Welcome to GlobalOneWaycarRentals.com
an independent website which specialises in...one way car rentals!

A general consensus around one way car rentals is that they come attached with a hefty one-way drop off fee which makes the rental unaffordable. In some cases this is true, but in other cases booking a one way rental makes perfect sense from a practical and even a financial point of view!

Use GlobalOneWaycarRentals.com as a resource for information on one way car rentals before you set off on your holiday or business trip.

GlobalOneWaycarRentals.com attempts to answer many frequently asked questions regarding one way rentals, and we're happy to receive advice from you
as well. Email us with your experiences and views and together we can shape the path of the site.

GlobalOneWaycarRentals.com will provide links to a few choice booking agents where you can enter your details and receive a quote. We appreciate all bookings made through these links as it helps keep the website alive!

What is a One-Way car rental?

Simply put, a One-Way car rental is a rental that is picked up in one location and dropped off in another location. The drop off location may be in the same country or in another country. In real terms though, one way rentals often refer to long haul journeys perhaps over several days (eg New York to Los Angeles) rather than a short haul trip (Los Angeles to San Diego).

Why would I book a One-Way car rental?

* If you need to get from Point A to Point B.
* The cost is more favourable than a flight or other methods of transport.
* You don't want to drive your own car.

If you have five people travelling, you will save the costs of 5 airfares, but will have to take into account the cost of the car rental, fuel, food, accommodation and mileage costs.

Why are they so expensive in a lot of cases?

The main reason is that the rental company has to get the car back to its original location. Therefore they charge a drop-off fee or simply charge a higher base rate to compensate for the time and cost involved.

How to find the best deal?

Shop around
- Obviously it pays to compare several websites but in all cases you must read the page carefully and be aware of what the rate actually includes and excludes. Many fees (like the drop-off fee etc) may be added later as these are undetermined at the time or the actual rental company (not the third party site) may request payment directly on collection of the vehicle for various items.

Look for Discounts/Use Coupons/Seasonal Specials
- Search for special deals on websites and in newspapers, magazines etc.
(especially prevelent for rentals in the USA/Canada). During the fall, most car rental companies transfer a larger proportion of their fleet to the warmer, winter-time travel destinations, such as Florida or busy ski destinations like Colorado, British Columbia and Alberta. If you are flexible with your travel plans, in the spring, car rental companies need to return their fleets north for the summer where they're most needed by travelers preparing for holiday travel and summer vacations.

Ring the Rental Agencies directly
- Ring the rental company directly and ask for the best deal. Like hotels, they may offer a better rate than what appears on their website. Likewise, ask if they can better a rate found on their or a competitors website in order to secure your business, never hurts to try!

Where to start?

Search for quotes and book via the companies that appear on our site:
Our research shows they offer a broad range of cars and locations to offer you more choice. These companies compare rates among the various big-name firms (so you don't have to!), find the best deal, and because they’re wholesalers, pass the savings on to you. In some cases the prices can be cheaper than the actual rental company itself! You pay the wholesaler, and they issue you a voucher to pick up your car with the actual rental company at your pick-up location.

Again the point that we will emphasise over and over, no matter who you book through, check what is INCLUDED and EXCLUDED, which means reading the text carefully and the fine print. Ask questions if unsure and use our checklist to cover the likely items to check for. The last thing people want on a holiday is unexpected fees!! And these fees may not be apparent until you reach the rental counter to pick up the car!

If a dispute arises at the rental desk, call the consolidator you booked through first to try to resolve the issue — ask to use the rental office’s phone. Do this before signing anything at the rental desk. Once you sign off on something with the vendor, it’s difficult for the consolidator (or anyone else) to reverse what you’ve agreed to. Keep all your paperwork (including the checklist used by the company to check the car’s condition when you turn it in) for a few months after the rental period, in case a billing dispute arises.

PDF Checklist

Here is a handy GlobalOneWayCarRentals.com PDF checklist that can help you when going through the process of booking a one-way car rental. Open and save or print it off and use it to confirm you have checked all the main items when making a booking, picking up the car and dropping the car off.

Click on the Image here to open/save PDF >>>

Additional Drivers

Adding more than one driver to your rental agreement often carries a surcharge, which can be anywhere between $3 and $25 per day.
* Example
- Hertz in USA additional driver $13.50USD per day and maximum of $94.50USD per rental.
- Thrifty in Australia additional driver $5.50AU per day and maximum of $27.50AU per month.

