Renting a car in general can be relatively straightforward, however we can offer some valuable advice to ensure your car rental experience in Italy is as smooth as possible. Please see our top 5 tips for tips to consider before you rent your car in Italy for further assistance.
- Book your car as far in advance as possible, especially if you don’t know how to drive stick shift.
If you have precise dates in mind for travel in Italy we recommend that you book your car rental at least 4 weeks ahead of time. The further in advance you book generally the lower the rates. Please keep in mind that most rental cars in Italy and Europe are stick shift. If you only know how to drive automatic, you may be out of luck if you book last minute.
- Don’t cheap out
In general we have had much better luck with car rental companies in Italy that are international big name corporations. Normally we try to avoid large corporations wherever possible, however when it comes to car rentals we can say that they are more accountable and customer service oriented. We tried to save a buck 2 different times with smaller car rental companies. The first time we got an email announcing they had cancelled our reservation while we were on the bus to the Bologna airport to pick it up, less then an hour from our expected pick up time. When we got to the airport there were no rentals available for less than $400 USD a day. No thank you. The second time we rented from a small company we ended up with a car that could barely get over 60kilometers or about 35 mph, which made our travels much longer then previously expected.
- Car insurance for your car rental in Italy
If you have not purchased insurance at the time of the reservation make sure are covered before you drive away with your vacation car rental. It is also likely that the agent will try to convince you to buy it, or add additional insurance to make a larger sale. However, many credit card companies offer sufficient coverage for your international rental. Please see our top 5 tips for tips for more details.
- Make sure you have all your documents in order
To drive in Italy you just need your standard issue valid drivers’ license from the state or country you are from. It is also recommended that you purchase an International drivers license from AAA, however we have never been asked for them. You will need your passport, your drivers license, and the credit card you made your reservation with to pick up your car.
- Inspect your car rental
In Italy an agent does not perform a walk through for damages, you are solely responsible to inspect the rental on your own. Make sure you take pictures of any damages you find. You do not want to be blamed and charged for damage that you have not caused. Additionally make sure the tank is on the level included in your rental contract. We experienced an issue with a rental agency because they claimed the tank was given to us full, when it was not.
We recommend checking the tank level with the car on. It doesn’t hurt to take a picture of the tank either. If the tank is not on the contractual level at the time of the rental, make sure you go back to the front desk and make the company aware.
P.S. Most of the tips mentioned here could be used for most international car rentals. We hope you enjoy your vacation!