Going to a new country can be quite stressful, especially if you haven’t the slightest idea of how to get around it. For some people, especially those who are more savvy with directions, you could take your chances on a country’s public transportation system. For others – those who are topographically challenged – this problem can be solved by spending a fortune on hiring what seems like an entire fleet of taxis in a single trip. Another option would be to hire your very own car while you’re there.
In some countries, hiring a car is dirt cheap, while in some it can cost a fortune. However, before you get a car overseas, you should have the proper documentation. Most car rental services only need potential clients to present a driver’s license and sign a couple of documents. Some renters require another valid form of identification, but this is still not that much of a hassle. What separates a car rental or hiring service in one country from that of another will usually boil down to price.
If you can, try to book a car much earlier in advance. This may seem like a trivial thing, but don’t put in on the backburner. The logic that a car will always be available once you get there doesn’t always apply. Even if it did, renting behind the counter of the car rental shop will almost always be more expensive compared to when you book just a couple of weeks, or even days, in advance. If you’re having a spontaneous trip, try your best still to book a car over 24 hours before you go and pick it up from the rental place.
It will also be for the best to iron out the details of hiring a car before you leave your country. This includes booking the vehicle itself and getting the services of a driver, if you want one. Doing things earlier isn’t only cheaper because you get to choose the better deals, but also because you avoid being charged hidden fees and clauses such as non-refundable deposits. You also won’t be affected by the shifting exchange rates you’ll encounter going from country to country.
You should also ask about specials and sales, late return penalties, as well as gas charges. Some car rental companies may charge less money if you get one of their cars on a weekday, for example, instead of on a weekend. Know if the people you’re renting from count a day as a full 24 hours from when you took the car out or if they count it every time the clock strikes 12:00 AM. This information can help you avoid late fees and other extra charges. Some renters also expect the riders to shoulder the additional gas fees, while some will shoulder it themselves or have it included in the bill from the get go.
If the country you’re going to isn’t an English-speaking one, or if it doesn’t have a language similar to yours, then a language barrier may pop up. This could cause misunderstandings that will end up costing all parties involved. This could put a bad mark on an otherwise good trip. Learning a bit of the local lingo won’t hurt, and this knowledge might even end up helping you out. Cultural differences could also be a cause for concern if you don’t read up on them before you travel. You’ll avoid unnecessary conflict if you do so.
What Exactly are You Getting?
Before we go ahead and talk about which countries are the most expensive and cheapest to hire a car in, it is important to talk about what exactly you’re paying for before you’re handed the keys to one of the vehicles. To begin with, you’ll be paying for the car itself. Some vehicles will come loaded with a full tank of fuel, while some you’ll have to fill up as you go along. Prices mentioned here are for around 40 liters of fuel, which is the standard capacity for most family-sized cars. Getting someone else to drive your car for you will also cost extra. Some car rental companies may even charge extra if you want a younger driver.
Most car rental companies will also charge you for various, but not all renters will charge each of these. Some of them may leave specific ones out. A super collision damage waiver, or simply a super damage waiver, is the most basic form of a crash protection policy there is for a hired car. You may get offered this under the guise of “insurance,” but you’ll be paying for more or less the same thing. This gets pricey in some places, but the money will usually find its way back into your hands, provided that the vehicle you rented didn’t suffer any form of damage while it was in your care. You could also pay an excess for added coverage, just in case.
There is also a policy to protect a renter from theft or attempts of it. Getting a super theft waiver serves to limit your financial loss in the unfortunate event that the car you hired was stolen, or damaged when someone was trying to do so. This could also cost you a premium, but it’s better than taking your chances and ending up not having protection in these scenarios. Some may be surprised by this, but it actually costs extra to hire car with satellite navigation. You’ll end up paying more if you’re not good with directions. The same goes for bringing a child along. The majority of rental companies will charge a fee for a car that comes with a child’s car seat.
Studies have shown that on average, it’ll cost over $300 to rent a family-sized car for an entire weekend. If this amount is already eye-watering for you, remember that this is only the average. The price for this service can still go up, and trust us, it will, as we’ll show you. The $300 price tag we’ve shown you just covers the car and not much else. As it’ll mostly be families renting cars for their trips, we’ll be taking into account things such as hiring a driver, fuel costs, getting a car with satellite navigation, and availing of a child’s car seat into the total cost. Getting a smaller car will definitely be cheaper, but the price will still be around the same range.
