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How far in advance should I reserve car rental and other car related questions?

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May 26th, 2004, 05:46 PM
  #1
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How far in advance should I reserve car rental and other car related questions?

Now the car questions.

How far in advance should I reserve a car?

One HUGE problem I see is that automatics are more expensive. I haven't driven a stick shift in years and my 79 year old father, g-d bless him, is awful in an automatic as it is. Not sure about my mother. Dad really wants automatic. I have done searches and the cars are not like they are here in the US. They are smaller. We pretty much need a 4 door as my dad is a bit portly and it is not a pretty sight watching him maneuver in and out of a 2 door into and out of a back seat. (Even the front seat is a problem.)

What type of car would be best? Obviously not a compact and I don't think there are too many compact automatics in Italy.

Also, (here we go again), what SHOULD I expect to pay? (10 days or so).

Eager to hear.
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May 26th, 2004, 05:49 PM
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Any particular country you are planning to rent this car in? . . it makes a lot of difference in answering your questions.

Rich
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May 26th, 2004, 05:56 PM
  #3
rex
 
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All of the posts from PLMN talk about a trip to Italy.

Reserve it now. Use autoeurope.com or shop around (plenty of threads on this - - search autoeurope)

Might as well lay out the bad news - - you can get what you want, and it might end up costing you $700 to $1400 for ten days. Maybe try to reduce your need to seven days? Day eight /nine/ten are never a bargain, just like days one/two/three. Days six and seven are essentially free.

Best wishes,

Rex
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May 26th, 2004, 05:58 PM
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From my experience the time to rent the car is when you can lock in a good price (I recall here at home I didn't and within a week the price rose about $75 for a week). Both in England and Germany I rented an automatic (cannot drive a stick) and usually it was about $100 more per week. I ask for economy and, as I recall, got a 4-door, at least in Germany. I've rented 2x from Auto Europe and that was the best price. If memory serves, it cost approx. $800 for a month in Germany but that was in 1996 and I know it's cheaper to rent long term. Hope this helps somewhat.
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May 26th, 2004, 06:03 PM
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Sorry, I should have specified this would be for a trip to Italy.

October. I should really get on this now for October?

We will depart US on Oct 3, with arrival on Oct 4. Three nights in Rome for which we won't need a car. The we want a car for the 7th to be returned on the 16th. That would be 10 days. From another post I saw that we should probably pick-up the car at Borghese & Via Veneto? (Our hotel is the Albergo Cesari.)

We will need to return the car in a city other than Rome. We have been thinking of departing out of Florence, so we could return the car at the airport there.
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May 26th, 2004, 06:14 PM
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It's not critical to rent a car far in advance, but it makes things easier. If too far ahead, then you should keep checking every week or so ( and don't tell them first you have a reservation) and often the price drops and they can adjust that. With the euro the way it is now, cars are not cheap.....but we ALWAYS have a car for the convenience. I thinks most ALL are 4 door, so no worry there.....a mid size Ford Mondeo or similar is a good size. Will there be three or 4 of you. You may want a larger size for comfort. AutoEurope (or Europe Car, I get them mixed up)are brokers and pick the lowest rate for a country. Keep in mind that cars in Italy are higher than in other countries because of the insurance they REQUIRE> . I think if you use Mastercard you can get a letter from the MC office saying you are covered.
We have always had manual and did fine, but this year we got an automatic and it was one thing less to worry about,..and worth the almost $200 difference for two weeks.
Yes, 10 days would be more costly than 12 days (5 days constitutes a week, I think)... We often use Hertz and get AAA rate, or senior...or other discounts. ANd some people like Avis etc.
Call around....but we like to prepay, and have the voucher IN HAND when we walk up to the desk at the airport in the foreign country (they DO add on airport tax, gas , and perhaps another thing. But just "keep on top of your charges". How many drivers will you have? Having just One is cheaper!
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May 26th, 2004, 06:20 PM
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Rex makes a good point about 7 days versus 10 . . depending on how long you want to spend in Florence, maybe you could whittle down the days to 7?

You sure do not need ( or want ) a car in Florence. You could return it at the airport or in the town, near the train station. I rented once in Rome, drove along the coast northward for a while then on to the Chanti region for a couple of days, dropping the car off downtown Florence. If you have a good map it is easy to do . .

I always used Hertz but they seem to "subcontract" to AutoEurope . . just made it easier to work with a US corp. ( I was living in Eurpope at the time )

You will definately pay more for an automatic . . they just don't have as many of them. I always get by fine in Eurpoe with a standard shift . . it is what I "grew up" driving.

But if that is what you need, then it's what you need. Just know you will pay about a 50% premium.

Hope this is helpfull . . Rich
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May 26th, 2004, 06:35 PM
  #8
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Dear Rich and mari3,

Thank you for the helpful advice.

