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Renting Cars: Bargain Places

As some might know I am in the middle of planning my 5 month trip to Europe this Spring and summer. In that process I am renting cars in France (Paris), Italy, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Slovenia. Some cars like those in Italy and Bulgaria for as much as a month each.

What I've found is very interesting. While Croatia is pretty expensive for car rental, Montenegro is very cheap to rent a car. And it can be driven to Croatia. My rented AVIS Economy car for 7 DAYS cost $100.79. The same is true for Slovenia. Renting a car in Ljubljana is much cheaper than any neighboring country. 11 DAYS for € 138 for an Opel Astra. And if you rent in Slovenia you can drive that car to all of the EU and the bordering countries.

Italy was the most expensive. Bulgaria was easy and cheap $444 for 29 days.

So if you are headed to this part of the world and want a rental car, search carefully and choose the country of your rental strategically. I have been using Kayak and found that I get the overall cheapest prices there. Of course Kayak just sends you to the cheapest aggregator. On one occasion I found the cheapest price directly with the rental car company.
**All prices are all inclusive of taxes and fees and unlimited mileage.

I hope this can be of use for someones planning.

Posted by
2566 posts

If you are renting a car in Italy for a month and can pick up and return the vehicle in Rome, check the price of the Peugeot leasing plan at AutoEurope. It might be less expensive than renting for the same period.

Posted by
546 posts

Actually I am renting the car in Lecce in Pulgia as I am staying in the far south near the very tip of the peninsula not far from Santa Maria di Lueca. I will be leaving Italy at Bari so Rome doesn't work for me. But thanks for the tip.

But your comment brings up another issue. Yes sometimes the Leasing option can be cheaper but one has to be careful about the costs of backtracking. Also dropping off in another city can more often than not be a very hefty increase.

Posted by
546 posts

Just out of curiosity I did go to AutoEurope Leasing for Rome for the exact same dates as my rental. It would be $1892! This versus $481.35 from Europcar for 30 days.

This jogged my memory and indeed I had checked this at the time. I guess the moral is that the "Conventional Wisdom" is not always true.

So the lesson here is Check both dont assume the advice written in so many places is always correct. I think if I was renting vs leasing in FRANCE the leasing probably would be cheaper.

Posted by
122 posts

I always check Kayak, but usually end up reserving directly with the cheapest rental car company. Have you used the cheap aggregators before in Europe without problems?

Posted by
546 posts

Yes I have in Europe and other places around the world and it is perfectly legit. What you need to make sure of is this: If you rent a car say through Carrental.com but it's an Avis car lets say in Bulgaria then what they will send you is an email reservation confirmation from the Aggregator in this case Carrental.com WITH the AVIS CONFIRMATION NUMBER. Secondly that email will or should be followed by an email from AVIS with the same info. When I get the Confirmation page on the original aggregators site I print it as a .pdf file for reference to compare with the final confirmation emails.

If I dont get the email from the actual car rental company then I go to the actual car rental site and look up my reservation. So far they have always been there and the details accurate.
(I do usually limit myself to the well known companies Like Avis, Europecar, Hertz, Sixt etc.)

Car rentals are the one area of travel, unlike hotels and Airfares where I find actually Better prices with the Aggregators and not directly with the company. When doing airfares I always start with the aggregators, find the best price and then go directly to the Airline's site. This often results in a BETTER price than I was getting from the Aggregator.

Another tip: If I am seeing higher prices than I think are normal I will wait a day or two, delete my cookies on my computer and re-do the search. This has often resulted in lower prices for the same place and dates.

Posted by
266 posts

Have found hotwire to work well also. They tell you a price, but not the company, but to me most rental car companies seem the same in service. I use them a lot in the US and a few times in Europe with no issues. I generally end up with Hertz or Avis for a good price in the US. In Europe we generally get Europe Car or Hertz so far.

Posted by
3037 posts

I'm making a rental reservation in Norway and I can't get the fairly large city in-town locations I want to use to show up on AutoEurope, carrentals.com, or Kayak. Airports are not a problem but I'm not using those. So stuck with reserving directly from Avis I guess.

Posted by
4697 posts

Try EconomyCarRentals . They're a broker and reserve a car with various agencies. I booked a car in Croatia for two weeks with them in 2015 and they got me a car with a local Croatian company called Oryx. I didn't think $12/day was expensive, though that didn't include extra insurance.

Others have used Kemwel and AutoEurpe with good luck, but I think AutoEurope pre-charges the entire rental cost up front (even though they say it is refundable til two days before you pick up the car). EconomyCarRentals charges a small up-front "deposit" only and theirs is refundable til a few days before, too.