Last summer we went to Italy. We planned to rent a car to cross from one place to they other. Both of us are not such a great in-advanced-planners and two days before take off we still didn’t decided which car(rental) would fit the best for us. We decided to rent a car up on arrival. But what if there are only bad reviews? They try to sell a insurance as expensive as the car itselves? The rental place has only weird opening hours? It was the most terrible time consuming idea ever. Read this blog to avoid making the mistakes we already made for you.

In advance or at location?
Well having this experience ourselves we will always book a car in advance from now on. Why? Well…
1. Prices are cheaper.
2. You can decide to go with a worldwide company and book your car insurance online (a package car + insurance is mostly, or always cheaper than buying your insurance a the car rental desk!).
3. You don’t waste valuable time of your holiday reading reviews on the Internet or finding a good company.

If you still want to book a car at location
1.  Find them close to public places like trainstations/airports
2. If you can’t find them use google maps: type something like ‘’car rental’’ or translate that word in the local language (for example: in Italy it was ‘’noleggio auto’’).
3. When possible: read some reviews! Check their Facebook and/or web page. We found some car rentals with ONLY bad reviews. Of course each company has some and we didn’t book at those companies, so we can’t have an opinion about it… But make sure you double check!

Pay attention to the contract. Read it all, take your time and don’t forget the small letters. If you don’t understand some details, it might be for a reason ;). Ask the receptionist to explain. Even if there are 20 people in the line behind you! See this checklist to know what should be in it.

99% sure you will need to give your credit card details to the company. Beside this you will have to deposit money in case of damage, traffic charges, tolls or administrative fees for handling of fines. This varies from €300,- up to €1000,- depending the car and rental place. Discuss the exact amount with your hirer.  Beside this you pay the renting period and insurance, in advance.

If you want to rent a car you will have to have a driving licence. Depending which country you are from you might need an international driving licence. Beside this a passport or identity card and nearly always a credit card is needed. Car rentals mostly have a minimum age for renting a car. If you are younger you might need to pay an extra fee (mostly under 25/27 years). Also you will need to have you driving license already for several years.

After the renting
Best is to bring the car back into opening hours of the rental place (so check this before renting the car!). This because you will have the opportunity to check the car together with your hirer for any scratches and receive your recipes.By doing this you will be less likely to receive some charges from scratches and other fees well being back home.

My favorites
I would prefer to book and already arrange my insurance with big companies like:
– Hertz
– Buchbinder 

Not so sure about those but might be good:
– Sixt
– Avis
– Holiday cars
– Budget
– Goldcar

Examples of small local companies in Italy:
– Easy terra
– Sicily by car

Good to know
– By clicking this link you will receive a car rental checklist, easy to print and bring with you!
-Regulary you will get the cheapest price booking a few weeks in advance (one week before going is a no- go, as we experienced).
– You can compare the prices of companies (but make sure you also arrange your insurance) at websites such as:

– Some (specially big companies) do have different prices for each country.  For example: If I am on a Dutch website and I book a car online in Italy it will cost me €20,- a day. If I go on the German website it will cost me €25,- a day. Check it out!

This is our summary of what we learned while doing our first search for a rental car (in Italy). I am really curious about your experiences and if this were bad – or good ”lessons”. Let’s help eachother on a happy car holiday!

Our rental car from Buchbinder

The car we rented


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