car rental europe If you are planning to travel to Europe, you might want to rent a car to explore the continent and its diverse cultures, landscapes, and attractions. Europe is a vast and varied region, with 44 countries and over 740 million people. Renting a car can give you the freedom and flexibility to discover Europe at your own pace and according to your preferences. In this blog post, we will show you how to find the best deals and locations for car rental Europe, and what to expect from renting a car in Europe.
How to Find Car Rental Europe
Finding a car rental in Europe is easy and convenient. You can use one of the following methods to locate and book your rental car:
- Visit KAYAK.com: This is a travel website that allows you to compare prices and offers from hundreds of car rental companies in Europe. You can enter your pick-up and drop-off locations and dates, choose your vehicle type and model, and reserve your car online. You can also filter by provider, rating, price, and more.
- Use the KAYAK app: This is the mobile app of KAYAK, which you can download for free on your smartphone or tablet. The app allows you to book your car in advance or on the go, choose your car from the available options, and access your reservation details. You can also use the app to find other travel deals such as flights, hotels, and activities.
- Call KAYAK: If you prefer to speak to a customer service agent, you can call KAYAK at 1-855-529-2501 (US) or +1-978-451-0771 (International). The agents can help you find a car rental in Europe, book your car, and answer any questions you might have about renting a car with KAYAK.
- Visit a car rental location: If you want to rent a car on the spot, you can visit a car rental location in Europe and choose from the available vehicles. You can find a car rental location by using the location finder on KAYAK.com or on the app. You can also use Bing.com to search for “car rental Europe” and see the nearest locations on a map1.
How to Get the Best Deals on Car Rental Europe
Renting a car in Europe can be affordable and cost-effective if you know how to get the best deals. Here are some tips on how to save money on car rental Europe:
- Book in advance: The earlier you book your car, the more likely you are to get lower rates and better availability. Booking in advance also gives you more options to choose from, such as different vehicle types and models.
- Choose off-peak seasons: The demand and prices for rental cars vary depending on the season and location. If possible, try to avoid renting a car during peak seasons such as summer, holidays, or weekends, as these are usually more expensive and crowded. Instead, opt for off-peak seasons such as winter, weekdays, or low-demand destinations, as these are usually cheaper and less busy.
- Use special offers: KAYAK offers various special offers and discounts for different customers and occasions. For example, you can get discounts for senior citizens, military personnel, AAA members, students, etc. You can also get discounts for long-term rentals, one-way rentals,
Renting a car in Europe not only gives you convenience and flexibility, but also many benefits and rewards that can enhance your rental experience. Some of the benefits of renting a car in Europe are:
- Freedom and flexibility: Renting a car gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore Europe at your own pace and according to your preferences. You can visit remote and hard-to-reach areas, stop frequently to take in the view, and change your itinerary as you wish. You can also avoid the hassle and stress of public transportation, such as timetables, delays, crowds, and luggage restrictions.
- Variety and quality: Renting a car gives you access to a wide range of vehicles and services to suit your needs and budget. You can choose from different vehicle types and models, such as compact, luxury, electric, hybrid, or SUV. You can also choose from different providers and ratings, such as Avis, Hertz, Budget, Europcar, or Sixt1. You can expect high-quality vehicles that are well-maintained and insured.
- Savings and discounts: Renting a car can be affordable and cost-effective if you know how to get the best deals. You can save money by booking in advance, choosing off-peak seasons, using special offers and discounts, and joining loyalty programs. For example, KAYAK offers discounts for senior citizens, military personnel, AAA members, students, etc. You can also get discounts for long-term rentals, one-way rentals, weekend rentals, etc. You can also join KAYAK Rewards to earn points for every dollar spent on renting a car with KAYAK2.
- Protection and assistance: Renting a car gives you protection and assistance in case of any problems or emergencies. You can get collision damage waiver insurance coverage that covers theft and damage up to $75,000 for just $11 per calendar day with no deductible3. You can also get customer service and roadside assistance from the rental company or KAYAK in case of any questions or issues with your rental. You can contact them by phone, email, or chat. You can also use the KAYAK app to manage your reservation, check your status, and access your rental details.
