International Car Rentals
Tips for Selecting Your Car Rental
Before you start looking for car rental deals for your vacation, plan well in advance and do your homework.
Research the countries you will be visiting to gain an understanding of any driving restrictions, international driving permits, and liability insurance or even on which side of the road they drive.
Review these practical tips to help you make well-informed travel decisions.
Plan Well in Advance
Think carefully whether or not you will really need a rental car.
Maybe a shuttle or a guided tour package would be more practical and the cheapest methods of getting around to do your sightseeing and cheaper than most car rental deals.
Select the cities you plan to visit and research restrictions.
Always book in advance not only to secure good car rental deals but also because the costs are much higher at the counter and there is no way of knowing that the rental car companies in foreign countries will have the car that suits your needs.
The Parking Lot at the Monte Carlo Casino is a Great Place for People Watching Car Watching
Booking in advance before leaving for your vacation also gives you time to monitor the exchange rates so you can book when the rates Yare in your favour.
Car Rental Ideas to Think About
- Will a car rental complicate your vacation?
- Are there pedestrian only districts where vehicles are not permitted?
- Did you book your hotel in a pedestrian only district?
- Does the city or town have restrictions allowing locals to drive their vehicles while tourists are not permitted?
- If you are staying within a city, public transportation may be an excellent choice of travel, but if your vacation plans involves exploring the countryside you will need a car rental for that part of your trip.
- Look for promotions and coupon codes to use when booking online.
- Check with your credit card and frequent flier programs for discounts and car rental deals.
- Research the gas prices of the countries you will be visiting and include that in your travel budget.
Obtain a guidebook of local rules of the road for the countries you will be visiting from your rental car insurance company.
International Driving Permits (IDP)
Are International Driving Permits and liability insurance required?
If you do require an International Driving Permit, obtain your IDP only from reputable agencies such as the National Automobile Club or American Automobile Association (AAA) or the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) in Canada, and beware of permits that are being sold online as they are likely to be fakes.
To Tour the Countryside you will need a Car Rental. This Villa is in a Hamlet in Rocca d’Orcia Southern Tuscany near the Vineyards of Brunello di Montalcino
Make sure to bring your valid and up to date driving licence along with your IDP and credit card.
Consider a Rail and Drive Pass
You may want to consider taking a train or flying from one city to another as the costs may be cheaper than rental car deals.
Having a rail pass gives you a hop-on hop-off type of freedom without having to worry about traffic or finding a parking spot or the paying the high price of parking.
Another option would be to purchase a combination of rail and drive pass, in countries where it is available, which provides both options.
In my travels, I have combined all three methods, finding cheap flights, fun rides in the fast trains and car rental deals for occasions where I want the flexibility of exploring the countryside or coastline.
Booking Car Rental Deals
Realistically, plan to spend around $750 per week with rental car insurance, manual standard gear-shift transmission, and unlimited mileage, highway tolls, cost of gasoline and parking in major cities.
Keep in mind that daily car rental rates are usually quite high, and the longer you rent a vehicle, the lower the cost per day will be.
Shop early to get an idea of what car rental deals are available and which car rental companies are offering the best options.
A Spectacular View of Car Rentals and European Sports Cars at Chateau Eze Parking Lot in the Mountains above Monaco
Check for booking fees, rental car insurance, additional drivers fees, age restrictions, or early arrival or late arrival penalties if you have an emergency or are stuck in traffic. See if there is a weekly unlimited mileage rate.
Dont forget to factor in the cost of airport surcharges, filling up the gas tank and drop-off charges, as well as local taxes if any.
Hidden Costs of Car Rental Deals
Check with your personal rental car insurance or your credit card company to see what coverage you have for your car rental as you may not need to purchase insurance through the car rental companies.
Ask about theft insurance, and drop off fees within the country you pick up your vehicle or the country where you drop off your vehicle if different from the pick-up point as sometimes there can be extra charges for picking up in one country and dropping off in another.
Washing the Windshield of my Rental Car at an Autogrill Restaurant and Gas Station on the Italian Autostrade
When booking car rental deals, ensure that you are seeing the total cost including all the taxes and fees.
Be aware that any prices that are quoted are only valid at that moment in time and may change by the time you are ready to book your car rental deals.
Confirm the quote before finalizing your payment.
Car Rental Pickup
If you are planning to go directly to your hotel after arriving at an airport or train station in a new city or country, it may be more relaxing to take a shuttle, taxi or train into the city rather than facing the heavy traffic when you are either jet-lagged or tired.
Get a list of pick-up and drop-off points and car rental offices in the countries you will be visiting to be able to select your most convenient and cheapest options, whether they are at the airport, downtown or near the hotels where you will be staying.
Car Rentals shared by my Group of Seven Friends from Canada visiting Tuscany
Generally, rental car companies will charge less for cars picked up at a downtown location than at the airport.
Before You Drive Off
Carefully inspect the interior and exterior of your vehicle and ensure that there is no damage.
Test your turn signals, headlights, windshield wipers, alarm system, internal lights, radio, see if the trunk opens, check which side the gas tank is on, and write down the mileage on the odometer, licence plate number, colour, make and model of the car so that you will be able to find it after you have parked in a busy parking spot.
Returning Your Car Rental
- Fill up the gas tank for the amount you used before returning your car rental.
- If you are dropping your car rental at an airport, avoid expensive gas stations near the airport and fill up your tank a few miles away.
- Be present when an attendant is checking your vehicle for any damages to make sure they match your notes.
- Double check the interior and the trunk of your car rental to make sure you havent left any personal items such as jackets, cell phones, umbrellas and sunglasses.
Fun in the Sun – This Car Rental was a Great Way to Tour Around the Island of Cozumel in the Caribbean
Start planning early to learn about car rental restrictions and hidden costs. No doubt you will get the best prices by booking your car rental deals from home before leaving for your vacation.
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