Car rentals in Italy

Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 06:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2009
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Car rentals in Italy

I haven't been to Italy for 4 years but am planning to go back this Fall with some friends. This is definitely a driving vacation. One couple is insisting on reserving an automatic but this makes me nervous - my previous experience has been that this is iffy, ie nothing but sticks when you get to the rental counter.

We have a couple of months for them to practice their skills with a stick. Is the availability of automatics more of a sure thing now or should I be more emphatic about the risks?

Thanks for your advice.
MarcelWasRight is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 07:16 PM
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It really depends where you pick up. At major outlet your odds are very high--in a small town it can be iffy. But, you will pay about 30% more.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 07:27 PM
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As Bob says, in a highly visited area, the chances are good; elsewhere, no. I would go for a stick shift, anyway, because it cost so much less and you have more control when driving the car.
StCirq is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 10:16 PM
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I wouldn't fight with another driver about their preference and expect to enjoy a shared driving trip in Italy. If they are willing to pay the premium, get the automatic. I say that even though I'm a stickshift driver. An inexperienced stickshift driver won't feel like they have more "conrol" over the car. They'll just feel anxious, especially on hills.

If they want to practice for a couple months, you can revisit the decision then. Airports and major cities frequented by American tourists usually have automatics. If you are going to Le Marche, you might have a problem!
zeppole is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2009, 12:22 AM
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I sense a personality issue, but let's leave that to you.

Let's look at different scenarios and see if they are acceptable.

Automatic is available: most likely scenario. Everyone is happy.

Automatic is not available, but the couple learns how to drive stick. Is the personality of the couple such that they can accept the circumstances or will they ruin the trip because of the stick shift?

Automatic is not available, and the couple did not learn how to drive. Are you willing to or will they let YOU drive? (Are you a stick driver?) Is this a disaster scenario? Is there a public transit route alternative to at least help you move around? You should probably have at least a faint backup plan.

If, with a remote possibility, that you need to replace the automatic car, is it ok if the rental company can only give you a stick shift as a replacement car?

I have had to return a car early due to a mechanical problem and rather than getting a replacement, I decided to continue my trip on train since the remaining part of the trip could have just as well be done by train.
greg is online now  
Old Apr 24th, 2009, 10:39 AM
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Thanks for the advice. To clarify - my husband and I will have our own car (there are two non-drivers with us)and we will sometimes be traveling separately. We are very well acquainted with driving in Italy and certainly can see the advantages of a novice opting for an automatic. But the disaster scenario of no automatic available makes me uneasy. Our friends are reasonable people - I just wanted to make sure that the odds were favorable. We are picking up the cars in Pisa (airport.)
MarcelWasRight is offline  
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