Renting a car abroad, “On the road again”
Sometimes driving in another country takes a little getting used to, but the beauty and the fun we experience and the wisdom and understanding we acquire by doing so are worth the efforts we make.
In my travels, France is the easiest place to drive; their signage is awesome, strategically located and with everything clearly indicated. You could practically drive from Paris to Nice without Google maps, or a GPS. Seriously! Their little back roads are the most beautiful, the highways (autoroutes, blue signs designated with an A) are fast and smooth but you pay heavy tolls on them, and their National (green signs, route numbers preceded by N) usually run parallel to the highways, but are free. My favorites are the Departmental (D) roads; always the most picturesque and also good about getting you where you need to go, quite directly.
Some of my favorite areas to discover by road trip in France include: the *Haute Savoie, for its spectacular mountains, glacial lakes, and Alpine villages, the wine country towns and scenic roads, enchanting castles and more around the Dordogne region, and the Roman ruins, panoramic views, and vibrant market towns of the Vaucluse.
Exploring Sicily by car is very rewarding, too. Yes, I found it a bit stressful in the center of Catania and Palermo during a torrential downpour at rush hour at the end of two workdays, but, other than that, tutto bene. A road trip truly bellissimo.
Switzerland and Spain are also great places to explore by car. Majestic mountains and opulent olive groves; do I want to be on the road again soon? Definitely.
By the way, one really good thing about credit cards in the USA coming with a chip these days means that we can get gas for our rental cars on weekends and in the evenings in other countries even when no employees are around. I don’t miss those days when we were severely limited, that was truly a nuisance…
I used to do so much research back then, on a strict budget and looking for the cheapest car, and I always ended up making my reservations with Auto Europe. In spite of the low prices I would pay, I always got nice cars, the latest Peugeots, for example. They are the best car rental company in the world, and not only for Europe, but lots of other countries in other continents, too. Don’t let the name miss lead you.
Auto Europe is optimal for short term car rentals, and for longer ones, as well, including leasing, which is a necessity because insurance is only good for rentals of 30 days or less. And in general, if you rent a car abroad for 17 days or longer, the price for leasing (which includes insurance) is usually cheaper.
Nowadays, I don’t even consider anyone else for car rental abroad. Auto Europe’s service is excellent, their product and relationships with vendors around the globe impressive, their pricing is beyond competitive and always transparent, their sales events are frequent, and their employees are friendly, professional and very helpful. (I start by making my reservation online, but I end up having some questions that require a conversation, and I find it refreshing to ask questions and learn the answers from speaking with knowledgeable staff.)
Most importantly though- this is a company that has your back when something goes wrong. In my many years of driving rental cars in other countries, only once was there a problem. A car turned out to be a bit of a lemon, the local agency switched it out for me to a better one, then charged me over $2,000 without telling me!
Upon discovering this costly surprise after returning home, contacting Auto Europe and expressing my distress, I was immediately contacted by the owner, apologized to, and credited for the erroneous charge: an expedited, appreciated, stress-free resolution of the problem.
That was a very good thing because it allowed me to comfortably and confidently continue renting cars while visiting other countries, something that I love to do, because we see so much more of a place when we have our own wheels there. We can explore further and independently, get to know the geography and the culture more intimately, and venture off the beaten path more easily- enjoying a different kind of freedom…
Travel Cutie behind the wheel…
*Hopefully soon there will be a new post on some of my favorite spots-the best places to see in the Haute Savoie: Talloires and Annecy.