Note that some companies, will allow the renter's spouse or domestic partner to drive the vehicle for no extra charge - so if both partners are planning to take the wheel, consider renting from one of these providers.

Rental companies usually require each additional driver to be present upon picking up the car plus they need to show a valid drivers licence, meet the minimum age requirement and possibly have a credit card in their own name. Before you leave the counter, make sure the names of any additional drivers are on the contract. If you don't add these names, you may be travelling without proper insurance when the other person or persons are at the wheel.

Some companies like Hertz will allow as many additional drivers as there are seats in the car.

Age Restrictions/Penalties

Most rental companies require their clients to be 25 or over.
If they allow drivers under 25 to rent a car, there will be:
* An additonal surcharge
* A possible restriction in the size and models you may hire

Some companies may have further age brackets such as 21-24 and 18-20. The 18-20 bracket may incur steeper extra fees again due to the perceived risk a younger driver may have whilst driving. The fee is usually about the $25 - $30 per day mark but varies.
Many companies deal only with customers who have held a non-provisional driver's license for at least a year or two, so again, check with the company to see what restrictions apply.

* Example - Budget in France minimum age is 21 with surcharge of 25EUR per day for ages 21-24.
* Example - Sixt in Germany minimum age is 18/21/25 depending on vehicle type, surcharge of 10EUR per day max 50EUR for under 23.

Internationally, you'll not only see penalties for underage drivers but also for older ones -- those over 70 may have to pay extra (if they're able to rent at all). Age restrictions vary by country and franchise, so be sure to check ahead.

So why is this so?
Insurance companies mandate the maximum age for car rental, and they usually set the cutoff age at 70 or 75. If an older customer has an accident, the company's insurance carrier will increase rates across the board, unless the company agrees to refuse service to any customer above a certain age.

Different rental car companies have different insurance carriers, however, so the only way to know whether you will be allowed to drive away in the car you have reserved before leaving on your trip is to ask specifically about age restrictions for rental cars, and how they apply in the area where you will be traveling.

The rules about rental cars if you are above a certain age haven’t become more rigid, but with more seniors traveling the frequency of problems has increased. Most people know there is a minimum age for rental cars, but few people realize that rental cars also have an upper age limit.

Dealing exclusively with major rental car companies like Hertz or Avis won’t necessarily help you avoid the problem. While some of the larger rental car companies don’t impose age maximums for rental cars at their corporate sites, many have franchise operations in various locations that restrict rental cars by age to meet insurance requirements.

Drop Off / One Way Fees

Some companies don’t state an extra drop-off fee; the rate is just higher than it would be if you were returning back to your original pick up location. Other companies will include the drop off or one way fee in their rate when you get a quote so it may not be itemised. In other cases it is clearly listed. If you are renting and returning in the same city, but at different locations, there is often no extra fee.

The extra drop-off fee may be charged if a car is returned to a different location than where it was picked up. This fee varies by location and distance according to how easy/hard it is to get the car back to point A. Check into what/if any the drop-off charges will be before accepting a rental. Third party websites will in most cases not disclose the drop-off fee when you get a quote because they have no idea what it is until they contact the rental company direct. They will then disclose this to you at a later date after you have entered your credit card details. If you are not happy with the drop-off fee, they give you the option to cancel your booking.

Dropping off vehicle

Upon returning the vehicle, the most important thing is to confirm there was no damage to the car. Get this fact written on the contract. If you placed a security deposit using your credit or charge card be sure that the car rental counter agent removes this deposit.

If there is any damage to the vehicle, note this damage accurately on the contract. Take photographs of the vehicle which show the vehicle from every angle and substantiate that the pictures were taken in the presence of rental company personnel after you returned the vehicle. Note on the contract the amount of fuel in the tank. Keep copies of all the documents associated with the rental.

If you return a rental vehicle after the reserved return time, they will wait an hour and most likely charge another day after that. Upon returning the vehicle the client should report to the rental company any ticketed parking violations, ticketed traffic violations, and toll-road violations and such that the client knowingly incurred during the rental or lease, along with any documentation thereof (e.g. the ticket itself). The cost of any associated fine or fines is paid by the client, even if the client was not directly ticketed for the violation or was otherwise unaware of the violation.

