Hiring and Renting a Car Abroad
When we travel abroad, we rent a car if we intend to visit more than one or two cities. Renting a car abroad means adding many more destinations to your route. Renting a car allows you to visit the places you cannot reach by public transportation, stop wherever you want and enjoy the view. Although public transportation in Europe provides access to many places, traveling by car is the best solution to move freely without being tied to bus and train schedules.
Information about renting a car abroad:
For now, it doesn’t matter whether you have a new driver’s license or not to rent a car abroad. I was able to rent a car in the Baltics with an old driver’s license. You can rent a car abroad with an international driver’s license or a newly issued international driver’s license with an international chip. If the country you are going to is not in Europe but somewhere else, you need to check in advance whether the country accepts your driver’s license.
What are the conditions for renting a car abroad?
There are some conditions for renting a car abroad. By meeting these conditions, you can rent more trouble-free. I am stating these so that you do not encounter any mishaps and do your research in advance.
1Internationally valid driver’s license
First of all, you must have a driver’s license. It is possible to drive abroad with a Turkish driver’s license, our driver’s license is valid in many countries. Your driving license age is also an important factor in renting a car. Although it varies according to the companies, 2 years of driving license is required for economic group vehicles, 3 years for middle group vehicles, and 5 years for upper and luxury group vehicles.
2Credit card limit
When renting a car, the information you fill in the driver section should be the information of the person who will drive the car. In this case, it is necessary to use a credit card with the driver’s name on it. In other words, the credit card to be paid must be in the name of the person who has a driver’s license, who will drive the car and must be open to internet use. When you pick up the car, an amount between €500 and €4000, or more depending on the class of the car you rent, is blocked from your credit card. Because of this process called provisioning, you need to increase your credit card limit before you go abroad. The block is removed when the restriction is over.
Age limit: Some companies have restrictions such as under 21 or under 25. If you are under the age restriction, you cannot rent or they may charge extra fees according to company policy. These age limits also vary according to the vehicle class. The age limit for economy group vehicles such as Renault Clio, VW Polo is 21. The limit for middle group vehicles such as Renault Megane, Opel Astra, VW Golf is 25. The age limit for middle-upper vehicle class such as VW Passat is 27. The rental age limit for BMW 3 Series, Mercedes Benz C Series upper group vehicles and Mercedes GLC, Mercedes E class luxury vehicles is 30 on average.
How to rent a car abroad?
After making your reservation, make sure you have a printout of the page with your reservation number with you, this paper will be very useful that you can show in case of any problems. If you used a car rental site, the address where you can pick up the car will also be written on the paper. If you rented a car from the airport, you can go to the company where you rented the car and pick up your car. When you pick up the car, they will ask for your driver’s license for identity confirmation and the credit card you paid with.
Herts, Avis, Europcar, Budget, Enterprise, SixT, Thrifty are the most well-known car rental companies and usually the least problematic. Intermediary sites are usually used to rent a more affordable and economical car. The sites we use are usually rentalcars.com and expedia.com. These sites search among many car companies and list the most suitable vehicles for you with filtering features. Before you make a reservation here, I suggest you take a look at the companies’ own sites.
How much are car rental prices abroad?
To rent a car, you need to do a lot of research. You can look at sites that show online car rental companies and companies that list the prices of the cars collectively, and you can read what reviews the companies have on Google Maps. By compiling this information, you can rent a car from the place you think is right for your trip. Just like hotels and flight tickets, it is more advantageous to act early in terms of price. Prices increase as you get closer to your travel time. Of course, you can rent a car after you enter the country, but the companies may run out of cars, which will directly affect your plan. Even if they do, you will probably pay more than the online price.
What should be considered when renting a car abroad?
There are some points that we need to pay attention to in order to avoid extra charges that may come to our credit card later and that we have never calculated.
Insurance coverage of the car
Be sure to find out the insurance coverage of the vehicle. While some provide full coverage, others may charge extra for full coverage. If you have the budget, get a full protection program. There is an additional charge of €10-15 per day for this.
Vehicle control is important. After completing the paperwork for your vehicle, final checks are made at the vehicle. It is important to have all the scratches on the vehicle marked with the vehicle attendant so that these scratches do not cost you later. Go around the vehicle and make a detailed interior and exterior check and show the attendant where there is a problem and have them mark it. You can even take photos and videos from all around your vehicle while doing this.
When picking up the vehicle, ask and learn the point of return in case you return it to a different point. The company may be closed between the hours you will deliver. In this case, they may ask you to leave the key in a box they show.
