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Europe Car Rental

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 wisely

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.

Travel with Europe car rental
Europe offers excellent roadway system, making it convenient to travel throughout
most of Europe with a rent a car.  (Image by Freeimages.com)

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 card

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.

Pay for your car rental in Europe with major credit cards
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 lease

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 and tax-free. 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
International Living

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