How to Rent a Car with KAYAK in Europe
Renting a car with KAYAK in Europe is simple and convenient. You can follow these steps to rent a car with KAYAK in Europe:
- Visit KAYAK.com or use the app to find a car rental in Europe. You can use the location finder or search for “car rental Europe” on Bing.com1.
- Enter your pick-up and drop-off locations and dates, and choose your vehicle type and model. You can also apply any special offers or discounts that you qualify for.
- Reserve your car online or by phone. You will receive a confirmation email with your reservation details.
- Pick up your car at the designated location. If you are a KAYAK Rewards member, you can skip the counter and go straight to your car. If not, you can check in at the counter and show your driver’s license and credit card.
- Enjoy your rental car and drive safely. You can use the KAYAK app to access your rental details,
Driving in Europe can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but it can also be challenging and confusing if you are not familiar with the driving rules and regulations in different countries. Each country in Europe has its own laws and customs regarding driving, and you need to respect them and follow them to avoid fines, penalties, or accidents. Here are some of the common driving rules and regulations in Europe that you should know:
- Driving licence and international driving permit: You need to carry your UK driving licence with you when driving in Europe. You do not need an international driving permit (IDP) to visit and drive in the EU, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein. You might need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have a paper driving licence or a licence that was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man. Check if you need an IDP before you travel1.
- Insurance for your vehicle, caravan or trailer: All UK vehicle insurance provides the minimum third party cover to drive in the EU (including Ireland). You do not need to carry a green card when you drive in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia, or Switzerland. You still need valid vehicle insurance2.
- Vehicle registration documents: If you’re taking your vehicle to the EU for less than 12 months, carry one of the following documents: your vehicle log book (V5C), if you have one; a VE103 to show you’re allowed to use your hired or leased vehicle abroad2.
- Trailer registration: You need to register some commercial and non-commercial trailers before towing them to or through most EU and EEA countries. Find out more about trailer registration2.
- UK stickers and number plates: You must display the UK identifier when driving a UK-registered vehicle abroad. If your number plate includes the UK identifier with the Union flag (also known as the Union Jack), you do not need a UK sticker. However, you will need to display a UK sticker clearly on the rear of your vehicle if your number plate has any of the following: a GB identifier with the Union flag; a Euro symbol; a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales; numbers and letters only – no flag or identifier. If you’re in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, you must display a UK sticker no matter what is on your number plate2.
- Driving on the right: Most countries in Europe drive on the right-hand side of the road, except for Cyprus, Ireland, Malta and the UK. You need to adjust your driving habits accordingly, especially at roundabouts, junctions and overtaking. You also need to make sure your headlights are adjusted for driving on the right so that they do not dazzle oncoming traffic.
- Speed limits: Speed limits vary from country to country and depend on the type of road and vehicle. You need to check the signs and follow them accordingly. In general, speed limits are lower in urban areas than rural areas, and lower for lorries and buses than cars. Some countries also have variable speed limits depending on weather conditions or traffic flow. The speed limits are usually displayed in kilometres per hour (km/h), except for the UK where they are displayed in miles per hour (mph).
- Seat belts and child seats: Seat belts are compulsory for drivers and passengers in all EU countries. You need to wear them at all times when driving or travelling in a car. Children must also use an appropriate child restraint system that is suitable for their weight and height. The rules for child seats vary from country to country, but in general they are based on age groups or weight categories. You need to check the specific requirements for each country before you travel3.
- Mobile phones: Using a mobile phone without a hands-free set while driving is forbidden in all EU countries. It is also illegal to use any other device that may distract you from driving safely, such as headphones, tablets or laptops. You can be fined or penalised if you are caught using a mobile phone or other device while driving.
