I'm torn as to whether to rent a minivan or car. It seems a minivan would be more difficult to drive on the narrow roads than a car. Yet if we get a car, we need one large enough to hold 4 pieces of luggage (two adults who are staying 1 week and two who are staying 2 weeks). Has anyone else gone through these mental gymnastics?!
What countries will you be in, and what area? Ex: Wales is tight for hedge clearance; France is not.
Going to Ireland. Two of us who will be staying the extra week will be golfing, so our luggage will be bigger (golf shoes, balls,extra clothes). I'd just hate to get a car and find that it is too small. We are going at peak season, and I've noticed many places are getting sold out of minivans already. Thanks...
A van will seem enormous on most of the smaller roads. Those hedges are verrrrry close to the edge of the road. 4 adults who only have a carry on size bag each and an Appenzell sized backpack each can fit into a Kia Rio sized car. If you have a combined luggage total of more than that you need a bigger car -- tho probably not as large as a van. I really encourage you to manage with the smallest car you can. You will thank me for this advice after only a few minutes on a "R" road.
We went through this in 2008. I wish I could give you a good solution but it is hard with rental cars where you are not guarenteed a specific model. We were 4 people who packed light but 2 of us were going over early to do some hut to hut hiking and wanted to bring our own boots, packs, etc. The funny thing is that a larger car doesn't always mean a larger trunk. We booked a car in the "Toyota Corolla" category. (we actually have one and went out with all the stuff to see if it would fit..tight but we could make it work) We ended up with a mid size Citreon and it had a huge trunk. The problem with a van, is that you cannot hide the stuff if you are stopping "on the road". We liked having everything out of site when we stopped..less temptation. We did talk to Any at Gemut.com and he made some recommendations.
PS When we rented in Ireland in 2002, we were upgraded to a mid size car like we had in 2008. We were worried, but it worked out fine driving it around. I think you would be happier with a mid size car than a van.
Rent a station wagon. Almost same size as a normal car, but with a larger trunk. Most - if not all - have a curtain that you can pull over the luggage in the trunk so that it is not visible from outside.
We leased a seven-passenger Renault Grand Scenic II for five people, spouse, self, teen son, pre-teen son, and young daughter. We each had one carry on. The seven-passenger car/station wagon was perfect.
If we had been larger people or carrying more luggage, it would have been cramped.
Pay close attention to how much luggage a car will carry. Another reason to pack light.
Thanks. All great posts. I just commented on another thread that I am getting great rates on Costco's website for cars. Thanks again.