My new husband and I are self-touring in the Normandy area, then Provence, then Edinburgh/Highlands, and finally the West Cost of Ireland over the course of 2 1/2 weeks... We are wanting to do a few "open-jaw" car rentals once we reach each location (flying or training it for the longer distances), but leery of the possible huge fee for wanting to drop off at a different location than picking up (I know here in the states, that can be a costly fee). Anyone with experience with this? We are looking to do the "open-jaw" rental in Normandy (pick-up in Paris or Rouen, drop-off in Rennes), Provence (pick-up in Marseille drop-off in Lyon), and in Ireland (Cork to Galway)... Any advice would be most appreciated! Thanks!
There is a bit of a difference between open jaw rentals and a airline ticket. In Europe as in the US the drop off fees have be very high especially if you cross borders. You should make inquiries of different rental companies and you may get lucky but don't count on it.
Jen, go to Autoeurope.com web site and play with the pick-up and drop-off locations. Picking up at an airport or train station usually invoves a fee. Dropping off at a train station, or airport usually does NOT involve a fee. We ALWAYS pick up at one location and drop off at another and usually incur no fee. But if you pick up in one country, and drop off in another, hang on to your wallet! Bring your GPS and a small Michelin fold-out map of each country. Make sure that you are fully covered with insurance: in some countries my VISA does that for me; in others I have to buy "complete" coverage.
In Ireland, I have always picked up at an airport and dropped at a different airport. I think on my most recent trip I was charged $22 to pick up in Dublin and drop in Shannon.
auto europe has reasonable rates with open jaw and i have done so in france, say pick up in bordeaux and return to CDG, it's very easy to deal with.
What Steve and David said is pretty close, but if you use kayak.com, it'll check autoeurope as well and give you the best price of a bunch of outfits. Autoeurope seems to be the one tauted around here for some reason, but it doesn't always have the best deal. I probably use them less than one in a dozen times. Drop off in two places in the same country should be nothing extra or very close to it. What's going to up your cost is a bunch of short-term rentals instead of one longer one. Rennes to Marseilles is a hard, mean day. If you worked that in reverse and only had to drive from Rouen to Lyon, you can nob it down to six hours or so. The other thing that will kill you in the France segment is paying for two rental cars on the same day and buying train tickets to boot. When you're figuring the relative cost for France, you should take a look at viamichelin.com to get an idea of the tolls - - they can be pretty steep. For the Ireland segment, the place is so small that you could probably drive back to where you got the car rather than turning it in, getting to the train/bus station, waiting for the transportation, then riding. Actually, for Ireland, it'd probably be just as easy to do the whole thing by car. I don't know where Scotland fits in, but you're not going to be able to move a car from there to Ireland, period (or vice versa). Make sure you're not building false economies that will eat into time and money because of the logistics.
Thanks, folks! This was all very helpful information and has given me some ideas to think about/research! Renting a car is a new thing for me (its been years since I traveled in Europe and that was all by train!). Thanks again! Peace, Jen