- Alcohol limit: The maximum permitted blood alcohol level varies from country to country. Some countries do not allow any alcohol in the blood while driving, while others have different limits depending on the type of driver or vehicle. In general, the blood alcohol limit is lower in Europe than in the UK. You can be fined,
Driving in Europe can also involve paying tolls and fees for using certain roads, bridges, tunnels, or zones. The tolls and fees vary from country to country and depend on the type of vehicle, road, and distance. Here are some of the common tolls and fees in Europe that you should know:
- Motorway tolls: Many countries in Europe charge tolls for using motorways or expressways. The tolls are usually collected at toll gates directly on the motorway or near toll bridges or tunnels. The toll rates depend on the vehicle type, road, and distance. You can pay the tolls by cash, card, or electronic devices such as tags or OBUs (on-board units). Some countries also offer discounts or exemptions for certain vehicles or drivers. You can find an overview of motorway charging methods and information on the toll collection for all European countries on Tolls.eu.
- Vignettes: Some countries in Europe require drivers to buy a vignette (a sticker or an electronic device) to use motorways or expressways. The vignette is usually valid for a certain period of time (such as a day, a week, a month, or a year) and for a certain vehicle type. The vignette must be displayed on the windshield or registered online before driving on the motorway. The vignette can be bought at border crossings, petrol stations, post offices, online, or via mobile apps. The vignette prices vary depending on the country, vehicle type, and duration. You can find an overview of vignette prices and information on where to buy them for all European countries on Tolls.eu.
- Eurovignette: The Eurovignette is a common vignette system for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) with a maximum authorised weight of more than 3.5 tonnes that use motorways or expressways in Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Sweden. The Eurovignette is valid for a certain period of time (from one day to one year) and for a certain vehicle category (based on emission standards). The Eurovignette must be bought online before driving on the motorway. The Eurovignette prices depend on the vehicle category, road type, and duration. You can find more information on the Eurovignette website.
- Toll bridges and tunnels: Some countries in Europe charge tolls for using certain bridges or tunnels that are not part of the motorway network. The tolls are usually collected at toll gates near the bridge or tunnel entrance or exit. The toll rates depend on the vehicle type, bridge or tunnel, and distance. You can pay the tolls by cash, card, or electronic devices such as tags or OBUs (on-board units). Some countries also offer discounts or exemptions for certain vehicles or drivers. You can find an overview of toll bridges and tunnels and information on the toll collection for all European countries on Tolls.eu.
- Congestion charges and low emission zones: Some cities in Europe charge fees for entering certain areas that are subject to congestion or pollution problems. The fees are usually collected by cameras that scan the number plates of the vehicles entering or exiting the area. The fee rates depend on the vehicle type, area, and time. You can pay the fees online, by phone, by SMS, or at designated points of sale. Some cities also require drivers to register their vehicles online before entering the area. Some cities also offer discounts or exemptions for certain vehicles or drivers. You can find an overview of congestion charges and low emission zones and information on how to pay them for all European cities on Urban Access Regulations.
Driving in Europe can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but it can also be challenging and confusing if you are not familiar with the driving tips and advice in different countries. Each country in Europe has its own driving culture and etiquette, and you need to respect them and follow them to avoid fines, penalties, or accidents. Here are some of the common driving tips and advice in Europe that you should know:
- Drive defensively and observe: The best advice on how to drive in Europe is simply to take a defensive approach until you feel comfortable. You should follow the rules of the road closely and get familiar with local driving customs. It’s also sensible to plan your route in advance, so you can give your full attention to traffic1. You should also observe the speed limits, road signs, traffic lights, and lane markings carefully, as they may differ from those in the UK. For example, in France a single, solid, white line in the middle of the road means no passing in either direction; in Germany it’s a double white line2.
- Adjust to driving on the right: Most countries in Europe drive on the right-hand side of the road, except for Cyprus, Ireland, Malta and the UK. You need to adjust your driving habits accordingly, especially at roundabouts, junctions and overtaking. You also need to make sure your headlights are adjusted for driving on the right so that they do not dazzle oncoming traffic2. A good tip is to stick a reminder note on your dashboard or steering wheel to help you remember which side of the road to drive on.
