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Slovenia - Car Rental Do's and Don'ts

Hello TA members -

So I have to admit renting a car in Europe is not something I have done often. I just booked with ATET - we arrive after their office closes Sunday in downtown Ljubljana office and they have added a fee for staying open to meet me, which seems FAIR to me. I have no problem with that. So far, the staff has been exceptionally responsive and easy to work with.

Can you offer advice re: insurance (should we purchase additional?). Any other bits of advice you might have?

The rental car has a vignette. or at least I am charged for it; how do I know it is there?

I have acquired an International Drivers License here in the States from AAA.

One more thing. We plan to spend one evening in Trieste. Do I need to mention this to the ATET office? IS traveling into Italy from Slovenia and then back again any issue? My understanding is there is no border controls. Am I correct?

Posted by
4930 posts

Right - no border controls between Slovenia and Italy. Mention your plan to travel to Italy to Atet of course, but I doubt it will cost more (leaving the EU on the other hand might be different).

You'll see the vignette sticker on the windshield. If it's not clear - ask when picking up the car. Every Slovenian rental car I've had has included one.

Using a smart phone for GPS? That's what I recommend, if you have a smart phone. (Don't even need service for it to use as a GPS.)

Posted by
470 posts

The only piece of advice I’d add is to tune in to Radio SI for English-language traffic updates. Google Maps is a good app to use for navigating, but it rarely shows route closures, only congestion.

Posted by
141 posts

Andrew - how is it my smart phone doesn't need service to work -- do you mean it will work just like it does here in the States using the local provider? Vodafone or some such?

Service will be OK - even in the mountains (Bled) or Vrsic Pass?

Posted by
141 posts

Andrew/Dejan - thoughts re: additional insurance?

Thank you very much

Posted by
4930 posts

Andrew - how is it my smart phone doesn't need service to work -- do you mean it will work just like it does here in the States using the local provider? Vodafone or some such?

To work as a GPS, you phone doesn't need actual mobile service. The phone will pick up a GPS signal in the same places a "regular" GPS will - in the mountains, anywhere it can communicate with satellites. Occasionally, like a "regular" GPS, it will lose reception when blocked by tall trees or something.

But to see your location on a map and get directions, you need to download the local maps ahead of time. Google Maps for example has an "offline" mode - go into settings and find the "offline area" and download the part of western Slovenia and Trieste where you'll be driving. The larger the area of map you choose, the more storage space it takes on the phone. Maps are good for 30 days then must be renewed.

You can try Google Maps "offline" at home. Download the map for the area where you live, then put the phone in airplane mode and try navigating somewhere. The "offline" mode works only for driving directions - not for walking/public transit directions.

Of course, without mobile service, your phone won't get calls, texts, or any internet service unless on WiFi.

Your US phone may have an international roaming plan. Sprint and T-Mobile both offer free unlimited data overseas (but limited to 2G speeds). Verizon and AT&T both charge $10/day for days you use the phone (or you may be able to buy a monthly plan with limited data and calls). None of them has actual service there - they have roaming partners. If your phone is unlocked, you can buy a SIM card for it in Slovenia. It's still nice to have data on your phone. Google Maps "offline" doesn't have traffic info - you need data for that.

Posted by
470 posts

Service should be fine in the mountains, very rare areas without coverage nowadays. If buying a SIM card locally, do not use Telemach if rural coverage is important, stick to the Telekom/Mobitel or A1 networks. There are other cheap providers that host on either the Telekom or A1 networks, such as Hot Mobil, Izimobil, etc.

Radio SI has FM coverage along most highways in the country. Just scan the airwaves until you pick it up, the car should follow its frequencies throughout the country.

Posted by
141 posts

Thank you Andrew - I added the offline map to my local area and it worked! I added western Slovenia and suspect it will do so there too!

Dejan - Thanks for the advice re: the radio station - I might ask the rental guy to locate it for me and add it to the radio pre-programmed stations.

Very excited about the upcoming trip!

Posted by
470 posts

Don, since you'll be renting in Ljubljana, Radio SI broadcasts at 100.8 in the Ljubljana area. The car should follow the changing frequencies as you drive around the country.

Posted by
141 posts

Again thank you Dejan and Andrew - I am very excited about visiting Slovenia.
My only regret is I would have liked to get one more day in Ljubljana. Unfortunately (and fortunately) we are meeting out niece and nephew in Piran on Thursday - it is a stop on their Adriatic cruise. We are spending Wed evening in Trieste and then driving to Piran to see them...it is a mixed bag, on the one hand it is great to meet family in a foreign location, on the other it only allows us one full day in Ljubljana (Friday)...we plan to get to LJ Thursday afterrnon, then all day/night Friday and Sat morning - we fly out 3 pm Sat.

Posted by
50 posts

Friday in Ljubljana is one of the best days to visit because of Odprta Kuhna - Open Kitchen in the marketplace near Triple Bridge. You have all the best restaurants in Slovenia cooking there every Friday during the summer - wheater permitting. You must go to visit.

Posted by
141 posts

Thank you - we will visit Friday night! Looking forward to it - Don