We will be in Rome the 3 nights, then have 2 nights to spend traveling about towards our rental in Cortona. I think it would be best to do the train from Cortona to visit Florence.

I thought we should have three drivers. How much more is that usually?
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May 26th, 2004, 08:35 PM
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We have used Auto Europe (based in Portland , Maine and they have 24 hour customer service), Hertz, and someuse Avis. There are others....but in calling these three and giving them the dates and size you can usually come up with something concrete.

In calling around this spring I found that most have an upper age limit of 70 to 75....one was unlimited, but I forget which one. Even if your father is a young 79, you would want to check with the rental companies.(and I understand Italy driving is sometimes "tricky".We have driven in every country in Europe but chose not to drive in Italy (except for one day rental in Tuscany, and that was a breeze)
As I said, Auto Europe will work with you and find the least expensive...but you must pay part before and the remainder when you pick up. I was able to completely prepay this year with them,....but you have to ask these things. Most car rental places have gracious representatives on the phone...and if not..then hang up kindly and call back to get another one.
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May 26th, 2004, 09:18 PM
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Okay, something registered with me so that I thought you were traveling in June. Reserve 3-6 weeks ahead.
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Jun 1st, 2004, 03:08 AM
  #11
 
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I have used Nova several times and have always been satisfied with their service and rates .. in sicily last week paid €35 a day --- check them out!
rentacar-europe.com/italy/
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Jun 1st, 2004, 03:18 AM
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I may be reading this too quickly or too early but were you planning on having your 79 yr old father as one of the drivers?

I think you'll find most if not all rental companies will not allow this.Some require your birthdate before you can even find the prices on their websites!
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Jun 1st, 2004, 03:44 AM
  #13
 
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We are flying into Rome on June 19th and want to go to Sorrento where we have a hotel booked for the week. Our question is whether or not to rent a car for the trip or to take the train to Naples and on to Sorrento by ferry. There are 6 of us and we fly out of Rome on the 26th. Please give us advice as we surely need it.
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Jun 1st, 2004, 03:53 AM
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Dear Jody,

Yes, my father is 79 and as far as I know was planning on driving a bit. Sounds like age discrimination to me.

As it happens, my father is a terrible driver, always has been a terrible driver. Not just as he got older. So perhaps this will be a good thing for my mother and I.

I hope someone can give mesta an answer to his/her question.
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Jun 1st, 2004, 04:05 AM
  #15
 
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Yes, try Nova. I (and others on this board) found that they can sometimes have the best price. They also didn't charge extra for 1 other driver. Just keep checking prices - if you see a good one, reserve it. You could always cancel it if you find a better one later (and they won't match it).
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Jun 1st, 2004, 07:33 AM
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Most rental companies in europe will not allow drivers over 70 - and many don;t allow those under 25. Yes - it is age discrimination - but it helps keep the rates down for everyone else - and reduces the number of corpses on the highways. (And my dad always has been and still is a very good driver - not a sinlge accident in all his years of driving - and I would never consider letting him drive in Italy - even if he wanted to try - which he is much too sensible to do.) Driving in europe is not like in the US - speeds are much higher - 100 average on highways - and a fairly high level of expertise is required. A bad driver from the US would be fatal in europe - where conditions and other drivers are much less forgiving.)
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Jun 1st, 2004, 07:37 AM
  #17
rex
 
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It's somewhat crazy for mesta to think that attaching her question to this already lengthy thread is a good way to get an answer. Maybe doesn't understand about posting a new message?

In any event, if the goal is simply one-way travel from Rome to Naples to catch a ferry, then no, this would likely not be a good use of car rental.

But why ferry? A car rental WOULD be an approppriate choice if the goal is to drive straight to Sorrento - - have the car while there and drive back.
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Jun 4th, 2004, 08:57 AM
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I would rent at least 2 months in advance because you need an automatic. If you wait, they may not have any available at the site you wish to pick up from. I am leaving for Italy in 2 weeks. I have rented a four door automatic (small Mercedes, think Ford Focus) from Hertz with the MAXIMUM insurance for 6 days. With my AAA discount it comes to $504. That was a little less than others when I was shopping around. Hope this is helpful!
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Jun 4th, 2004, 09:14 AM
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I have used Autoeurope several times and found them to have the best prices. I have usually checked their prices early and then watch for a sale. They seem to have monthly sales for various discounts. I'd suggest checking their price now for the automatic, mid-size car and then monitor that price on theirs, and other, websites. You might look into one of the small mini-vans for size. They seat five and might be easier for your dad to get in and out of. They are smaller than the mini-vans here. Maybe you've done all that already. If I recall, it is about $10/day for each additional driver. My memory isn't clear on that. Sounds like a fun trip!
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Jun 4th, 2004, 09:23 AM
  #20
 
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We've arranged for an automatic mid-sized car in Ireland in August for around US 690 for 8 days through Auto Europe.
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