Needing expertise travel advice

Feb 8th, 2006, 02:38 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 4
Thank you thank you to everyone. What great advise. New to this site only been reading posts for 2 weeks already becoming addicted.
To clear a few things up: Flying out of Boston July 7 returning July 23 have not booked airfare yet still determining which will be best route.

I contacted Autoeurope and spoke to someone and they quoted me 2,700.00 for an automatic. That's why I was trying to get a better rate. I will check into all the sites you all recommended. I also like the idea of flying into London for my husband that's huge (english speaking airport)
He's very out of his box worried about everything.

I agree with everyone driving from Nice to Arezzo is instane.

Thanks RED
redred6 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2006, 04:41 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,577
Ah, you didn't mention that you wanted an automatic transmission. Unfortunately, they are more expensive than the manual transmission. I'd keep checking around, I think you can find a better price without your TA.
cls2paris is offline  
Feb 8th, 2006, 05:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,405
Hi red,

I think part of your problem is that you require an automatic. Is there any way you and your husband can learn to drive a manual transmition? It will be a lot cheaper. Have a great time.
yipper is offline  
Feb 8th, 2006, 06:25 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,403
Yes, Red,

Needing an automatic is a key piece of info you left out. Big difference. No I'm not surprised at the rates you are quoted, but I also think you can still do better. Dump the TA.
Dayle is offline  
Feb 8th, 2006, 06:39 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 197
<<I too don't have confidence in your TA. Most TAs don't use, because they don't get commision.>>

You really should check your facts before you pass on erroneous information. Auto Europe pays travel agents commission. Our agency uses them all the time and they are a terrific company
mulifat is offline  
Feb 8th, 2006, 07:02 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 17,226
I have no faith in your TA either. That Day 1 schedule is unbelievably crazy. You could do much better on your own with research from this board.

Has you TA ever been to (much less driven) the area you are visiting? It doesn't sound like it.
starrsville is offline  
Feb 8th, 2006, 07:14 PM
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Posts: 6,098
Even with automatic, the 9 people van is quoted as $1500 for 14 days at novarentacar.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Feb 8th, 2006, 08:23 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,215
Great researching RufusTFirefly. I will look into the same site for my rental - thanks!
KathrynT is offline  
Feb 9th, 2006, 04:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
In all the places you check rental costs, make sure that the insurance provided is roughly equivalent. They will all provide the same coverage, but some may include less in the base cost and require that you buy down any exclusions/deductables. They might still be the better deal, but you want to be sure you're comparing Stayman Winesaps to Stayman Winesaps.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Feb 9th, 2006, 05:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,118
When you find a better deal elsewhere, give AutoEurope a chance to better it.

If they can't, they will tell you why.

ira is offline  
Feb 9th, 2006, 09:03 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 565
When you rent a van, be really careful what vehicle you are getting. In 2000 in Germany, and 2001 in Italy we or family members rented a 9 seater van and ended up with some model of Fiat which seated 9, but was like a bus (you could stand up in it). It was about the size of the van used by dial-a-ride or a retirement home. We traded ours for a Volvo station wagon. Anyhow, you really don't want this behemoth.

In European vans there is much less luggage room. Looking at the fleet on the Hertz and Avis sites, for Italy they each show a 9 seat Ford Combi van with manual transmission. They show that there is room for 1 large suitcase and 2 small ones, so if you rent something that size, you'll all need to bring just small duffles or your luggage won't fit. On two lane roads in Tuscany this vehicle will seem large. Often there is no shoulder and very few turnouts, and Italian drivers will be impatient to get past you. Further, parking will be difficult almost wherever you go.

So a final question, are you really committed to this villa near Arezzo (you might be more specific about its locaton) where presumably you'll need a car? For the cost to rent a van and gas you could take a lot train rides. I'm sure people on this board could suggest weekly rentals, in say the Riviera di Levante or Lucca, where you wouldn't be in a big city, and could use trains to get around easily. The teenage members of the group would probably be happy to be somewhere they didn't have to be on top of Mom & Dad 24/7. Also, what city or cities are you potentially flying from in the U.S., so people could make alternative suggestions about flight arrangements.
lovisa is offline  
Feb 9th, 2006, 02:32 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 90
We travelled through Europe last year with four children. I ordered a vw sharan but ended up with an Opal (huge!). I panicked, since I was doing the driving, standard none the less, plus I knew we would be driving in the mountains (I have a terrible case of vertigo--probably stemming back to a family trip with a crazy father driving in the alps....). They had nothing else. The car had pluses and minuses. It was absolutely fabulous in the space department (Ithink we could have fit a soccer team in it). This meant that my angels did not have to touch each other ....It was also great for the luggage storage. We could access bags without having to rearrange everything (as we did in a much smaller van in Scotland). The drawback was parking the beast. We had an incident in France where my everloving better half told me that for sure we could fit in an underground parking garage.....We ended up taking about 15min (I only drive standard in Europe....)to back up the hill out of the garage with about 15 cars starting to get slightly impatient.
I had checked with my credit card company about coverage before we left. Be careful because they do not consider a 9 passenger van, a people mover, as they call them in Europe. They would only cover up to a seven seater (which are no where near as large as our north american vans).
We booked over the internet with Nova Rentacar. We paid approx 60Euros a day. I was extremely impressed with them because we had an issue with a wheel rim. We picked up the car at 12:00am in the dark with tired kranky kids, and of course I did not check as well as I should have. I contacted nova asking them for details my insurance company had asked for(the cracked wheel rim was going to cost just about as much as our rental). Two weeks later I received a note from them saying that they had not received the information in a timely manner and that they would take care of it. It can't get better than that.
Good Luck!
mom04 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2006, 09:41 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 30

Don't fret. We're doing the same thing. A brand-spankin' new Automatic Peugeot 407 is costing us $1563 for 23 days via the Peugeot buy-back lease program. (
We're picking up in Nice and dropping in Rome (April 17-May 10) with no additional drop off charges or the insane insurance rates mandatory in Italy.

All the Fodorite's are right, however, on trying to drive to Portofino for lunch on the same day you arrive in Nice. NO! NO! It's about 400 km from Nice to Firenze and then maybe another 90 minutes to Arezzo. It'll take about 5 hours to reach Firenze, if you stay on the autostrada (and significantly longer if you take the scenic coast road). Maybe you could reach Portofino for lunch in 3 hrs. if you push...but is that what vacations are all about?

Do yourself a favor and spend your first day in Nice and then take a leisurely drive to Portofino (or SML) for lunch the following day. I also recommend staying overnight around the Cinque Terre. Don't rush it, girl. Italy's not going anywhere...and your kids'll love the CT.

Enjoy the trip...and don't worry about your hubby. Driving in France and Italy are no worse than any major city and the sites are you can stop anywhere and just love it (and you'll need that flexibility with 4 kids).

Buon viaggio.
tenderfoot is offline  

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