ePayments1 768x90
View RSS Feed

ArticleMan

To Rent or Not to Rent? (A Car in a Foreign Country, That Is)

Rate this Entry
by , 05-16-2014 at 02:23 AM (1281 Views)
      
   
To Rent or Not to Rent? (A Car in a Foreign Country, That Is)

Who doesn't appreciate traveling in the comfort of their own car? It's convenient, fast and reliable.
I live in the U.S. and travel both short and long distances, but as much as I love my car, I can't take it oversees. Europe is the place I visit the most where a great public transportation makes the car less desirable. I did rent on a few occasions and here is what I learned:

Manual transmission


Be aware! Most rental companies in Europe offer cars with manual transmission. You have to make it clear what you want when making arrangements, or you will be for a big surprise. I had a hard time finding with auto and when finally found was slapped with additional fees.
Pros: peace of mind
Cons: you will pay extra and spend more on fuel

Traffic


I almost missed my flight when I decided to rent a car in Interlaken, Switzerland and drive it to Zurich airport. The distance is only a little over a hundred miles, but it took me almost three hours to get to my destination due to slow mountain roads and steady accumulation of traffic as I got closer to Zurich.
Pros: convenient, scenic
Cons: slow; fighting traffic, narrow streets, pedestrians

Parking


Parking is a huge problem in big European cities. For someone coming from America and seeing a parking spot in Italy could be a nerve-racking experience. Parking places are very small. How many SUVs did you see in Europe?
Pros: feeling of accomplishment when able to find and squeeze into a tight spot
Cons: very expensive, hard to find, sometimes impossible to fit in

Culture


If you decide to drive on German Autobahn, or for that matter Swiss, or Austrian: be aware of "robocops." Autobahn is not a racetrack. It is highly regulated. I once got such a ticket, which was kindly forwarded to me by a rental company. It was of course in German, but I had to pay it.
Pros: learn from the lesson
Cons: very expensive, time-consuming
Driving in Europe can be stressful. Do a lot of research about "written" and "unwritten" rules of the country you are going to. I never rent if I'm staying in a big city: the public transportation does the job. But if my location is remote, then yes, I will rent. Good luck! Obey the rules and drive like European.

Submit "To Rent or Not to Rent? (A Car in a Foreign Country, That Is)" to Google Submit "To Rent or Not to Rent? (A Car in a Foreign Country, That Is)" to del.icio.us Submit "To Rent or Not to Rent? (A Car in a Foreign Country, That Is)" to Digg Submit "To Rent or Not to Rent? (A Car in a Foreign Country, That Is)" to StumbleUpon Submit "To Rent or Not to Rent? (A Car in a Foreign Country, That Is)" to reddit

Comments