How To Rent a Car in Europe
Renting a car is slightly different around the globe. The requirements for car rentals in the United States and Canada differ from Car Hire Spain or Car Hire France. Even the phrasing and common names for the service are different!
To rent a car in Europe, you should take the following steps.
Be sure your driver’s license is current. In Western Europe a national license from other Western nations will be accepted almost anywhere, but in Eastern Europe, you should have an international driver’s license. This is something to take care of before you leave on your trip.
Work with a travel agent or through a respected company to reserve a rental car weeks ahead of time. Many car rental agencies in the United States and Canada have European branches, so you might be able to compare prices and availability online using the same websites you normally use. You can probably book your car online as well.
Reserve the car you want bearing in mind that most cars are standard transmissions. Automatic transmissions may be available, but don’t assume you are getting one unless it is specified. Reserve the car at a location you will be able to pick it up and ideally drop it off again. It is possible to pick up a car at one place and drop it at another, but this can result in large fees.
Make a deposit using a credit card, and be sure to bring the same card with your to the country on your travels, or bring one that is comparable. The charge will be large thanks to fees and taxes, so be sure your card is not near its limit.
Before your trip you also should review driving rules and tips for the countries you will be driving in. European countries have a much higher fatality rate than the United States, so defensive driving is critical, especially as you may be unfamiliar with the style of transmission, car, and even the side of the road.
Also remember to pack lightly since European cars are small, and plan on paying more than you are used to for the privilege of renting. Car rentals are taxed in Europe up to 33% and insurance can be up to $20 per day. Gas is expensive as well.