How to Rent a Car in Europe
Getting off the train or plane and exploring a foreign country by car is one of the
best ways to get to know the place you’re visiting. Below are a few tips to make that experience run smoothly.
- Make sure you have a valid driver’s license. An American license will suffice in western European countries; if you’re planning to drive to eastern Europe or elsewhere, obtain an international driver’s license before you arrive.
- Call a travel agency three weeks before your trip and let it know the dates you wish to rent a car, and where you’ll want to drive. Since many American car rental agencies have European counterparts, you can easily check rates or availability and book or cancel a reservation online.
- Book the car, keeping in mind that European rentals are frequently stick-shift. Choose the model, size and dates of your rental.
- Determine where you wish to pick up and drop off the car. For a fee, which varies widely depending on the country, you can drop the car off at a different location from where you picked it up.
- Prepay for the car or make a deposit.
- Review European street signs and driving laws before you get behind the wheel. Be aware that the auto accident fatality rate in Europe is about four times higher than that in the United States.