Car hire in Europe can be a unique and unforgettable way for Americans to become acquainted with the grandeur and history of Europe. If you are not familiar with the term “car hire,” it simply means car rental or renting a car. Seeing ancient architecture, picturesque villas, vibrant vineyards, and majestic mountains from the cockpit of a convertible is an exhilarating experience. Here are some tips and advice for maximizing the fun of your car hire in Europe.
When planning your European vacation, consider a car hire in your destination country rather than transportation by train or bus. Make your reservations far in advance, print all travel and rental confirmations, and take them with you. Much of the “paperwork” can now be done online.
Bring your normal driver’s license with you, and all your insurance information. Just like the car rental companies in your own country, the ones in Europe need proof that you are an eligible and responsible driver. Find out what other documentation, if any, you will need for a car hire in your European destination country.
Determine in advance what make and model of car you will be getting, and whether you can drive it! If you can’t drive a stick shift or manual transmission car, this may limit your vehicle choices. Ask about the price, availability, and types of fuel. You may end up with a Dodge that runs on diesel rather than a Renault that runs on regular.
Always take the supplemental insurance offered by the car hire company. A car accident is stressful enough at home, with the police, the insurance company, and the other driver. Imagine what a nightmare an accident would be when you are 3,000 miles from home and don’t even speak the language.
Finally, be prepared for surprises. If you’re an American who has never traveled abroad, trying to drive in a country that drives on the opposite side of the road will probably present some difficulty. Likewise, traffic circles may throw you for a loop if they are new to you. And don’t attempt the German Autobahn on your first day. Take some time to learn the local German driving customs, especially those concerning merging and passing other cars. And don’t forget to load up on the supplemental insurance.
A car hire in Europe will be a challenging but fun vacation you will never forget. Do your research, learn the customs, and plan your route. It will be a drive in the country that will last a lifetime.
Use the free tips below to start planning your high-octane vacation abroad today.