Rental Car (Automatic) in Italy

Old Jun 8th, 2006, 06:31 PM
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Rental Car (Automatic) in Italy

I will be traveling to Italy in October, and am having trouble finding a large rental car (preferably mini van) that is an automatic. So far only AutoEurope has one, but it's $2,800. for ten days. Very expensive. Does anyone know a company that might have an automatic mini van? Needs to fit 5 adults and their luggage. I've tried Hertz, Budget, Auto Europe, Europe by Car, Thrifty, Dollar and Gemut. Any ideas?
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 06:39 PM
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If you go to the Slow Travel website and click on Auto Europe's ads there, you will get a discount code to knock down some of the price.

But if I were you, I would wait and continue to shop around, and grab a sale when you find one.

I recently needed an automatic sedan in Europe for 10 days. Three different rental agencies (including AutoEurope) all quoted me rates around $1600. I didn't have time to book, so I called back the cheapest (Hertz) the next day. It was a sale day! I got the car for $1000.

You certainly have time to shop around and wait to see if you can catch a sale.

All rental costs seem to have gone up in the past year, and there may be others on this board who know tricks for getting the costs down. But if you are looking for an automatic that large, I wouldn't recommend waiting until you get to Italy to rent (which is how sometimes people get a lower rate).
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 07:39 PM
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Consider using the next three months to learn to use a stick shift to decrease your rental costs significantly.

Do any of the adults in your party already know how to drive a stick shift?
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 08:34 PM
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Problem with this is that most Italians drive manual vehicles and consider automatics only for disabled people hence the extra cost.
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 12:28 AM
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I was going to suggest trying National but since you've tried all the others that probably won't be any different. BTW which car company is AutoEurope directing you to?

I honestly think Betsy may have a good idea but if you cannot/will not do that then be prepared to assume the cost of the rental.

Good luck.
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 03:07 AM
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Try www.affordablecarrentals-italy.com

You may have to contact them by email.

Good luck.
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 03:26 AM
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Have you compared the cost of the van rental to renting 2 sedans to hold 5 adults? I only ask because having 2 sedans would give people more space (from each other) and would also enable groups of people to go in different directions if they didn't want to do the same things together! Just seems like the same amount of space but more flexibility...
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 03:49 AM
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I second bean.

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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 03:51 AM
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Taking two cars is a good idea but with one drawback.

When everyone wants to go to the same place (which may happen often) two cars will have to be taken and gasoline is really creeping up there.
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 09:29 AM
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I would definitely try to rent a manual shift to save money. And Bean may have a good idea about 2 small cars, but gas gets expensive. Is it five good sized adults? Do you think you could fit in a sedan? Non highway roads are small and parking is made for small cars. A minivan could be a problem.

good luck.
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 05:55 PM
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I question the financial wisdom -- and safety -- of trying to learn a manual transmission between now and October for at trip to Italy.

If you have a friend who will teach you for free and let you wear down his/her clutch learning, great! But the cost of paying someone to teach you would be better spent on an automatic rental.

But if you do learn -- or already know and only need a refresher-- you still might be happier and safer with an automatic. The main reason to have a car is to visit rural hilltowns and spectacular, off-the-beaten track views. In Italy, I have seen Italians stall out repeatedly trying to negotiate the steep, steep streets of hilltowns. You have to be able to react quickly on mountain and coastal roads in Italy to oncoming traffic.

I don't hear any stories of Americans in Italy having lots of car accidents, so I imagine lots of American tourists, who ordinarily drive automatics, do try to save several dollars a day by renting a stick for their Italian journeys.

But were I driving a group -- not just my husband, who is dispensable ;-) -- then I would go for the familiarity of an automatic, and console myself with the thought that for XX a day, the peace of mind is worth it.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 06:41 AM
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In weighing the one large rental car versus two small rental cars. You need to think about where you are going. Some parts of Italy (central intown locations, etc.) barely tolerate small cars. [European cars often have folding side view mirrors, so that you park the car more easily.] You might not be able to park a minivan in a lot places, and for $2,800 I think they are offering you a small bus (Merceds Sprinter probably).

Would two of your five adults have driven in taly before?
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 06:58 AM
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"If you have a friend who will teach you for free and let you wear down his/her clutch learning, great! "

It's not that bad - in certain parts of the world everyone learns to drive a manual car - and I don't think that means massive clutch replacement bills. The difficult patr of learning to drive a car is not changing gears - I think it could quite easily be accomplished in a weekend
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 07:03 AM
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Here in Spain everybody learns to drive with a manual car (only people with some disabilities , not all, are allowed to learn with an automatic).
Now they are beginning to low the prices, but only a few years ago an automatic car here was quite a luxury thing.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 08:45 AM
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Call a driving school and use their teacher, clutch and car.

Automatic transmissions take power (and take up room). In a small (1 liter or less) engine, buyers want all of the power that they can get. They don't want an automtic.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 10:50 AM
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Many driving schools don;t offer manual training - since almost everyone here drives automatic - except sports cars.

And while some people canlearn in a couple of lessons - some people can never learn at all after many years of driving an automatic.

And really, how much would it save - paying for lessons vs paying more for a van/cars - and being fully comfortble in the vehicle. (I think the new roads, rules etc are challenge enough for many people.)
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 11:12 AM
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"- some people can never learn at all after many years of driving an automatic."

I am very surprised by that statement - had no idea it was so difficult
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 11:26 AM
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The big van is $2,800 for ten days ($280 per Day). A pair of manual Alfas would total $1,350 for ten days ($675 each for ten days). So $2,800 less $1,350 is a savings of $1,450.

Versus lessons $50 per hour, two hours of lessons, total $100.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 11:32 AM
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The difference between a manual mini van and an automatic mini van (for ten days) is about a thousand dollars.
I browsed AutoEurope and the only automatic with the space the original posters needs is a Mercedes.

They really should consider splitting their group into two cars.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 05:24 PM
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Hi everyone,

it's not "just" the difference between manual and automatic...it's the INSURANCE. Italy has one of the highest rates anywhere in Europe when it comes to car rental.

Regards,

Melodie
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