Car rental companies can set a mileage limit. For example, you rent a car and the mileage limit is 500km. If you exceed the mileage limit, you have to pay extra for each kilometer you exceed. For this, you need to choose companies without a mileage limit. Be sure to check whether there is a mileage limit in the vehicle’s specifications or ask the company.
In Turkey, cars are usually rented with empty tanks. Since travelers do not know how much gasoline they will get during their trips, they overfill and at the end of the trip you will return the car with more gasoline than you bought. This plays into the hands of car renters. Cars in Europe are usually rented with a full tank of gas. You fill up the tank before you return the car and return it that way. If you forget to fill the tank, they will charge your credit card for as much gasoline as the tank will fill up, plus an extra service fee of 20-30€. Find out the nearest station when you pick up your car or use your phone to find a nearby station.
Traffic rules in the city
You are responsible for the fines that may come if you do not comply with traffic rules. If you violate traffic rules such as exceeding the speed limit, entering the opposite direction, your fine will be forwarded to the company where you rented the car. They will charge it to your credit card.
When renting a car abroad, it is useful to pay attention to the parking lot during your trip. Parking lots abroad are usually paid. You need to pay attention to the signs where you park. Especially in Europe, you need to pay the fee for the parking lot in advance through the devices on the street and leave the receipt visible from the windshield of the car. The attendants can look in front of the cars and write tickets for those who do not have a receipt. Depending on the situation, the color of the lines in the parking lots can be either a long-term parking space or a parking space for a maximum of one hour. After 18:00 p.m. and even on weekends, parking can be free. You need to pay attention to the parking signs on the streets where you will park to avoid paying for free.
If there is a second driver, you may need to enter the name of the second driver as an extra driver. While some companies charge an additional fee for the extra driver, others include them in your contract without charging any fee. If the additional driver is not specified, your vehicle will be excluded from insurance coverage in a possible accident.
Traveling abroad with your rented car
If you go outside the country where you rented the car, tell the officials so that they can prepare the contract accordingly. They may ask for extra fees due to inter-country agreements. Do not keep it a secret that you are going out of the country in order to benefit from insurance coverage. Your vehicle is already tracked by GPS. While we could cross to Latvia with the car we rented from Estonia, we paid an extra 44€ to cross to Lithuania.
Rent a car companies at airports are usually open all the time. Especially when you are not renting from the airport, make sure you have a phone number you can contact before you go. In Europe, if you come across a time outside of working hours, the man may have closed the shop and left, or he may have even gone home to get something. In small shops, if there is only one person working alone, such situations can happen. When we went to the address, there was no one in the shop and the office door was locked. He arrived about half an hour later.
Make sure you get the number of someone you can contact when you pick up the car. Anything can happen to the car in unfamiliar territory, glass cracks, tires burst, accidents happen. When you pick up the car, ask for the phone number of a person you can call in case of need.
Tips for renting a car abroad:
Depending on your destination, you should choose 2-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive. If you are going on a trip in snow and winter or if you will need to cross muddy roads and fields, it is more advantageous to choose a 4×4 vehicle. In spring or summer, if you are going to spend your time in city centers where transportation will be easy, you can rent a normal car that is not an SUV. Seasonal and country conditions play a major role in your vehicle choice.
GPS is also very important. While we can easily find anywhere we want with our cell phones at home, trying to find a place we are looking for abroad, even in unfamiliar places, will waste a lot of time. If you do not have a device that you can use your GPS, ask the company for a GPS device. You can get it for a fee.
Regardless of whether you are in Turkey or abroad, drawing your route in a circle means maximum sightseeing and minimum expense. For example, you bought a ticket to Vienna and a return ticket to Salzburg and you will have to rent your car in Vienna and leave it in Salzburg. This will cost you quite a lot. But if you rent a car in Vienna and plan your trip to Salzburg, Hallstatt, Klagenfurt and Graz before returning to Vienna, you will see more places and not pay extra for nothing.
If you are a person who carries luggage and plan to travel with friends, you should prefer cars with a large trunk. Generally, the cars are for 5 people, but the luggage varies according to the car. Car rental websites also provide luggage information.
After renting a car abroad, it is also necessary to consider the items you will spend for transportation. The price of gasoline in Europe is no different than in Turkey. Even if it is 1,20€ per liter, it corresponds to 5,80TL when we think in TL. The gasoline prices of the countries are listed at this address. In addition, it is necessary to calculate parking and road fees. The highways of some countries are really expensive. In order to use the roads of some countries, you need to buy stickers called vignettes that you need to stick on the car. If you do not buy one of these vignettes, you may face a large fine. You can find information about European countries’ vignette requirements, fees and where to buy them at tolls.eu or tolltickets.com.