- Pass other drivers with care: When you pass other drivers, be bold but careful. On winding, narrow roads, the slower car ahead of you may use turn-signal sign language to indicate when it’s OK to pass. This is used inconsistently — and don’t rely on it blindly. Be sure you understand the lane markings — in France a single, solid, white line in the middle of the road means no passing in either direction; in Germany it’s a double white line2. After a few minutes on the autobahn, you’ll learn that you don’t linger in the passing lane. For passing, use the left-hand lane on the Continent and the right-hand lane when driving in Britain and Ireland. In some countries (such as France, Germany, and the Netherlands), it’s illegal to use the slower lane for passing. In Greece, slower drivers don’t pull over, but drift as far right as possible to let cars pass3.
- Use seat belts and child seats: Seat belts are compulsory for drivers and passengers in all EU countries. You need to wear them at all times when driving or travelling in a car. Children must also use an appropriate child restraint system that is suitable for their weight and height. The rules for child seats vary from country to country, but in general they are based on age groups or weight categories. You need to check the specific requirements for each country before you travel4.
- Avoid using mobile phones: Using a mobile phone without a hands-free set while driving is forbidden in all EU countries. It is also illegal to use any other device that may distract you from driving safely, such as headphones, tablets or laptops. You can be fined or penalised if you are caught using a mobile phone or other device while driving3.
- Respect the alcohol limit: The maximum permitted blood alcohol level varies from country to country. Some countries do not allow any alcohol in the blood while driving,.
Driving in Europe can also involve facing unexpected situations or emergencies that require immediate assistance or intervention. In such cases, you need to know the emergency numbers and contacts in Europe that can help you or others in need. Here are some of the common emergency numbers and contacts in Europe that you should know:
- 112: This is the European emergency phone number, available everywhere in the EU, free of charge. You can call 112 from fixed and mobile phones to contact any emergency service: an ambulance, the fire brigade or the police. A specially trained operator will answer any 112 call and either deal with the request directly or transfer the call to the most appropriate emergency service depending on the national organisation of emergency services. Operators in many countries can answer the calls not only in their national language, but also in English or French. If you do not know where you are, the operator will identify where you are physically located and pass it to the emergency authorities so that they can help you immediately. 112 is also used in some countries outside the EU – such as Switzerland and South Africa – and is available worldwide on GSM mobile networks1.
- eCall: This is a technology that automatically dials 112 in the event of a serious road accident and communicates the vehicle’s location to the emergency services. New cars are equipped with eCall technology, which can save lives by reducing response times and providing accurate location information. You can also trigger eCall manually by pushing a button inside your car if you witness an accident1.
- 116: This is a range of harmonised phone numbers for social services and helplines in Europe. The numbers are free of charge and easy to remember. They provide assistance and support to children and adults in various situations, such as missing children, victims of crime, domestic violence, or mental health problems. Some of the 116 numbers are: 116000 for missing children helpline; 116006 for victims of crime support helpline; 116111 for child helplines; 116123 for emotional support helplines1.
- Other national emergency numbers: Besides 112, some countries in Europe have their own national emergency numbers for specific services or situations. For example, in France you can call 15 for medical emergencies, 17 for police, or 18 for fire brigade; in Germany you can call 110 for police or 112 for fire brigade and ambulance; in Italy you can call 113 for police, 115 for fire brigade, or 118 for ambulance; in Spain you can call 091 for police, 080 for fire brigade, or 061 for ambulance; in the UK you can call 999 or 112 for any emergency service2. You should check the national emergency numbers for each country before you travel.
- Other useful contacts: Besides emergency numbers, there are other useful contacts that you may need when driving in Europe. For example, you may need to contact your car rental company, your insurance provider, your breakdown service provider, your embassy or consulate, or your bank or credit card company. You should keep a list of these contacts handy and accessible at all times when driving abroad.