Car rentals

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Apr 16th, 2011, 10:03 AM
  #1
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Car rentals

Will be going to Italy in October, flying into Rome, renting a car and spending a week in Positano and then driving to Tuscany region for a week, then back to Rome and home.
What car rental company gives reasonable rates and decent cars? I can drive a stick but would rather go automatic. The rates on line look pretty reasonable but what about extra charges?

Thanks,Mike
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Apr 16th, 2011, 10:29 AM
  #2
 
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We always use www.autoeurope.com to book our rentals.

We did the same trip in 2007 and used trains and public transit in Rome and Positano/Amalfi Coast and then picked our car up in Sorrento and drove to Tuscany.

Enjoy!
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Apr 16th, 2011, 02:42 PM
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In Italy we got better rates from economycarrentals.com than from Autoeurope or Kemwel. The rates of the former broker include no deductible.
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Apr 16th, 2011, 03:18 PM
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This may help, but I would think twice about a car in Positano.

DRIVING IN ITALY & SOUTHERN EUROPE

Q. SHOULD WE DRIVE IN ITALY?
A. Of course you should if your driving skill & confidence would allow you to drive a rental car in Vermont, Colorado or California. But, be advised of these tips:
* Avoid driving in the major cities except for picking up or dropping cars
* Have good maps—study them in advance—and have a GOOD NAVIGATOR.
* Stay in the right lane except when passing and use your rear view mirrors

Q. WHAT CAR SHOULD I GET AND WHERE DO I GET IT?
A. It is best to rent your car before you leave for Europe. The best source we have found is www.autoeurope.com [800-223-5555] who is a broker for several car vendors. They will quote you prices to include the variables that are often omitted by others, such as unlimited mileage, mandatory insurance coverage with some deductibles, and VAT taxes. It is wise to compare prices and coverage with their sister company at www.kemwel.com. Autoeurope will match any comparable quote, and are famous for their customer satisfaction if problems do arise with the vendor. The best model will depend on your needs, but for best value we suggest you select a compact car with manual transmission. Automatics are available but will cost you about 30% more and may limit your model options & pick up locations.

Q. ARE ITALIAN DRIVERS AS CRAZY AS I HAVE HEARD?
A. Yes & no! They are certainly aggressive, but they are also more skilled than many USA drivers—both are a function of necessity. Italy is one of the most crowded countries in the world and the drivers have evolved these characteristics
* They are notorious tailgaters. If that bothers you, pull over and let them past.
* On the AUTOSTRADE they will drive fast, but will stay in the right lane except when passing and will use their blinkers when passing—YOU SHOULD TOO !
* They will often pass on 2-lane roads with traffic coming. Frankly, they expect you, and the oncoming car, to adjust to the shoulder and make 3 lanes of traffic.

OTHER ROAD TIPS FOR YOUR DRIVING SANITY:
1. Learn the meaning of the sign “ SENSO UNICO” and take heed [ONE WAY ].
2. Be sure to get your ticket when you enter the AUTOSTADA system & be prepared to pay the toll when you exit it [ rule of thumb—300 km=15 Euro]. You can use your credit card in the VIA lane at the toll both, or buy a debit VIACARD in advance.
3. Do NOT attempt to follow road numbers—that will frustrate you. But, do pay attention to the directional signs that point to your destination [ TO MONTALCINO]. And, be aware if that road leads eventually to a larger city [ ROMA—SIENA ETC.]
4. Unless you have a diesel car, you will want to fill the tank with benzina from the green pump. Most stations will pump gas for you and will take credit cards.

NOTE: As of 2005, an International Drivers Permit[IDP] is required in Italy.
You can obtain them from your local AAA office. You will need a valid US driver’s license, two passport photos, and $15. The photos can be taken at the AAA office.
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Apr 16th, 2011, 03:46 PM
  #5
 
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Bob provides a lot of good information, but he makes it sound as if Autoeurope is the only good company out there. Autoeurope does not actually provide the cars, the rental companies do that. Autoeurope is not always the best; you need to investigate further before deciding. Do a google search of Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Sixt and other large companies before turning everything over to Autoeurope, Kemwell or another consolidator; the latter may offer a better deal than the rental companies but how do you know unless you check the websites for the companies, themselves? You can do a pretty thorough search online in an hour or so. If you rent through a consolidator and run into problems, you may have a hard time resolving them as the company and the consolidator pass the buck back and forth to each other, leaving you holding the bag. In any case, no matter who you go with, for Italy, get total CDW; in that country, the chances are good that the company will claim damages that come in just under the deductible.
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Apr 16th, 2011, 03:53 PM
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If you rent through a consolidator and run into problems, you may have a hard time resolving them as the company and the consolidator pass the buck back and forth to each other, leaving you holding the bag.

I have not experienced that with my one incident in Portugal, entirely my fault--but in that case, the credit card carried the CDW with no deduction.
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Apr 16th, 2011, 05:23 PM
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We have had good experiences with Hertz, renting in Rome, Florence and Orvieto
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Apr 17th, 2011, 01:05 AM
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Always use Avis. You must reserve an automatic if that's what you prefer. You won't find the same selections for automatics as you would in the US and my experience is that you can't just walk up to the counter and request one.
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Apr 17th, 2011, 05:23 AM
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AE will match any other valid offer, and they have resolved at least 4 problems for me with the actual vendor. BTW, they use Avis, Hertz, and Europcar as their providers, they just have a better contract than you can get.
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Apr 17th, 2011, 06:02 AM
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I have to echo Bob's experiences. Our trips (unless we're just doing a major city like Paris or Amsterdam) usually last for 3 weeks or more and we do lots of driving. AutoEurope has consistently given us the best rates, and - like Bob said - they are there if you need to resolve any problems once you get back home. AND if you are looking to make your arrangements well in advance, they will meet any lower prices that come up between the time you've made your arr. with them and the time you leave (e.g., meeting a lower price.) I always keep checking, but have never felt I messed up going with AutoEurope.

We're heading to Italy this Fall too. In fact, I need to give AutoEurope a call as I want to decide where we'll train to after 6 nights in Rome, on our way to a weekly rental near Spoleto
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Apr 17th, 2011, 09:24 AM
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And I have always been able to beat Auto Europe's rates, using the same major providers. Go figure. I'm a rather committed deal finder, though.
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Apr 17th, 2011, 10:02 AM
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Autoeurope obviously has a lot of fans on these boards, but it is not perfect and is not always the best bet. Do your research instead of turning things over to any vendor and hoping for the best. For reasons why from a travel writer's perspective see http://www.francerevisited.com/main/...s-hertz-budget
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Apr 17th, 2011, 12:41 PM
  #13
 
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Interesting article. I rented last summer through Kemwel, and was overcharged by Europcar. I did not get satisfaction until I called the Europcar franchise in Périgueux. Kemwel was claiming that for some reason national Europcar did not have the paperwork from Périgueux. But three months later, Kemwel sent me a check for my troubles. The upshot was that I paid less than the anticipated RR station pick-up fee and the road tax. I still would go with Kemwel because on the front end they were very helpful when for some reason my car reservation was canceled in CDG, although part of the problem is that the Kemwel representatives in the States are not very familiar with French geography so that logical pick-up and drop-off sequences become meaningless to them.
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