Bon Voyage! Choosing The Best Rental Car

Fiat 500
Fiat 500: a fun car to drive around town but not so well suited to motorways

Summer time means holidays and that might mean renting a car abroad to get off the beaten track and see places that you would never visit if you were to rely on public transport alone.

Renting a car abroad can be amazing fun. It can also be amazingly stressful with a myriad of rules and regulations for driving in a foreign country to get your head around before setting off. Driving in a left hand drive car on the “wrong” side of the road on unfamiliar roads can also be like learning to drive all over again.

While we may dream of exploring Europe in a Mercedes C 63 AMG Coupe, the reality is that most of us will be picking the cheapest car on the list.

Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG Coupé
Choosing a rental car: how about this white Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG Coupé?

Take my sister for example. She’s planning a driving holiday around Northern Italy and is finding herself charmed by the cheap and cheerful Fiat 500. I’m telling her that the Fiat 500 will be perfect for “escaping” from the central Milan rental car pick-up point, but out on the motorway I’m not so sure if this charismatic Italian will be the best companion.

You see a Fiat 500 is great for driving around city streets and parking where space is at a premium. But comfortable motorway cruiser? I don’t think so. The last time I drove a Fiat 500 on a motorway I needed a good lie-down afterwards.

My point is that renting a car abroad is a little bit like buying a car at home but on a smaller scale. Though the car will only be in your company for a few days you still need to think about how you will use the car and what it needs to do for you to make your holiday as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible.

So briefly, here’s my short list of things to consider when choosing a suitable car to rent for your next holiday abroad:

  • How many people do I need to carry and will it be big enough to carry their luggage?
  • Will I be using this car for the cross-country/continent road trip of the decade or just for short journeys to the beach and local tourist attractions?
  • Is this car suitable for the type of use? e.g. Is it comfortable? Economical? Spacious?
  • Will I be confident driving it? e.g. Is it compact enough? Is it a manual or automatic?

Enjoy and don’t forget to pack the driver’s licence!

Caroline Kidd

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