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Are there rental car shortages in Italy or France

Hello, we are planning a trip to Italy this October. We are planning to use public transport for the majority of the trip, but want a car to wine taste around Tuscany for a week.

Are there rental car shortages, or should I trust the agency’s website that lists cars available?

We were also considering a short stay in the Loire in France with the same concern.

Any information would be so appreciated!

Posted by
193 posts

Book as far out as you can but don't prepay if they will let you wait on that. Keep checking prices to see if a better deal comes along.

I have cars booked for Spain in April and France in June. Booked at least 6 months out and got decent prices compared to what they are now. Hopeful I get what I've requested!

Posted by
1017 posts

You didn't ask this question, but here is a link to the DUI standards for Italy.

https://tuscanwanders.com/drinking-driving-italy

This equates to a .05 BAC. Most U.S. States have a .08 prohibited level.

I cannot think of a circumstance where I would risk a DUI by driving around doing a wine tasting tour. Make sure you have a designated driver who is absolutely not drinking wine or anything stronger than water.

France has the same prohibited level.

To estimate, 7 oz of wine equals 1 oz of spirits or 12 oz of beer (some beers have much higher ethanol levels, so be careful).

For a 175 pound man to reach a .5 gram/liter level he would need to consume just shy of 3 drinks in a one hour period. Y'all be safe out there. Let the teetotaling nerds drive.

Posted by
1190 posts

We just returned from Spain and have already booked for September trip. We used Autoeurope. Spain: it was no different than any other time we have traveled except for the price. For example: In September 2018, we rented a car in Munich for 4 weeks for less than $700 fully insured. When we return this September everything is the same (length of time, same car class, fully insured) and it is $1600. One thing I like about using Autoeurope is that you do pre-pay, but it can be canceled and fully refunded up to 24 hours before arrival. I have strong confidence that the agency will have my car if I have paid for it. If I haven't paid for it and am delayed, they can legally assume I am a no show and rent the car to someone else (which is fair, since people do reserve and then fail to cancel knowing they aren't going to use the car.) With Autoeurope, if the car decreases in price after you make the reservation, you can call and they will adjust it accordingly. (I did that about 2 weeks after booking my September trip and saved $180) Also, Autoeurope has a 24 hour help line if you do have problems. Because they are a "big player" in the rental car arena, they do have some weight they can throw around. I had to use the emergency line in 2016 when an agent insisted I needed to purchase their insurance or he would not give me the car. Autoeurope talked to them, then me (advising me what i had to do to get out of there without their insurance...the agent never would have told me this info without Autoeurope) and I walked our without paying another cent.

Posted by
844 posts

I would expect car rental prices to be much higher than pre-Covid. I’m planning a trip and seeing prices 2-3 times what we’ve paid previously. Vehicle production has slowed worldwide, which means fewer cars are being brought into the rental car fleets. So prices are higher. And/or companies are taking advantage of people’s reluctance to use public transportation and jacking up the prices.

But if you rent from a reputable company, they will have a car for you when you arrive. Just note that it may not be the exact model provided as an example when you rent.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you all for your feedback. I understand the issues of cost and driving while tasting wine.

My question is whether rental cars are scarce or not. I am concerned for making a reservation for a car but finding a depleted inventory when I shower e up in person.

Thank you for any information you can offer. .

Posted by
14899 posts

Do you have any special requirements for the car - like automatic transmission or size? Last month I rented a car from Europcar at the Florence airport. I had booked a Fiat Panda "or similar" that specifically says 5-doors. They assigned me a smaller Fiat with only 3-doors that was a lower price when I booked. I complained - they said for them it was the same class of car. I insisted gently and they quickly gave me an Opel at the same rate that may have been a higher class. It's happened to me more than once in the past (pre-Covid past) that I've been offered a free upgrade. I've always assumed that meant that the class of car I'd booked wasn't available. A larger car usually means lower gas mileage and more parking hassles.

So, no, you cannot assume that the class of car you booked will be available. They may even plan to have the car available but the previous renter didn't return it - or returned it to a different location, or there was a repair issue or just a mix-up. The best option is to rent from a site that has a large fleet of cars, like Rome airport.

Posted by
8396 posts

Depleted inventory could happen, but if you go through AutoEurope or Kemwel, the car will be waiting, even if it’s the last one on the lot or in the garage.

Posted by
1190 posts

I think answering about depleted stock is hard because it will change depending on the day, the location, etc. My only experience was in Spain. They upgraded our car and said if we did not like it they had others we could pick from. Keep in mind that they car you are shown is an example. You are not guaranteed that car (and quite frankly I have rarely been given the car on my sheet) You will get a car of "comparable" size. In Spain, we rented a compact and ended up with a SUV about the size of Subaru Forester.

Posted by
14899 posts

I don't understand Bets's post. Why would going through a consolidator insure the availability of a car? It is ultimately the responsibility of the rental company. I haven't heard of any company running out of cars. The issue is which car you want and which car you get.