Please sign in to post.

Car Rental - Arrange from the US?

Hi - We have our hearts set on driving through the Tuscan country side by rental car in Italy. The only problem is we are doing the trip very 'free spirited' deciding how much time to spend in places we like while we're there. We have 2 or 3 night to spend in Tuscany, but don't know the start or end dates. Would it be better to reserve a car and change the dates while in the country or to arrange once we're there? Also - can anyone recomend where to pick up or drop off the car?

Posted by
864 posts

We get a car twice every year and tour somewhere in Europe. We ALWAYS get our car reservation in the U.S. Better "for sure" rates and better recourse if things go hay-wire. Also bite the bullet and buy CDW. The major rental car agencies will give you a little slack day wise if booked ahead from the U.S. (but let them know a couple days ahead as in, "oh, my group was delayed till Thursday vs. Monday). If you rent in Italy (or anywhere in the EU) without reservations You MUST BE ABLE TO DRIVE A STICK. Twice we've been asked if we'd change to a stick because the other people trying to rent couldn't drive one - in Europe the stick is the norm NOT an automatic. Also be aware that many of the cheaper rental agencies put you on the hook - up front - for the entire time your rental car is not rentable if you damage it. That can be a real tear on your credit card up front even if your insurance company re-imburses you later. Major Car Rental Agency locations are airport/train station.

Posted by
1127 posts

We always use AutoEurope to rent a car - It's a car broker that has better rates than booking direct. They do have automatic cars but you will pay much more than renting a stick shift.

Can't recommend where to pick up or drop off the car without knowing where you are flying in/out of or some idea of an itinerary.

Posted by
8 posts

thank you for your comments, we don't know how to drive stick, so it looks like we'll be renting ahead of time from the US and hoping for some grace if times need to change. as for cities to ick up and drop off, here's our plan: Fly into Venice, train to Bolobna, Train to Parma, then trying to decide if we should pick up the car there, or take the train to Pisa, and drop the car off in Siena, train to rome, or Drive closer to Rome. Thanks!

Posted by
17 posts

You can rent automatics, but you need to make sure that is what you reserve - and you will pay for it. I found that it is much much cheaper to reserve at the local locations instead of the train station or airport. Hertz had the best prices in NW Italy, but Don't miss the fact that hertz requires you to buy an international driving permit ($15 at AAA, just walk in).

Posted by
241 posts

Brianne, I rented from Hertz in may/june of this year and did not need and international whatever. Have never needed it. Passport and my state driver's license.

Posted by
1633 posts

We have used AutoEurope for our car rentals. Check out the website first and determine the price for the car you want. Then call them to firm up the date, place of rental and price. Often times, they will quote a higher price on the phone. I then refer them to the website--they then make the adjustment. Request and confirm an automatic. They have a phone # you can call from Europe in order to change the reservation, if necessary. Sounds like Pisa might be a good location to rent the car. They will tell you where their locations are. Buy a Michelin Italy map for driving over there. You may even want to request a GPS--helped us a lot in Tuscany. Several times we had to rent a car in a location away from the train station--we took a taxi to the rental car agency. Go through Tuscany and then drop the car off in Orvieto which is a real quaint hill town. Take the train from Orvieto to Rome--1 hr ride. Have fun!

Posted by
8700 posts

Offically, an International Driver Permit is required in Italy. While you probably won't be asked to produce one when you pick up your car, if you're in an accident or are stopped by the police, you'll be glad you have it.

Posted by
73 posts

Avoid driving in Rome if all possible. Countryside is easy, autostrada is too. I used Hertz, however, the car (which was a stick) had brake fluid message come on, so had to deal with Hertz international all afternoon, they finally sent someone to pick it up, and we had to taxi to new location to get car.

Posted by
479 posts

A great resource is the car rental services offered through Ask the person there this exact question. He will be able to give you better advice than these forums.

I have always booked car reservations ahead of time. If you're at all concerned, just book the car in the US for the furthest ahead of time and the longest amount that you think might be possible. You may end up paying more, especially for parking, but this will allow you to have a car and be more free spirited about it. This approach would force you to pick a start date, however.

Posted by
4 posts

IF you are going to be in Europe for 17 days or more definitiely give LEASING consideration. Much cheaper, easier and convenient. Try AutoFrance (800-572-9655)Must do this at least 4 weeks prior to departure. However, ours worked 3 wks. prior.