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Renting a Car in Italy

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Feb 25th, 2013, 06:26 PM
  #1
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Renting a Car in Italy

Hi:

Was looking for some advice on renting a car in Italy. Flying to Rome from Barcelona and I realize we will not need (and do not want) to drive in Rome. But we are planning on heading down to Positano and then somewhere in Calabria, probably Tropea, and I was wondering if you guys think it would be best to drive. I think it would be fun and also would get to check out Reggio Calabria a bit more (my family is from there). Any information about renting would be appreciated. If we rented from Rome would we be able to drop the car off in a different city? Or would we need to bring it back to Rome? We will probably fly home from Rome so that is not a problem but I just am double checking. Is it difficult to navigate? Has anyone made a similar drive? I have never rented a car outside of North America before.

Thank you!
chefguy is offline  
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Feb 25th, 2013, 06:43 PM
  #2
 
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A general recommendation would be to go to www.kemwel.com for the rental, especially if it is a one-way rental. I've used http://www.economycarrentals.com/ in Sicily, Turkey and Poland with no problems. However, this assumes a return to the same location for a competitive price against Kemwel. Their full coverage (no deductible) insurance works somewhat like the credit card coverage: you pay for the damages and then file for the refund. Since I had no damage on any of the cars I rented, I cannot say how much of a pain that might or might not be.
Michael is online now  
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Feb 25th, 2013, 06:59 PM
  #3
 
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This may help---note last paragraph.
You can return anywhere in Italy.


DRIVING IN ITALY & SOUTHERN EUROPE

Q. SHOULD WE DRIVE IN ITALY?
A. Of course you should if your driving skill & confidence would allow you to drive a rental car in Vermont, Colorado or California. But, be advised of these tips:
* Avoid driving in the major cities except for picking up or dropping cars
* Have good maps—study them in advance—and have a GOOD NAVIGATOR.
* Stay in the right lane except when passing and use your rear view mirrors

Q. WHAT CAR SHOULD I GET AND WHERE DO I GET IT?
A. It is best to rent your car before you leave for Europe. The best source we have found is www.autoeurope.com [800-223-5555] who is a broker for several car vendors. They will quote you prices to include the variables that are often omitted by others, such as unlimited mileage, mandatory insurance coverage with some deductibles, and VAT taxes. It is wise to compare prices and coverage with their sister company at www.kemwel.com. Autoeurope will match any comparable quote, and are famous for their customer satisfaction if problems do arise with the vendor. The best model will depend on your needs, but for best value we suggest you select a compact car with manual transmission. Automatics are available but will cost you about 30% more and may limit your model options & pick up locations.

Q. ARE ITALIAN DRIVERS AS CRAZY AS I HAVE HEARD?
A. Yes & no! They are certainly aggressive, but they are also more skilled than many USA drivers—both are a function of necessity. Italy is one of the most crowded countries in the world and the drivers have evolved these characteristics
* They are notorious tailgaters. If that bothers you, pull over and let them past.
* On the AUTOSTRADE they will drive fast, but will stay in the right lane except when passing and will use their blinkers when passing—YOU SHOULD TOO !
* They will often pass on 2-lane roads with traffic coming. Frankly, they expect you, and the oncoming car, to adjust to the shoulder and make 3 lanes of traffic.

OTHER ROAD TIPS FOR YOUR DRIVING SANITY:
1. Learn the meaning of the sign “ SENSO UNICO” and take heed [ONE WAY ].
2. Be sure to get your ticket when you enter the AUTOSTADA system & be prepared to pay the toll when you exit it [ rule of thumb—300 km=15 Euro]. You can use your credit card in the VIA lane at the toll both, or buy a debit VIACARD in advance.
3. Do NOT attempt to follow road numbers—that will frustrate you. But, do pay attention to the directional signs that point to your destination [ TO MONTALCINO]. And, be aware if that road leads eventually to a larger city [ ROMA—SIENA ETC.]
4. Unless you have a diesel car, you will want to fill the tank with benzina from the green pump. Most stations will pump gas for you and will take credit cards.

NOTE: As of 2005, an International Drivers Permit[IDP] is required in Italy.
You can obtain them from your local AAA office. You will need a valid US driver’s license, two passport photos, and $22. The photos can be taken at the AAA office.
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Feb 25th, 2013, 07:07 PM
  #4
 
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Do you plan to stay a few days in Positano? You could train from Rome and pick up the car in either Salerno or Sorrento.

The brokers www.kemwel.com and www.autoeurope.com usually have the best prices. You have to be careful selecting pick-up/drop-off locations. They book companies such as Hertz, Avis, Europcar, etc. When you select locations, you can't select a Hertz pick-up address and an Avis drop-off address or it will say not available. Match Hertz to Hertz, Avis to Avis, etc.
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Feb 28th, 2013, 05:20 AM
  #5
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thanks guys. kybourbon I think that would be the best option. thank you for the advice.
chefguy is offline  
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Feb 28th, 2013, 06:18 AM
  #6
 
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All good advice, but let me mention that a lot of brokers will allow you to REQUEST a GPS, but not guarantee you get one. Trust the voice of experience on this one. Consider getting a GPS app for your smartphone if you have one.

Agree with waiting till you get to Sorrento to pick up the car. Driving in southern Italy is fairly simple if you're a reasonable competent driver.
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Feb 28th, 2013, 09:04 AM
  #7
 
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Agree--rent the car near Positano--either in Sorrento or Salerno. There should not be a drop off charge for leaving it in Calabria if you book with Kemwell. If the agency tells you there is a charge when you pick up the car, pay it and Kemwell will refund the charge. (That was my experience when I picked up a car at an airport in Calabria and returned it in Sorrento last year).


There is a lot to see, and a lot of good food to sample (noting your screen name) en route from Amalfi Coast to Calabria. Specifically, the Cilento area of Campania, the area around Maratea (and inland Basilicata,, esp Matera) on south to Reggio. If you are looking for restaurant recommendations once you have your route planned, I might be able to help based on a couple of trips in the past few years. One place worth the possible (small) detour is La Locanda di Alia in Castrovillari, Calabria.
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Feb 28th, 2013, 09:05 AM
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Also: You should NOT return to Rome, but rather , fly home from Calabria, if at all possible.
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Feb 28th, 2013, 09:11 AM
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What time of year is your trip planned for? The road along the Amalfi coast is very narrow, very curvy, and notched into the hillside high above the sea. In summer this road gets very busy. On some curves tour buses can't get around in one try. They have to back up, the end of the bus hanging out in space, to make it around.

Also Positano is a very steep town with few streets and little parking. Expensive parking. I would delay renting your car until after your stay in Positano. Take a bus or a boat to Salerno and pick up your car there.

If you must have a car in Positano, make sure your hotel offers parking.
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Feb 28th, 2013, 01:44 PM
  #10
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Thank you. mimar - trip is going to be at the end of june. going to go the way we came back to salerno via and get the car there before venturing further south. Also took ekscurnchy's tip and am looking for compatible flights from calabria. not sure if it will work out (originally saw flights from rome for around 500 - pretty cheap). am now wondering if it will be worth it to perhaps pay the extra money and fly home from somewhere else, as opposed to paying to travel back to rome.
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Feb 28th, 2013, 02:16 PM
  #11
 
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chefguy, I think it is definitely worth trying to fly home from Calabria rather than double back to Rome. You can usually do an open jaw, or multi-city, when booking flights.
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