Rental Car for Tuscany

Old Oct 27th, 2005, 06:26 AM
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Rental Car for Tuscany

My wife and I plan to stay a few nights in Florence and then drive through Tuscany on our way to Rome.

My question is...is it better to reserve the rental car while in the U.S. before embarking on our trip(we live in Chicago), or wait until we arrive in Florence? Is there a difference in cost? In service?

Alos, should we get a compact car? I heard that some of the roads are very narrow.

Thanks
tonykim is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2005, 06:45 AM
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Yes and yes.
Look at Autoeurope.com but book via the phone at 800-223-5555. I try to book 30 days in advance.
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 06:56 AM
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Bob's right on. It's less expensive to rent from the US. If you use AE, you'll pay in USD, avoiding any exchange rate variations. Also, zero deductible insurance is included in their quote. It's less expensive on a per day basis to rent for a week, so see if your itinerary can accommodate that time period.

You heard correctly. Get a compact car with stick shift. Stick is less expensive and much more widely available than automatic. Also, request a diesel because the mileage is better than non-diesel.

Pick your car up as you LEAVE Florence. You won't need it in the city. Driving out of Florence into the Tuscan countryside is easy. Two left turns and a right to cross the river and you're on your way to the autostrada.

Here's a suggestion: instead of dropping your car off in Rome, drop it off in Orvieto and spend the night there. It's a wonderful hilltop city. Then take the train into Rome. You won't need a car in Rome and can avoid driving there.
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 08:10 AM
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Absolutely, use AutoEurope. I rented through them for our last trip. They placed us with Europcar. There were mechanical problems with the car and Europcar told me to drive it until in broke down then they would replace. They told me this while I was standing at their counter in Brindisi.

I called AutoEurope on their international toll free line and within ten minutes Europcar produced a replacement for me. When you are not fluent in a language, it's nice to have somebody on your side who will actually help. Cannot praise them enough, and to top it all off they were over $200 cheaper than Hertz et al.
 
Old Oct 27th, 2005, 08:18 AM
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Another vote for AutoEurope. We always use them. They cover you with all of the insurance in their prices. The others don't include them and the charge extra. They are excellent.
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 08:20 AM
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Here's another vote for autoeurope and renting a diesel -- just don't forget to fill the tank with diesel, not "high test" -- right maitaitom?
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 08:36 AM
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We've just returnwd from Florence/Tuscany and rented in advance with Autoeurope. They had the best rate (when I found a slightly cheaper online rate with Avis - Autoeurope matched it just on my say so). We had a compact car for two of us and it was great (though we had to fill the back seat with luggage as there was very little trunk sapce) - it was a new Smartcar for Four "Passion" four door and it had good mileage and pick-up on the highways. One tip - if you both want to be drivers on the car, and I imagine you do for greater flexibility, ask Autoeurope to book you with Auto-Europa as they do not charge for the additional driver (the other companies do). Also, if either of you are worried about driving in Tuscany don't be - it is no different than driving in the countryside anywhere else. There are good road signs and all you need is a decent map (we used Micehlin's Toscana road map). The only place you'd encounter narrow streets is right in the middle of smaller towns but you never have to drive there as there are lots of parking lots/spaces before you get into the Centro Storico (downtown). Have fun!
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 08:37 AM
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>>If you use AE, you'll pay in USD, avoiding any exchange rate variations. Also, zero deductible insurance is included in their quote.<<

Normally, AE will want about half (in USD) when you reserve the car, and the remainder (in Euros - paid to Europcar, or whomever they choose to set you up with) when you return the car. If you want to avoid the currency conversion fees on the Euros charge, tell AutoEurope that you want to pay the entire rental in advance in USD.
AutoEurope will protect you from exchange rate variations (that are not in your favor), by guaranteeing a refund for the loss of the USD buying power.

Insurence (zero deductible) is required in Italy, but not in France & most other European countries. If you get a quote for a rental in France, there is a W & W/O insurance rate.

All the above was AutoEurope's policies in the past - no guarantee that they will be the policies in the future.


Stu Dudley

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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 09:19 AM
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Interesting, Stu. I've never been given the option with AE of paying half in USD and half in Euro, but their policies may vary for different countries and different agencies that they use. I just always pay up front in USD. They're great about any adjustments if you shorten or extend your rental, too.

A quick heads up: All the rental agencies charge a daily "road fee" or "road tax" or something similar in name. It's usually less than two Euro per day. This fee is paid in Euro at the agency at the end of your rental. It's an "add on" but not restricted to just AE.
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 06:50 AM
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Nova Rentacaris also excellent--www.novarentacar.com. We've used both Nova and Autoeurope with good results. Compare prices.

We were happy to have an automatic transmission some of the places we drove. Costs more, but it was worth it to us.
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 07:28 AM
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For our recent rentals we paid in full on our credit cards when booking the cars with Autoeurope. The only thing we paid upon picking up the car in Italy was the road tax, approx. 14 euro for the week.
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 09:54 AM
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"just don't forget to fill the tank with diesel, not "high test" -- right maitaitom?"

That's correct Budman. It is a day that will forever live in infamy.
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