Moreover, the rental company might charge to the client an administration fee for processing of each such fine. Don't forget to search the vehicle to make sure you don't leave any personal items behind. Keep the rental paperwork. When you return home check your credit card statement to make sure no unexpected charges have been made to the card in connection with the rental, and to make sure any security deposit which was actually charged to the card (in contrast to being merely authorised or blocked on the card) has been wholly or partially returned to the card as expected. Upon returning your car, ask the agent to confirm (and even sign your receipt) that the amount noted will be the final amount charged to your card. A verbal confirmation is nice, but written is better.


There will be most certainly additional charges for any extra items you may add to your rental, like infant and child seat rentals, roof racks, GPS navigation systems and other extras. These could run you anywhere from $5 to $25 or more per day, depending on where you rent.

Fines for toll violations, traffic violations, parking violations become attached to the rental vehicle during the rental and are charged to the rental customer. In many cases the rental company will in addition charge an administration fee for processing these fines.

In some countries the law requires certain traffic offences be settled on the spot unless the violator presents a bail bond or unless a resident of the country guarantees payment on the violator's behalf. Failure in these respects can result in the vehicle being impounded and the driver detained. Most car rental companies include such bail bonds with the rental vehicle if the law applying to the rental pick-up or return location, or perhaps more generally to part of a likely itinerary, requires such on-the-spot settlement. Spain used to be infamous for this way of handling such offenses. However, Spain no longer requires on-the-spot payment of traffic violations or presentation of a bail bond.

Child safety seats, luggage racks, bicycle racks, tyre chains for driving in snow, and other such items are not always immediately available; you should book them in advance and determine whether they cost extra. If winter tyres are required by the law applicable to the pick-up location, an additional charge may be required either upon booking or upon the pick-up occasion.

Where and when road or weather conditions, and perhaps laws or ordinances or such, dictate the wise or requisite use of specific tyres or specifically embellished tyres (e.g. tyres fitted with snow chains or socks), it is the driver's responsibility to abstain from driving until such tyres are installed on his or her vehicle. It is nevertheless the client's responsibility to return the vehicle with the initial (i.e. original) set of tyres installed or co-present; otherwise the client will be billed for those initial tyres. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden, for example, have laws which dictate the use of winter tyres. It is the client's responsibility to research and understand such laws in relation to his or her itinerary.

Regarding snow chains, it is also vital to note whether these are mandatory to be present on the tyres or in the boot of the car. Rentals in countries like Italy may not provide them, but if taking the car into Slovenia for instance, it is law to have them in the car during the winter period. It is also vital that you check and if necessary maintain the tension of the chains frequently, and certainly after every short journey. Also, with the chains fitted do not drive faster than about 35 miles per hour (60 km/h).

Fuel Charges

Check with your rental company regarding returning your rental with a full tank of fuel. You will often pay high fees for returning a car without a full tank, so in most cases you'll want to fill up just before you return your vehicle. However, most car rental companies now offer the option of purchasing a full tank of gas when you first take the car, enabling you to return the car with as much or as little fuel as you wish. Note that there is no refund for unused fuel, so you'll likely be paying a little extra for the convenience of skipping the trip to the gas station. This can be a good option as many times you will be wasting time trying to find a petrol station near the rental depot.


Insurance is always a gray area in terms of definition and understanding what you are actually covered for and not covered for. This is why it is always a good idea to read the definitions and fine print on the website and paperwork so you have a better idea where you stand in case of an accident.

What type of cover do I need?


** A waiver meaning you are not liable for the full cost of any damages to the rental car **

- Obviously, as a renter, you would expect to be responsible for any charges incurred to the rental car in case of a collision. This is alleviated by the rental company in most cases by offering you CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) or LDW (Loss Damage Waiver). There is no universal definition of these terms so it will vary from country to country and company to company.

CDW/LDW is as the name suggests, a waiver from the rental company saying if you take the CDW/LDW coverage, you will only have to pay a certain amount for any collision damage to the vehicle and the rental company will take care of the rest.

LDW is slightly different in that they may also cover damage due to vandalism and natural disasters. Again, this may be bundled into the CDW as well so it is important to read what is covered and not covered.

In some places like the USA, it may be offered separately to the daily rental rate as an optional or compulsory daily add-on amount. In some places like most countries in Europe, they absorb the cost of the CDW/LDW into your rental rate making the cover compulsory and not deductible.

If you do not take CDW/LDW cover and you incur damage to the rental car, the repair costs could be astronomical so it is definitely wise to invest in the best cover possible. The rental company may also charge you for "Loss of Use" for time the vehicle is off the road due to repairs.

So how does CDW work?

