I recently booked a trip to Italy for a couple of weeks this summer and I was shocked at how pricey car rentals are.
This got me thinking.
I almost feel like when my back is against the wall I perform my best. This is exactly the feeling I had when I realized oh s*** I better figure out how to not spend that much on a rental car.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not particularly adept at redeeming miles and points for rental cars. So I set out on a mission to figure out some great ways to save coin. Here are my findings.
LEARN HOW TO DRIVE STICK!
Holy crap I can’t tell you how much of a dufus I feel like for not being able to drive a stick shift vehicle.
I’ve been questioning my manliness ever since I saw that a manual rental is often 50% cheaper than an automatic.
How could I not see this coming? Europeans drive manual transmission cars, thus there are a lot more of them readily available. THUS, the price is cheaper.
I looked up countless local driving schools to see if I could score some stick shift lessons (that sounds dirty).
But no, seriously. Renting a manual transmission car in Europe is expontentially cheaper than automatic.
When I was researching for this post I did what any normal person would do to find solid, quality answers — REDDIT!
One kind commenter posted about Autoeurope.eu as having some cheap Euro car rental prices.
Ok, when you make a bold statement like that, I HAVE to check it out.
My oh, my. I’m glad I did! This person was absolutely right. Each quote I pulled from other rental car providers was often in the high-$500s and beyond, but Autoeurope returned results in the $300s.
And yes, I know about the conversion from Euro to USD.
Credit Card Rewards
Many people don’t like the Capital One Venture credit card because of the fixed-value awards.
I happen to love the flexibility of having $500 (or whatever the current bonus is) in my pocket for a trip.
If you aren’t familiar with this card, it’s really good to have, in my opinion. As of the writing of this post, the current offer is 50,000 Venture rewards after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
The 50,000 Venture rewards translate to a nifty $500 for travel purchases applied as a statement credit.
All you do is charge through the rental car using your Venture card and once it posts, you apply the 50,000 miles to wipe $500 away.
Pretty good if you ask me!
Avoidance and Insurance
I can’t tell you the number of times I was told to avoid renting a car in Europe for reasons like insurance, crazy drivers, lack of parking, etc.
I don’t advocate for NOT renting in Europe, but I definitely want you to keep this information in mind. Especially if it’ll save you a boatload of cash later on.
I was told by car rental website AutoSlash that Italy is actually the only country where limited insurance is factored into the cost of the rental.
If you aren’t going to Italy, AutoSlash’s blog has some helpful info:
- A Quick Primer on Car Rental Insurance
- The AutoSlash Guide to Driving in The United Kingdom
- Renting a Vehicle in Europe? Those Open Borders Aren’t So Open
I’m always learning so as I come across more information I’ll update this post accordingly. What are your best tips for renting cars in Europe?
Avoid Europcar as they play games with currency conversion fees even if you are really careful to pay in Euros.
I always check autoeurope.eu, autoeurope.co.uk, autoeurope.com and kemwel.com. I believe they all related, but offer different rates and packages.
Renting a car in Europe is on average more expensive than in the U.S., but often you can rent what in the U.S. car considered luxury cars for little more than the cost of an economy car. Come to think of it, the last cars I’ve rented in Europe have been: a BMW 1 Series hatchback, BMW 3 Series sedan, Mercedes C-Class sedan, and Audi A4 wagon. All were fantastic to drive especially given European roads’ generally better scenery and better maintenance than U.S. roads. Just make sure you put in the right fuel – diesel or gasoline. The Audi… Read more »
I rent in Germany, for travel in that country and Switzerland. I always use Sixt, because they have all the costs up front – I tend to rent in the winter, when it’s mandatory to have snow tires in Germany, for example. Sixt shows them as part of the price; others charge up to 13 euro/day for them, after you have reserved. Sixt also gets me an automatic 500 miles with American Air Lines, which I like. If you rent a couple times, you also often get a code/email which allows you “gold” access or whatever they call it –… Read more »
very useful travel information. thank you.
Really awesome tips for renting a car. We would like to rent a luxury car next month but we all face some difficulties like lack of proper information. Thanks a lot for sharing these valuable tips. We could try a quick look at a few car rental companies’ websites in Dallas now.
In Thailand please try http://www.winpickup.com
Auto Europe is great until you read the small print in hidden fees. One a one week rental there was 60 Euros in hidden fees. I avoid them for this reason.
Use a comparison site like carrental.com or travelsupermarket
And to save on added extras, don’t buy your insurance from the car rental companies. There are insurers out there who will do you rental insurance much cheaper. Just remember to take all the paperwork when you turn up to hire th car as you will need proof you have the insurance.
How do you learn to drive stick in US?