Europe car rental advice and tips
Put off by international timetables and endless airport
lines? Seeing Europe from the front seat of a car is an alternative that doesn’t need to cost the earth… Here are
few suggestions on how to make your Europe car rental trouble free.
Europe car rental tips
1. Do you homework in advance
Cheaper airfares often mean cheaper car rental rates, so make
sure to do your homework well in advance of your trip—the websites listed below will help you with price
comparisons. As an example, 30 days in a compact car rented from Frankfurt airport, Germany costs $310 less than
when rented from Luxembourg’s main airport (prices quoted here are from Auto Europe).
2. Choose your pick-up location
Be flexible when choosing the pick-up location. Rental
agencies’ airport and train station offices generally have higher rates than their city offices where, often, no
taxes or other service fees are levied on the base price. Sometimes the car can be returned to the airport if you
need without extra charge—be sure to check the agency’s return procedure before leaving the airport to fetch the
car. Renting a compact car from a Frankfurt city office instead of the airport saves you $180 (at Auto Europe);
even after your taxi fare, you’ll still have enough money for gasoline, dinner, and a hotel room.
|Europe offers excellent roadway system,
making it convenient to travel throughout
most of Europe with a rent a car. (Image by
3. Save on drop-off fee
If the car is to be returned in another country, ask the
agency if a vehicle from that country is available on their lot. The one-way drop-off fee (around $150 for a
pick-up in Frankfurt and a drop-off in Paris) is generally waived because
you are doing them a favor. Ask about the return procedure at the final destination.
4. Decline CDW insurance by paying with credit
Pay with a major credit card and decline the Collision Damage
Waiver (CDW) insurance. The CDW insurance from the agency’s Frankfurt city office for a compact costs almost $400,
but credit cards typically provide free insurance coverage for 30 consecutive days (make sure to review your card’s
benefits disclosures). To safely insure for more than 30 days, make several reservations of 30 days maximum each
time, return the car after each reservation, and use a second card for the next rental period—or go without a car
for a day, and use the first card again.
|One of the best ways to pay for your car rental in
Europe is with major credit cards
5. Consider Europe Car Rental short-term
If you’re traveling for more than a couple of weeks, why not
consider a short-term lease? Auto Europe has partnered with the French Peugeot automobile company, offering
non-European residents factory-new vehicles for up to six months. The “Open Europe” program requires advance
reservation of at least one month. Your car is shipped to the European arrival city of your choice, fully insured
No fee is charged for delivery within France, but you’ll pay
a distance-based rate when the car is shipped to other countries. In France, a compact leased for 45 days costs
$230 less than renting the same vehicle in Paris. Delivery of a leased compact to Frankfurt will cost $310 more
than if you rented it in this city—the lease becomes more cost-effective after about 70 days. Remember that
gasoline and your time are not cheap, so the convenience of an uninterrupted, fully insured, drive-anywhere car may
still be worth the extra lease money.
by Neil P Harkins