Travelling to Europe can be an exciting prospect especially when you have planned an excursion months in advance. From the wonderful mountain ranges to vast coastlines, there is a lot to explore. The question is, what is the best way to get around? While trains are a great option, it is limiting and, while camper van rental may be the idea of heaven for some, you won’t necessarily need such a large vehicle, depending on where you are going. Plus, you and those you are travelling with might not be up for camping. For many, hiring a car gives the freedom that is needed to visit places off the beaten track. Here are a few tips to help you on your way to hiring a car safely in Europe.

Try to book ahead

To get a good deal, always book ahead. This can save you as much as 50% compared to the local prices. Often if you book a hotel room and a car together, you will make significant savings. This is often due to being able to access accommodation outside of the more popular destinations.

Shop around, don’t just go for the first car rental company you see. Basic rates for car hire vary significantly from one company to another. Renting in peak holiday seasons can greatly increase the costs. Prices also vary from country to country. Italy is known to be way more expensive than Germany for example.

Breaking down the costs

Basic rates of car hire normally include unlimited millage, value-added-tax and third part insurance. There are optional extras available such as a child car seat, automatic transmission and a second driver which increase the costs. Make sure you have road assistance as part of the hire agreement, just in case you get stuck somewhere! Other extras that are available are Wi-Fi, sat-navs, winterized tires and ski racks.

How to make car hire more affordable

Some suggest that picking up your chosen car for hire is cheaper at the business location in a city/town rather than the airport as there are extra fees to be paid at the airport. If you drop off the car at a different location in another European country, be careful. You could be dealing with an extra cost ranging anywhere from hundreds to over a thousand euros.

Think about the fuel efficiency of the car you are hiring and be knowledgeable about costs concerning wintertime driving and accessing countries in eastern Europe. Sometimes you might find fees called ‘contract’ or ‘credit card’ fees listed. Confirm everything with the car hire company to ensure you haven’t missed out on anything hidden.

Other considerations

If you decide to travel on the motorways, you need to consider the toll charges. Parking can also be expensive, especially in main cities such as London and Paris. Normally, however, in smaller towns, it is somewhat cheaper. If a car is not under consideration, you can think about taking the flight or private jet (from a company like Jettly) which could save you a lot of time in comparison to car travel. With private jets, you can travel in luxury and do not have to drive around yourself throughout Europe.

Hiring a car is definitely worth planning for. Finding a good company such as car rental ensuring that you will be in good hands when placing an order. Nothing beats the thrill and excitement of being on the open road particularly if you have that sense of adventure in learning more about life in unfamiliar places.