European Car Rental
ABOVE: If you pull up too far in
one of these Amsterdam parking spaces, you'll be glad you opted for the
Collision Damage Waiver.
Most of the leading rent-a-car companies such as Hertz, Avis, and Budget have
European agencies. In the listings below, I've focused on partners of Europe for
Visitors--that specialize in tourist rentals,
short-term leasing, and
IMPORTANT: If you rent a car in a country outside the European Union (such as
Switzerland) and plan to travel in the EU, note this warning from Peter Anich of
the Austrian National Tourist Office:
A new law regarding rental cars outside the European Union has been in
effect since August 5, 1999: if you rent a car in a country that does not
belong to the European Union, such as Switzerland, you are only permitted to
drive it for eight days in any EU country. If you stay longer, you must leave
the car at a branch of the rental agency. They will hold it and return it to
you when you depart for the non-EU country in which it was rented.
If you inform the rental agency of a non-EU country in advance that you
need a car longer than eight days in an EU country, they will try their best
to rent you a car that is registered in an EU country which will permit you to
drive it indefinitely in any EU country.
Rental vs. Leasing
Car Rentals: When to Rent, When to
Use the comparison chart to decide which works best for you: traditional car
rental or short-term leasing (a.k.a. purchase-repurchase).
Rental and Leasing Firms
The leading independent car-rental broker is based in North America and
supplies cars from 4,000 European locations.
Open Europe "Buy Back" Program
Peugeot's rates tend to be lower than those of its competitor (see below), and Auto
Europe--Peugeot's representative in North America--is known for excellent
service and a "lowest rate guarantee." Car models range from econocars to luxury
sedans and the Peugeot Partner, which squeezes a lot of interior space into a
boxy SUV-like body.
period: 17 days.
If you don't find what you want at Peugeot, try Renault, which has a long
history of short-term car leasing outside the EU. Standard rates may be slightly
higher than Peugeot's, and the minimum lease period is longer, but special
discounts are available for academics on sabbatical.
Minimum lease period:
Rail 'n Drive Passes combine rail travel with a car rental, so you can share
your driving duties with a locomotive engineer.
Can you rely on your credit card to provide Collision Damage Waiver coverage
in Europe? If not, how can you avoid being taken for a ride?
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- Forbes and The Washington Post
Our most popular topics:
Need a car in Europe?
guarantees the lowest rental
rates for standard cars, sports cars, SUVs, luxury cars,
chauffered sedans, and RVs. Its Web site also has driving information
for 38 countries.
you live outside the EU, a
Peugeot tourist lease can be cheaper than renting.
Minimum driver age is 18, there' s no upper age limit, and rates include
Short-term car leasing.
Traveling by train?
has schedules, maps, and guides for 50+ European railroads. (Residents
of North and Central America can buy tickets and rail passes
From Europe for Cruisers:
Travel and cruise news:
Europe for Visitors Blog