The Cheapest Countries to Hire a Car
The cheapest place to hire a car is in Turkey. More frequent travelers might be surprised with this inclusion, as it is quite expensive to rent in Europe. You might think that renting a car in Turkey will be pricey because gas prices in European countries are twice as expensive compared to other geographical areas, such as North America. However, this is not the case in Dalaman, as a rental car and a tank of gas will only run you just a little over $300. Even with the other add-ons included, like getting a GPS-enabled car with a driver, the price is still the cheapest at around $600.
The state of Florida in the U.S. comes a close second on the list of cheapest places to hire a car. It is only about $30 more expensive to hire a car in the Sunshine State compared to hiring one in Turkey. This is already the price you pay for the car together with a bunch of add-ons. The car itself is cheaper here and there are no theft waivers or damage starting excesses to pay upfront. However, the price of hiring a car is significantly boosted in Florida because of the high price of getting your very own driver. In fact, out of the five cheapest places to rent a car, Florida has the highest rates for hiring a driver. Gas is pretty cheap in Florida, as well.
Coming it at number three on this list is Australia, specifically Sydney. Again, the price of just the car is not that far off compared to the other countries in the top part of this list. You don’t even have to pay for a super theft waiver here as well. However, the price of hiring a car in Australia gets bumped up by add-ons. If ever you’re looking for a reason to drive carefully when you’re overseas, then getting a rental car in Sydney might just be what you’re looking for. The damage starting excess that you have to pay if ever you get into an accident can cost a whopping $2800.
Up next we have New Zealand. The price of hiring a car in parts of New Zealand is actually quite expensive. For instance, gas prices are high in Queenstown and its neighboring cities. Just like in its neighboring country of Australia, damage excess waivers are also pretty pricey here, so it would be better to drive with the utmost care. However, getting add-ons here is cheaper. This brings the overall price of hiring a car down significantly.
Lastly, we have the Netherlands, particularly Amsterdam. The price of just the car is lower compared to that in New Zealand, but expensive waivers and add-ons mean that the Dutch can only take the fifth spot on our list of the cheapest car hiring services. Among the top five, gas prices are also the highest in the Netherlands. It will cost about $300 to for the car, which is less than half of the total price when all of the previously mentioned extras have been included.
The Most Expensive Countries to Hire a Car
Now let’s talk about where it is the most expensive to hire a car. The country of Ireland is the first to feature on this list, largely due to the high prices of hiring a driver here. This is especially true in the more populated parts of the country such as Dublin. Add that to the already expensive price of getting a family-sized car with add-ons, then you’ll really find yourself spending a lot of your hard-earned money.
Croatia is another expensive country to hire a car in. This is most true in the tourist city of Dubrovnik, which faces the Adriatic Sea. Over here, no single thing necessarily jumps out as being exorbitantly expensive. There is not one fee that costs a lot more compared to the rest. However, the prices of all things considered such as the car, waivers, and add-ons are already high to begin with. This results to a much higher total price compared to other countries.
Coming in at number three is Switzerland, particularly in the city of Geneva. In this country, it costs just a little bit over $1000 to hire a car. Expensive driver prices as well as high damage excesses are what contribute to this rather unbelievable price tag. Switzerland is also the most expensive place to hire a car with satnav capabilities. This feature alone costs around $130 over here.
At the the number four spot on the list of the most expensive countries to hire a car is Portugal. Not only does this country have the most expensive car rental rates, but it also has some of the highest prices for its excesses and waivers. For instance, it costs over $1100 in total to get a car in Faro. Once you’ve reached this price range, this is where you really have to put in the effort in trying to find the best deal possible in order to save money.
Finally, the most expensive place to hire a car is in Italy. You’ll have to spend an average of over $1200 to hire a car here. Aside from the already high prices of the cars themselves and their respective options, other fees such as driver’s wages and tolls are also up there. Take for example how much the toll is from Bolzano to Milan. This three-hour journey already costs $30 in toll fees alone.
This list has hopefully helped you consider where to go on your next holiday. You should always remember that this only serves as a guide. The prices you’ll encounter in these countries may be higher or lower depending on factors such as how early you book and how many options you avail of.
- The cheapest and most expensive countries to hire a car – ICarHireInsurance
- International Car Rental Tips – Smarter Travel