- If you have CDW/LDW, the amount you would need to pay for any damages to the car depends on the type and size of the car. This amount is usually called your "excess" or "liability" amount. If your excess on your CDW/LDW is $1000, you are required to pay $1000 for the damages and the rental company will take care of the rest.
In most cases the rental company will require you to leave a pre-authorisation of $1000 on your credit card when you collect the car. If there any damage when you return the car, this amount will be used as the excess amount. If the damage is less than $1000, they are entitled to refund you the difference.

CDW waivers vary, but can exclude items like: damage inside of the car, Underside damage, Mirrors, Wheels/tyres, Lights, Antenna, Wheel caps, Wipers.

Paying for Zero Excess (Super CDW)

** Meaning if you pay extra again for SCDW, the excess is zero and you pay nothing for any damage **

In most cases the rental companies will also offer you a chance to reduce the excess amount to zero by paying extra for another waiver, thus avoiding liability for any damage to the vehicle (provided you're not found guilty of gross negligence). Such waivers can go by many names, such as peace of mind (POM), total damage excess waiver (TDEW), no worries cover (NWC), excess waiver (EW), excess reduction cover (ERC) , excess reimbursement insurance (ERI), Top Cover CDW or Super CDW (SCDW). Note that depending where you are driving, Zero Excess cover may not be valid in some countries (eg Europe) if considered a risk territory.

Theft Protection (TP)

** A waiver meaning you are not liable in case the car or parts of the car are stolen **

Where the CDW/LDW does not cover the theft of part or all of the vehicle, a theft protection waiver (TP, TW, TPW, TPR) is typically offered. This may appear as an added optional extra with many companies but again is well worth purchasing

Liability Insurance or Third party Insurance

Most rental companies will also offer as an optional extra liability insurance or third party insurance. You need to consider damage to the other car as well, especially if you are the cause of that damage. As you can imagine, no cover could result in a massive repair bill so makes perfect sense to cover yourself. Weigh up the difference between your personal\credit card insurance and the rental companies cover to get the best cover and price for you.

Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)

** Provides the renter and passengers with coverage for accidental death, disability or medical expenses **

- Personal accident insurance (PAI or PI) and perhaps personal effects cover (PEC) and Additional Liability Insurance (ALI) may also be offerred. PAI provides the renter and passengers with coverage for accidental death, disability or medical expenses. Personal effects cover (PEC) typically excludes the likes of jewellery and expensive electronics.

Alternatives to CDW/LDW/SCDW

** What if I dont want to purchase their CDW?? **

Before purchasing extra insurance (if not already included in your policy), check to see if your regular car insurance covers you in a rental car. Some credit cards also provide insurance if you pay for your rental with that card. Keep in mind that limitations may apply to both types of coverage, and that an accident in a rental car may affect the rates on your existing car insurance policy. If you're not comfortable with the risk, purchasing the CDW/LDW may be the better alternative.

In order to use a credit card for coverage, you must pay for the rental with that card, simply having a card is not enough. Read the agreement carefully or call the company itself to get clarification on what is included and not included under their terms and be clear on the locations where you will be taking the car as this may affect your coverage as well.

Sports cars, luxury (alias elite, exotic, prestige) cars, off-road vehicles, motorhomes, motorcycles and other "specialty" vehicles are typically excluded from credit card coverage. Sometimes such coverage applies to collision damage only, i.e. it doesn't cover vandalism, natural disaster, theft of part or all of the vehicle, "loss of use" (i.e. the amount of money the rental company might claim when a vehicle is out of their fleet for repairs). Usually such coverage requires you to decline the collision damage waiver (CDW) or loss damage waiver (LDW) offered by the car rental company. However, in connection with some rental companies — especially certain depots of certain companies in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica and New Zealand — the card cover cannot be engaged if the rental company includes a damage or loss waiver of some sort in its basic rental rate . Such a waiver cannot be declined, thus the card cover cannot be used. Conversely, some card coverage may only apply only to deductibles (i.e. excesses) remaining after you have purchased a CDW or LDW.

A rental-duration limit of 14 or 15 days for personal domestic rentals and 30 or 31 days for business or international rentals is typical of credit card conditions; meaning you'd have to return the car and commence a subsequent rental (ie a 2nd booking) to extend the coverage. So make sure you do not make a rental booking that goes over your credit card limit or your credit card coverage will become void.

