Car Hire throughout Europe

While on holiday you need a reliable car hire and rental service

We represent quality companies like Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar, Sixt. In Britain alone we represent 6 different companies and as part of our car hire and rental service, we will match you up with the company that best suits your needs.

Click here for Car Rental FAQ Section

Car Hire Article - watchpoints when renting
Car Hire Article - the "lingo" explained
Car Hire Article - should you rent or lease a car
Car Hire Article - read more - general information

For complicated itineraries, personalised service or any questions - click here


Frequently Asked Questions

Here you find questions and answers about car hire in the UK and Europe.

Q: I have an Australian Drivers Licence. Do I need an International Drivers Licence ?
A: It is recommended but not compulsory. However if travelling to Eastern Europe, we would strongly recommend you get one. Also read the fineprint on your invoice as conditions do change from time to time.

Q: If I have booked to return the car in Paris and I find I want to return it in Calais - can I do this?
A: Call ahead to the depot where you are due to return the car and ask them to arrange this for you. If it is within the same country, there generally wont be a charge - unless you have a minibus where some companies charge for an intra-country one way. If you want to return it to another country, there will definitely be a charge.

Q: If I am running late or held up in traffic, will the rental company penalize me ?
A: Generally, most companies will give you an hours grace.

Q: I am 79 years of age. Will they rent to me and will they charge any extra ?
A: If any driver is under 25 or over 70, we strongly suggest you let us know so that we can clarify the conditions at time of booking as it does vary from company to company.

Q:I did not list a second driver but I have had too much of that great French wine - can my mate drive me home ?
A: Don't risk it! If you did not register the driver they will not be covered by insurance if they have an accident.

Q: I have heard that I will spend a fortune in toll fees. Is this true ?
A: Toll roads are not compulsory. You are free to use the roads which generally run alongside the highway/autobahn/autostrade. Tollroads are, however, the quickest way to get from point A to point B. You can log on to and calculate the cost of the tolls.

Car Hire: The 'Lingo' explained

With car rental, there are so many different companies around. Unfortunately though, the inclusions and exclusions are not all standardised so it is difficult to compare. So if you have looked at a couple of rates and some stand out as almost 'too good to be true' then it often can be. It really pays to look at the fine print to ensure that you are comparing 'apples with apples'.

An airport surcharge: If you pick up at an airport. Does not apply if you return at an airport.

A premium location fee: Some companies charge this if you pick up in certain areas in London

Additional driver fee: If you want to cover a second driver. Often charged 'per additional driver'

Young driver fee: Often charged if the driver is under 25 years of age

Road Tax or Road Registration fee: A fee charged per day to cover government charges

CDW: Stands for Collision Damage Waiver as is a misnomer as it does not actually 'waive' the fee but reduces it to roughly AUD$750 / GBP500 / Euro 750

CDW Reduction or Excess Reduction Waiver: Where you pay a fee per day to reduce your excess to a lower amount or nil.

Theft Protection: Often called "TPW" or Theft Protection Waiver. Again a misnomer as it does not 'waive' the charge if your hire car is stolen. There still is an excess to pay if the car is stolen.

Theft Protection Reduction or Waiver: Where you pay a fee per day, to reduce or waive excess

London Congestion Charge: When you drive through central London between 0700 and 1830hrs Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays), This also applies to hire cars , so if planning to drive through central London, ensure you ask about the procedures in place when collecting your car.

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Car Hire: Watchpoints when Renting

  • Be careful to note if extras eg. additional driver fees are per day or per rental.  The difference can be substantial.
  • Be aware of the rental company's petrol policy.  Some companies charge you for the first tank of petrol and expect you to return it empty.  Others give you a full tank and expect it back full and if you don't return it full and it needs refilling, expect to pay a hefty premium on the normal petrol price.
  • When you hire a car, you are always requested to leave a credit card imprint which they will use to charge your card if you have any, extras to pay. If you do not have a credit card advise them when booking as your booking may not be accepted. 
  • Bearing in mind that they have a signed authority to charge your card, check the car very carefully for damage or scratches and have it noted on the contract before you drive away. If you return the car with any damage, the car rental company is entitled to charge your card for damages. Do also check the car when you are returning it and get it noted on the contract  that there is no damage  before you leave.
  • Familiarise yourself with the inclusions and exclusions of your rental and also whether or not your travel insurance policy covers .Rental vehicle insurance excess. Some rental agents may intimate that you really need to take their extra insurance because you will have an excess if you have an accident or damage the vehicle when in fact you may already be covered by your travel insurance policy.
  • They may also offer you an upgrade to a larger car. Ascertain if this is a free upgrade or one which you actually have to pay for !  
  • Free insurance on your credit card ? Check to see if they expect you to take out the highest level of Waiver BEFORE they will cover your excess / deductible
  • Lastly, should you decide that you wish to extend your car rental period - be very careful. If you extend directly with that rental company, nine times out of ten, you will be charged nearly double what you paid in the first place! You have two options:  One you can try and negotiate a rate with the rental company, asking them if they will extend at the rate you paid on that rental.  Should they agree, I suggest in the strongest terms, that you get the agreement in writing and get the employee to sign and date it, making sure their name is legible. Believe me, this advice comes from years of having to tell people, that our contract ended the day they were due to return the car as per our voucher and that they are responsible for the extension and that there is nothing we can do to help.  

    The second option is to contact the agent or company you booked with back in Australia, by email, fax or phone quoting your current rental details and ask them if they can organise the extension for you.  Some car rental companies allow the extension or you can even ask for a new rental for the additional days and pay by credit card.  Try and allow at least 4 or 5 days notice if you can. Last - minute extensions or last-minute new bookings take up a lot of extra time and attention and someone who is really busy may just say 'no' to avoid the time-consuming work.


