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Renting a car in Venice and travelling to Bosnia

I am going in July 2015 with my dad. After a Mediterranean cruise we want to rent a car for a week and travel through Venice to Slovenia, Croatia and then over to Srebrenica, Bosnia where my dad is from. However, I am having problems booking a car when I tell them I'm going to Bosnia. I have tried Auto Europe and they started at $867 for the week and then put it up to $1267 a couple days later with an extra $130 fee for added insurance. It feels like I'm being scammed. They said they are the only ones that will allow a rental car into Bosnia. At first they said just take a Opal basic wagon and not a Mercedes or Audi because the incidence of theft is high there. Then they starting escalating the price and said it will increase the longer I wait. I need a rental for my dad--he is a senior with a heart condition and tires easily.

Can someone please help me with this dilemma? Any advice or tips is so appreciated. Does anyone know of an independent rental that will allow me to enter Bosnia--I'm not exploring all over Bosnia--just Srebrenica for 3-4 days. Help!

Posted by
11153 posts

In addition to AutoEurope, check Kemwel. They are now a sister company to AutoEurope, but they often have different prices.

Are you going to be returning the car to Italy, or dropping it in Bosnia (or a third country)? If you're not returning it to Italy, that accounts for part of the expense - cars not returned in their country of origin have a very high surcharge, while cars returned in the same country (even different cities) usually don't. And yes, certain countries are deemed by the rental agencies to have high incidences of theft, and they won't rent certain models for these places (a friend had reserved a Mercedes to pick up at Munich airport; when she got there and the rental agency found out the plan was to go to the Czech Republic in the car, that put an end to the Mercedes).

If you're not able to get a reasonable car rental out of Venice, you may have to take a flight to Bosnia, or a boat to Croatia then rent a car there. Sarajevo airport SJJ has limited flights, so that's not so easy either - but at least renting a car there to get to Srebrenica shouldn't be a problem. I don't know if a car rented in Croatia can be taken easily into Bosnia, but if it can, you can return it in Dubrovnik, so you avoid the cross-country drop charge.

For other transit ideas, look at Rome 2 Rio:

Posted by
2 posts

I will be returning the car back to Venice, Italy because we have to catch our flights.
Thanks for the tips. I'm will look into them now.

Posted by
11153 posts

In that case, definitely check Kemwel. When I went to Sicily, they had a much better price than any other company, including AutoEurope and Gemut so often mentioned on this forum. This was particularly true because I insisted on zero deductible; some of the other "good" deals ballooned when this was included. If you don't get zero deductible, the deductible can be as high as €2000 (not a typo - two thousand euros!)

Posted by
16766 posts

I saw similar price quotes when I booked through Auto Europe and wanted a car I could drive in Greece, Macedonia, and Albania. I was happy to return the car to the same place but the issue was crossing these borders. It also did not matter that a multi-national name like Avis might rent cars in the neighbor country; the Greek branch of Avis and other majors would not allow their cars out of the country for any reasonable price.

Sarajevo is served by train - 9 hours from Zagreb, 2.5 hours from Mostar, or there may also be service from Ploce, but I have not found a current schedule from Ploce.

Posted by
114 posts

I hope you managed to get to Srebrenica with your Dad. Very few rental companies let their vehicles into Bosnia. Even friends with nice cars are reluctant to drive from Croatia into Sarajevo. There are, as you probably discovered, plenty of bus routes across Europe and into Bosnia. Also you can fly into Sarajevo on Croatia Airlines every day from Zagreb, for your next trip - because you will be going back to Bosnia - and then you don't need a car. Anyone who has a car in Bosnia is more than happy to act as your taxi for a fair amount of money in their cashless, barter survival economy. I hope you found a way into northern Bosnia that worked for you and your Dad. Please share your journey. I am pretty sure it did not include any standard car rental solutions across that border. The cost of flights and buses may have been less than car rental, without the hassle. Brcko is a safe spot on the northern border with a bridge to Croatia, and a bus terminal - perhaps you went that way, and found a way to Srebrenica. Prijetno i sretan put.