An example of insurance cover through a credit card is American Express. Consumer cardholders of a personal Amex card receive standard secondary CDW coverage around the world except for Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, and New Zealand. Coverage is for as long as 30 consecutive days. American Express business cardholders receive secondary CDW coverage only within the United States, its territories and possessions. Within the United States, coverage is for as long as 30 consecutive days. There is an option all American Express cardholders to premium primary coverage for a flat fee of $24.95 ($17.95 for California residents) per rental period, (not per rental day). While this coverage also excludes Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, and New Zealand, it is considered primary coverage, meaning you won’t have to file a claim with your insurance company. The coverage is for up to $100,000 of primary coverage for damage or theft and accidental death or dismemberment coverage ($250,000 for California residents), up to $15,000 for excess medical expenses per person, and up to $5,000 for excess personal property coverage ($15,000 for Florida residents). There is also no deductible for this coverage. Cardmembers enroll once and then this charge is added to all rentals.

Personal Coverage vs Secondary Coverage

Primary insurance provides coverage immediately to the driver while secondary coverage only applies after any other coverage, such as your personal automobile insurance policy, has been exhausted. Primary insurance is preferable, for it lets you file directly with the underwriter of your credit card insurance. Secondary coverage, in contrast, requires you first to obtain a letter from your personal auto insurance provider stating what they do and do not cover with respect to the incident in question. You must then forward this letter along with all the other relevant documents to the underwriter of your credit card insurance. The secondary coverage will cover the charges that are not covered by your personal auto insurance. It's a hassle.

Regarding either primary and secondary coverage, determine if the card company will let the auto rental company bill your account directly for any damages that occur. If so, confirm that the status of such a billing will not require you to pay the charge and will not eat into your available credit unless ultimately the underwriter of the card's policy denies your claim. The monetary amount that a rental company equates with certain damages could approximate the value of the entire vehicle. As such, using your credit card to effectively pay up front for damages could cost you substantially if as a result you exceed your credit limit or must pay a finance charge — or both.

As mentioned above, make sure you check the fine print on all policies (credit card or rental agency) as they can change them without notice. Take especial note of the card company's requirements for filing car rental loss and damage claims. Usually they require you to do so within 48 hours or as soon as reasonably possible following a loss. If such notification is not received, coverage may be denied.

Written proof of loss, including completion of a claim form provided by the card company, typically must be received by the card company within 60 days of the date of loss, or coverage may be denied. Among the items typically required to document the loss: (a) copy of the drivers license of card member or authorized driver; (b) copy of card members auto insurance coverage; (c) itemized repair bill; (d) claim form; (e) copy of the rental agreement; and (f) police report if the damage exceeds a certain amount (e.g. $500).

Regarding all auto rental coverages, note whether they cover at-fault drivers, single-vehicle accidents, loss of use charges (again, the amount of money the rental company might claim when a vehicle is out of their fleet for repairs), damage that bumpy roads may cause to the undercarriage of the vehicle, overhead damage (i.e. roof damage), damage caused in the process of towing something or being towed, tire damage, windscreen damage, and side window damage. Again, most coverages exclude off-road driving and more generally any driving off paved/sealed/bituminized/macadamized/tarmacked roads.

Automobile/National Organisations

Members of certain national organisations can qualify for auto rental insurance at reduced costs in certain locations. For instance, several rental companies entitle members of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to discounts and additional liability coverage if the member provides the company-specific AARP identification number for listing on the rental agreement. To get this number AARP members should contact the organisation. Members of the USA's National Council of Senior Citizens qualify for similar benefits. Often such discounts apply to only the more luxurious classes of vehicles, and they may not apply to one-way rentals.

International Drivers Licence

What is it?
An International Driving Permit (IDP) or International Drivers Licence is a United Nations sanctioned document that translates your driving classification into ten different languages (English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, German, Arabic, Italian, Scandinavian and Portuguese) and is recognised in over 150 countries.

Do I need one?
Regarding international rentals, depending on the law applying at the rental depot and depending on the primary language spoken there, the auto rental company might require that the customer have an international driving license — i.e. an IDL, better known as an international driving permit or IDP.

For instance, The New Zealand Automobile Association's website presents a listing of countries which require an IDP of visiting drivers. Regardless of the law of the land, if a customer's otherwise qualifying license is not primarily or secondarily (i.e. in parallel) written in the primary language of the rental depot or in English, the rental company might require that the customer also have an IDP.

