How to Rent a Car in Europe: 4 Things You Need to Know

Are you looking to book a vacation in Europe?

Europe is one of the most visited continents by tourists and for good reason. There are 44 countries in Europe and each has its own rich history, tradition, and culture which is hard to find anywhere else.

One of the best ways to explore Europe is by car. You’ll be able to see all of its natural beauty, plus, you’ll find those hidden towns which aren’t mentioned in tourist brochures.

In this article, we’ll share 4 things you need to know on how to rent a car in Europe.

Read on for more information.

1. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP)

Some countries such as Spain, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Austria, require you to have an IDP.

An International Drivers Permit translates your license into 10 different languages. It also contains your name, photograph, and driver’s information. It’s not a replacement for your driver’s license it’s solely a supplement.

When you pick up your car from the rental company, you’ll be asked to show your IDP. Without it, you’ll likely be unable to rent the car.

You can get an IDP from AAA for around $20.

2. Go With a Major Rental Car Company

When driving in Europe, you should avoid renting from a small car company and go with one of the bigger ones.

In Europe, the major car rental companies are Avis, Hertz, Budget, Europcar, and Sixt. These can all be found at major airports and have multiple locations in towns and cities across Europe.

The best reasons for renting from these companies are that they have a wider range of cars. Plus, if you break down, you should be able to get a replacement quickly. You can also pick it up from one place and drop it off in another.

3. You May Have to Purchase a Vignette

A Vignette is simply a sticker you put on the windshield which shows you have paid the highway taxes.

Countries that require vignettes include Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, and Hungary. If you pick up your car from one of these countries then you’ll be covered. But, if you drive into one of them, you’ll need to buy one at the border.

They usually cost between €3-10 depending on the country. If you don’t have one then you can be fined €60 or more and, it will ruin your European vacation.

4. Be Prepared for a Smaller Car

Cars in Europe tend to be much smaller than in the US. This means they’ll come with less passenger and luggage space.

Keep this in mind when booking your car and if you need something larger then just ask.

You should also keep in mind that roads and highways are usually narrower. So we advise against choosing the pick-up option.

It’s a good idea to also learn the road signs in Europe as they can differ from the US. We also recommend buying a GPS for international travel as this will make you feel more confident in driving around Europe.

Tips on How to Rent a Car in Europe

We hope you have enjoyed our article on how to rent a car in Europe.

As you can see, there are a few things you should be aware of before traveling to avoid fines. But, renting a car in Europe is generally straight forward and you’ll have a great time exploring the continent.

Finally, check out our blog for more travel tips and advice.

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