When planning for your trip to Italy, you need to be prepared for how you’ll get around. If you’re wanting to cover long distances without relying on public transportation, then you will need to look into renting a car. Even if you’re an experienced driver who has rented cars before, you should still be aware of the best strategy for car rental in Italy.
CAR RENTAL IN ITALY
Before you book a car rental in Italy, you should know about Italian driving laws. Thankfully, they shouldn’t be terribly difficult to understand. Italians drivers stay on the right side of the road and use the left lane for passing only. It is important to adhere to this rule for safety in general as if you stay in the lefthand lane, you are likely to have Italian drivers tailgate you at high speeds and this can be a dangerous and nerve-wracking distraction as you try to change lanes under pressure on the autostrada. Seatbelts are required by law and the blood alcohol content of motorists is not to exceed 0.05%. It is possible to rent car seats along with your rental car contract. You will be asked to provide your child’s height and weight in advance to ensure the car seat will be waiting for you.
You should also be aware of the road designs in Italy. Italian roads might seem significantly smaller compared to what you’re used to. Rather than renting an SUV and trying to navigate it like you’re threading a piece of rope through a needle, opt for a smaller vehicle that can handle the smaller roads and tighter parking spots of Italy. This can also mean car sickness, especially for children.
Make sure to do your research beforehand. You don’t want to arrive in Italy without a game plan for renting a car, and in high season like summer and fall, inventories become limited.. Do comparison shopping online across different rental agencies to find the best value for your dollar. For example, EasyTerra is a car rental comparison website that provides no-hassle comparison between agencies such as Hertz, Avis, Europcar and more. If you aren’t used to driving a manual transmission (or “stick shift”) it’s worth getting some practice. Since automatic transmissions are significantly less common in Italy, their prices for rental are much higher.
If you’re planning on a fairly extended stay (i.e., more than a couple weeks), consider opting for a short-term lease rather than renting a car. With a short-term lease, you can receive a much better value through insurance provided and the added bonus of a brand new car to tour the country with.
Though having a rental car can be a great convenience in Italy, it can also open you up to inconveniences such as traffic jams. In larger cities such as Rome and Milan, road congestion is a reality. Rather than aggravate yourself by spending a significant portion of your time stuck in gridlock, consider using public transportation such as the Metro in Rome or the Azienda Trasporti Milanesi (ATM) in Milan.
When you go to pick up your car, be sure to pay attention to when and where you should drop it off, especially if you’re not renting through the airport. You don’t want to arrive at the agency only to find it closed an hour earlier. Also be sure to check whether the fuel is gas or diesel. See our video guide on How to Pump Gas in Italy.
We hope that this has given you insight into how to rent a car in Italy. There isn’t too much out of the ordinary about doing it. Just make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to find a car that suits you and your budget, be aware of the roads in Italy, know which parts of the country are most prone to traffic and know how and when to return it.
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[Sponsored post by EasyTerra]
Photo Credit: Flickr/Project-128
Author: Broderick KennyAdd to favorites