The wife and I are planning a trip to France and Italy this September and we’re looking at renting a car for a few portions of our trip - mainly for countryside excursions. Any tips on what to watch out for, types of cars to stay away from, etc., or even towns to check out (currently we’re planning on driving from Paris to either the Loire Valley or the Bordeaux region, and also from Venice to Sienna and exploring that surrounding area). The rest of our travels we’re planning on flying and/or using public transit (mainly busy cities we don’t want to have to deal with a car in - Paris, Rome, maybe Florence.
A random bunch of thoughts/information I’ve found thus far, please add/correct if I might be missing something -
- You have to buy the CDW, liability, and theft insurance coverage from the rental agency for all cars rented in Italy. For France we’re hoping to go through the primary coverage on our Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card and decline any additional coverage through the agency. Any issues people have run into with this in France?
- Most rental cars appear to be manual (woohoo!). When selecting Auto specifically prices seem higher. Auto might be nice so wife can drive too, but realistically I know I’ll be doing most of the driving, and she probably won’t feel comfortable driving in a foreign place...so I’m thinking just getting a manual rental (more choices too).
- We don’t really care about car type - it’s just the two of us and our luggage, so a “mini” or “economy” category rental sounds like plenty - but there seem to be other categories that are not much more $$ - any suggestions of things to try getting or staying away from?
- For part of our trip we need to get from Venice to Siena in Tuscany and then plan to drive around the countryside for a few days. I was expecting a one-way rental to be costly, but it doesn’t seem to carry much of a price difference to rent & return in Sienna vs rent in Venice and drive to Sienna and return there at the end of our leg. I’ve mainly been looking at AutoEurope for quotes, and most forums online seem to recommend them very highly. The prices seem better than what I’m seeing through individual rental agencies and Kayak as well.
- We’re foregoing Cinque Terre because we’d rather not run around too much and that would add more complexity to getting around (and it sounds a bit too crowded and touristy for our liking) - any alternate beach towns to visit, especially those closer to the Siena area if you’ve got any recommendations would be awesome.
Any experiences folks have had or tips on things to watch out for would be appreciated!