In mid May we will be traveling in France by car for 10 days. Our rental will be round trip from Charles De Gaul. Is it best to rent straight from a car agency in the US, OR through AutoEurope OR Eurpcar ?? I would appreciate any thoughts!
Autoeurope is a legitimate car company. You can rent a car in France. Also, it is recommended to apply for International Driver Permit to drive in most European countries.
Look at this thread - Driving Permit - the original post was on getting an International Drivers Permit (which you should also know about) but skip the first few posts on that and follow along on the advice offered about car rentals.
Is it best to rent straight from
1. a car agency in the US You can't do this, you will be renting from a local franchise in France
2. through AutoEurope It has its fans, I am not one, you will have to pay in full in advance and you are adding a middleman, perhaps that will help you or perhaps add confusion to the transaction
3. Europcar This is a viable option
One of the advantages of working with Autoeurope is that in the event of any problem, you can call their free telephone line and converse with someone in English to help resolve issues. Their pricing is also hard to beat.
I have just utilized both companies for an upcoming trip and car rental in Italy. I sought quotes from Autoeurope, which offered me cars and rates from 4 different rental car companies. I chose Eurocar, which offered the best rate.
We always have booked with AutoEurope in Portland, ME. They are a rental car broker. Often we are given a EuropCar or Avis. They stand behind you if there are any problems.
I never have any issues with Autoeurope. But sometimes, airlines give you access to deals that are as good as, or better than, Auto Europe. For instance, Air France has a partnership with Hertz, and Hertz is quite reputable.
I guess, though that it only works if you are renting a car from your point of entry.
I've rented both directly and through Europcar (most recently) and AutoEurope (a decade ago). Both ways work fine. Most of the time, I shop as many options - usually starting on Kayak.com - as possible then pick which one works best for the trip.
Last time I rented in Ireland for ten days. The price was weird. I couldn't decide if I was being gouged on a daily rate or getting a steal on the entire rental. I used Europcar just to make sure. It was steal, something like 60 for ten days (but quadruple that with taxes and fees).
I always rent the smallest manual transmission car they have. I had to endure the rental agent asking, "Who has the small stick shift?" Going through Europcar, I still went to an agency and picked up/returned the car.
When I used AutoEurope I chose it primarily for convenience of picking up the car. That rental worked fine too as have all the rentals I've done direct with Hertz, Thrifty and others.
I've been using AutoEurope for 30+ years, although not exclusively. However, I've pretty much stopped checking any site other than AutoEurope, since the few times I did, the AE price was much lower than renting directly.
Its worth checking both sites and deciding. We've rented from AutoEurope several times. One thing I've noticed is that the base car rental rate may be similar from places like Hertz, but if you add on the high coverage insurance (which I always do) the AutoEurope price comes out significantly lower.
Thank you to ALL who have taken the time to respond! I really appreciate the info. Not leaving till May so I have time to research!
We’ve had both success with Avis and Europcar in multiple countries. I can’t speak to Autoeurope but we’re using Europcar again in May.
Ironically, the worst we dealt with was Hertz out of CDG. We’re pretty sure the customer service rep was being deliberately difficult to English speaking customers. My dad is what I’d call semi-fluent in French and he picked up on a few things the dude was muttering under his breath. Only time we’ve ever thought anyone played up to the rude Frenchman stereotype. Hopefully he was just having an off day...
Autoeurope is reliable and will be cheaper than renting directly with Europcar. You might even end up with a Europcar vehicle through Autoeurope. Triple check your insurance coverage, leave nothing to chance.
Gemut use Autoeurope for their vehicles and will also be more expensive.
I've used Autoeurope more than once and cancelled reservations. I've had no issues , the refunds always came within a couple of days and were exactly what I'd been charged.
I had an interesting experience last year with Europcar in Portugal. I did a lot of comparisons, one-way vs. round trip, train station vs airport, and Europcar vs Autoeurope. In the end I booked directly through Europcar R/T airport, about 4-5 months in advance. After a couple months, I took another look and prices had dropped significantly, so I canceled and rebooked. A couple weeks later, prices dropped more, so I rebooked again. 12 days before I picked up the car.
I've never had an issue with a rental car desk person in Europe not being fully fluent in English. That simply will not be a problem and should not be a consideration in choosing the rental method.
Also the "AutoEurope is always cheaper" isn't true, and has only been true once for me. Renting directly from the franchise is usually cheaper IME.
I've never rented a car in Europe but have done so fairly often in the US. Chani's experience with price drops isn't rare on this side of the Atlantic, either. It's definitely worth checking periodically to see whether the price has come down since you made your reservation.
Great advice from all!~ Thank you! I would never had thought to recheck prices as the date gets closer. Good to know for sure!!
"AutoEurope is always cheaper" isn't true
OK, make it "almost always." Once it was cheaper going direct, so I took that.
As far as having to pay in advance through AE, it's no big deal. You can always cancel up to 2 days before. And if the price goes down, you can either cancel and rebook at the lower price, or call AE and they'll refund the difference. But you do have to be the one doing the checking. AE won't do it automatically.
Well for me AutoEurope has never been cheaper than renting direct in Europe, and that's 4 rental experiences. The only time AutoEurope has cheaper was Mexico.
It's far easier if the price drops to make a new reservation and cancel the old one, then to call AutoEurope wait for them to check the price, get a refund and follow the crediting of that to your credit card. In the Mexico instance the whole class of car I reserved vanished (I think it was "Family"). So if I hadn't been checking rates myself I would have shown up with an expectation of a class no longer offered. I did get the refund for switching to the lower class, and it was credited.