drive on the opposite of the road so we both decided it would be best if he drove while we were there. He’s from the Bahamas so it comes naturally to him (for the most part anyway . . . LOL).
Recommended: Birthday Trip | Destination: St Kitts
The next day we decided to explore and make the drive around the entire island. We used the GPS on my phone since my service is with TMobile. It is said TMobile data service is supposed to be 3G speed but it wasn’t. It was extremely slow. I was able to manage while being the navigator. It’s fairly easy to navigate. There are no traffic lights but there are a lot of roundabouts.
Along our drive we came to an unpaved road, we both looked at each other and agreed to follow the road. . . Just looking to be a little adventurous. Well, boy were we in for a surprise! After driving on this small unpaved road for about 5 minutes, we came to a part of the road where the road was uneven and it had overgrown branches everywhere. Only one lane so only one car could drive at a time – nowhere to pull to the side, either. It was about a 20-minute ride before we got to the main road but toward the end, it got REALLY bad. The branches were on both sides of the car so I noticed they were scraping my side of the car. I was concerned cause I didn’t want the car to get damaged and then Thrifty take our $500.
Once we were back on the main road, we ran into a cute little area with shops and lots of people hanging out. I got out of the car and saw how bad the passenger side looked . . . Sooooo many scrapes and scratches. I started freaking out and of course, Lorenzo seemed as if he wasn’t concerned. The funny thing is that his side of the car was fine! So my last and final tip is . . .
Are you on Pinterest? . . . ? Pin this for later!
Stay on the main roads!!!
- Don’t venture off onto any unpaved roads and find yourself in a situation like we did. ??♀️
Long story short . . . We ended up finding a local auto body repair guy who buffed out the scratches for $40 USD. I was so happy a couple of locals referred us to him because Thrifty car rental would have definitely taken our $500 deposit for sure!!!
Overall, it was a good driving experience. There wasn’t much traffic and it was easy to get around and find everything! I highly recommend taking a couple of hours and driving the entire island. It took us about 2 hours to do so because we stopped several times along the way to take it all in.