The above points pertain to car rental or car hire. They do not apply to car leasing.

With car leasing it is different. Everything is covered. No insurance or excess if you damage the car etc and if you wish to extend your lease, you can do so by contacting the Paris head office of the leasing company.  They will arrange the extension for you.  It cannot be done in Australia.  However, they too will charge you more than you paid in Australia.

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Car Hire: Read More - General Information

Everything you need to know about Car Hire or Rental in the UK and Europe.

The most popular mode of independent travelling but I can just hear the comment: "But we are too scared of driving on the wrong side of the road and the steering wheel is also on the wrong side !"

If you are used to driving a car every day, it is second nature. Remember when you first started driving and were so nervous about changing gears? Now you are not even aware of changing gears. So after a couple of hours of being 'conscious' of using the other hand to change gears, you will soon get into the rhythm of it.

Just go slowly until you are confident. Funnily enough, the fact that you are driving on the 'wrong' side of the road is made easier by having the steering wheel on the left. Think about it, thousands of British cross the channel each year and drive in Europe and vice versa. Think positively!! If they can do it, so can you!

Of course, if you're still really nervous, you could rent an automatic car. In Europe, the majority of cars are manual and if you do decide on an automatic, the cost will be higher than the equivalent size manual vehicle. In the USA, the opposite happens. Most cars are automatic and you will be hard pressed to find a manual or 'stick shift' as they call it.

When you're thinking of renting a car, you are often presented with a choice of 3 or more companies. Sometimes what appears to be the lowest priced often turns out to be the most expensive.

Some of the things you should consider and compare before choosing a car rental company would be:

* Should you be renting or leasing?
* What extras do you have to pay?
* Can you take the car into Eastern Europe?
* Which companies allow drivers under 25 or over 75 without a surcharge?
* Is the airport fee included or do you have to pay extra?
* Can you have 2 extra drivers?
* Are there road taxes or vehicle licensing fees to be paid?

A "DID YOU KNOW" about Car Hire or Rental......because we sure do!

* In Germany, the fee for collecting your car at the airport is 19% of your total hire charge - but that there are companies that include this so choose one of them.
* If you hire a car from France with Europcar - 8 out of 10 car groups can not be driven in Italy.

If you want to start your rental from Austria and want to travel to Eastern Europe - Avis will charge you EUR 56 plus it is compulsory to take out Super CDW And Theft Protection which wacks on another EUR13 PER DAY !! However, if you rent with Europcar, you just pay a flat fee of EUR40. On a 14 day rental that is a whopping Euro 148 difference !

* The country that has the lowest priced car rental is France.

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Car Hire: Should you Rent or Lease a Car

Firstly we will explain the difference between the two. With car rental your car will be provided by companies like like Avis, Hertz, Alamo etc. You often get quoted a basic rate and have to pay for additional items like airport fees, second driver charge, young driver surcharges if under 25, vehicle licensing fees and the insurance which is included, has an excess or deductible if you have an accident or damage the vehicle. You can pay extra to get this waived or reduced. With car rental you are often restricted eg: you may not drive the vehicle into Eastern Europe or if you are hiring a Mercedes you may not be able to drive into Italy or if you are hiring from France, they may allow their vehicles to go to the Italian islands, you may not be allowed to travel to Britain or Scandinavia etc. With rental you are quoted a model of car - 'or similar' – you are never guaranteed a specific make or model of car. If you are looking for info/rates on car rental, click on

Perhaps browse the FAQ's for more info. For those travelling after April 2005 – the Earlybirds have now been released.

With car leasing, which is a tax free buy back system encouraged by the French government to encourage tourism, you are purchasing the vehicle and selling it back at the end. All paperwork is completed well beforehand and all you pay is the set difference between the buying and the selling.
Sounds complicated, but it's not. We have a free video or DVD we would be happy to send you which explains how leasing works. Just drop us an email.

Leasing is great for travellers who want a car for longer than a month or perhaps picking up a car in one of the more expensive countries like Italy, Switzerland, Eastern Europe etc. Everything is included – even the insurance has no excess. However, for the sake of being completely upfront, we will mention that as you 'own' the car, you are responsible for giving it the first service. With Renault, the car only requires its first service at 30, 000 kms, a distance very few travellers reach considering the size of Europe, and this will be at your cost. With Peugeot, the first service is required at 10,000kms but it is free. These French lease cars are based in France, but they can be delivered to 9 other countries at a nominal charge to cover transporting the vehicles to the pick up point. Currently, both Renault and Peugeot are offering free or subsidised delivery / collection charges as well as 7 free days, or 10 free days if you have leased with them previously.The other good thing about leasing, is that it can work out to a low $24 per day. This is based on the maximum lease of 170 days of the smallest vehicle.

Great for youngsters travelling around Europe, especially if they are under 25. With leasing, all you require is a full drivers licence. There is no 'young driver surcharge'. Incidentally, if you are a teacher / professor going to uni to study or lecture or a student going for training or a journalist – you can lease for up to a year.Other positives are that you can drive the vehicle into Eastern European countries. You are also guaranteed the vehicle you choose. So you can choose a diesel powered vehicle which is much more fuel efficient, not to mention that diesel can cost up to a third less than petrol.As a quick example let's say you require a 7 seater minibus for 30 days that you wish to collect in Geneva, Switzerland and return it to Nice in France. Leasing would cost you $3200 in total with nothing more to pay. Rental would cost you $6072 + extras. A difference of more than $2800 – nearly double. Not knowing the difference and the in's and out's can literally cost you thousands of dollars if you make the wrong choice.

Click here for info on car leasing
If you would like us to compare rental vs leasing, let us know your driving requirements and we'll do the math for you.