There’s something nice about a self drive holiday. You get to explore a place at your own leisure. You can go to off-the-beaten track places. It can be more exciting. In general, you simply feel more in control. But…(and there’s always a but) the downside is that everything is a lot less familiar. You’ll probably be driving on the opposite side, road rules and signs will be slightly different and you won’t necessarily know where you are going. Below are some tips to consider when you go on your next self-drive holiday.
Long-term car hire
If you plan to hire a car for more than 17 days in Europe, it’s worth looking into the French buy-back scheme. You’ll get a new car with insurance and it will be more cost-effective and less hassle. It’s a way of saving on the VAT (GST) for the owners of the car as this doesn’t get passed onto tourists. Ask your TTFN Travel Confidante for more information about this.
Getting where you’re trying to get to
If you’re hiring a car, a sat nav is probably a good idea. These days you can either use your own smartphone (although watch roaming charges) or you can hire a sat nav with your car for a small additional charge. Just be warned, double check that there aren’t two towns with the same name – I know of a couple that ended up 200 kilometres from the town they intended to stay in for exactly this reason.
Navigating through tight city streets
Many of the towns in Europe weren’t designed with cars in mind. They have tight streets that barely allow one car through, especially when cars are parked crammed along the sides. Be prepared to have to park to allow another car to come through before you can make your way. If your sat nav is failing you in some off-the-map medieval town, you can always do what some friends did, flag down a taxi and follow that cab!
Save on car insurance
Most car rental companies like to add on a hefty fee to reduce excess in the event of an accident. Double-check your travel insurance as you may find that your excess is already reduced and you could save yourself $20 or so a day. (Even better, choose a travel insurance provider with car rental in mind)
Talk to your TTFN Travel Confidante today about the best self-drive holidays and car rental options for you. Call +61 (08) 6382 5000 today.
Article by Nicola Billens
Nicola Billens is an experienced traveller, having visited all the continents (except Antarctica) over the last 20 years. She’s lived in France, England, Austria and New Zealand and spent many years and many dollars experiencing what this wonderful world has to offer.