Basically an IDP is a means by which police in a foreign country can know — in terms of translations into different languages — that your domestic driver's license is indeed recognised as being valid by the proper authorities in your country. Hence you must obtain the licence while in your home country. See your local automobile organisation for details on how to obtain an IDL.

- An international drivers licence allows you to drive overseas without further tests or applications, provided your driver's licence is still valid.
- It is also a mandatory requirement for renting a car in many countries. Failure to do so may constitute a criminal or civil offence & may have more serious consequences.
- It can be used as an additional form of identification if your passport is locked away in a safe place.
- In most cases, your current driving licence is not enough alone when driving in a foreign country. It must be complemented with an International Driving Permit

Licencing/Recovery Fees

Some US states and Canadian provinces allow car rental companies to impose "recovery fees" to recover or recoup all or a portion of its expenses related to a particular type of overhead.

One such fee is a vehicle licensing and registration recovery fee, often called Vehicle License Recoupment or Recovery Fee or "VLRF". This is the recovery of the company's average annual cost to license and register its fleet in the applicable jurisdiction calculated over the estimated annual utilization rate for that locale. If a VLRF applies to a particular rental, it will appear in the charges section of the Rental Agreement.

The charge extra to recover the costs of licensing their cars, usually between 3 and 8 percent of the cost of the rental. You may not be told about this fee in advance, so make sure to ask. A similar fee, called Vehicle License Fee (also sometimes referred to as a "Road Fee"), also may apply to rentals in some European countries.


Most major rental car companies allow for unlimited mileage\kilometres within the same state or country, but it's a good idea to double-check before you reserve a car. If your rental does not include unlimited mileage, check the mileage allowed and the fees involved if you go over the limit.
Another caveat: Some "special" rates may not include unlimited mileage, so be sure to read the fine print.


Most car rental companies will not guarantee a specific make or model. They do guarantee the car category. A specific model may be requested, but it can not be guaranteed. If you need an automatic transmission vehicle, be sure to specify this when placing your reservation. The transmission type can often be guaranteed, and in many countries like Europe, manual transmissions are the norm. There are fewer automatics available in Europe so the earlier you book the better.

Expect some differences between your typical American rental car and what you’ll likely get in Europe, where midrange cars have less passenger room, vast trunk/boot space is unheard of, and manual transmissions are the norm. Automatics are more expensive (usually about 50 percent more) and may only be available if you upgrade to a bigger, pricier car. (Some Americans might find automatics worthwhile in Great Britain and Ireland, where it can be enough of a challenge just to learn to drive on the left.) Always ask whether the agent whether you can upgrade to a more luxurious class of vehicle free of charge (unless you're happy with your current vehicle!) Do not accept a lower class of car or be forced to pay for a higher class of car. You should get the class of car booked or higher at no extra charge.

Employing a diesel car in Europe will cut your fuel costs there by almost 40 percent, because the diesel fuel is cheaper than gasoline and the diesel engines are more efficient than their gasoline-powered counterparts. These days over 60 percent of the new cars sold in Europe are diesels. This percentage continues to climb. Why? For one thing, diesel fuel in Europe costs about 20 percent less than gasoline. What's more, a diesel engine runs about 30 percent more efficiently (and lasts longer, for it has far fewer parts) than its gasoline-powered counterpart. Hence you save close to 40 percent fuel-wise by going with a diesel.

Admittedly, diesel exhaust long ago gained a reputation for being sooty and smelly. (As if gasoline doesn't smell too!) Yet certain other important pollutants — especially sulfates — have always been considerably less prevelent in diesel exhaust than in gasoline exhaust. And technological improvements in diesel-engine efficiency and especially in the filtering of diesel exhaust have rendered the diesel engines of today considerably more eco-friendly than gasoline engines. Gone is the remarkable sootiness. All the Renault diesels are turbo charged such that their acceleration approximates that of gasoline-powered vehicles. Given the native demand for diesel engines in Europe, diesel fuel is available wherever gasoline is available, and the diesel fuel is of a higher grade than that sold in the United States. Likewise, fuel stations in Europe provide diesel pumps on the same service islands as the gasoline pumps. Plastic gloves are even provided so you need not dirty your hands!

BEWARE: A diesel nozzle in Europe is considerably wider than either a leaded gasoline nozzle or the even smaller unleaded gasoline nozzle and indeed will not fit into either such tank. Consequently a European gasoline nozzle will fit into a European diesel tank. Therefore, be careful not to put gasoline into a diesel tank!!! Even a liter of gasoline added to the tank of a modern diesel car can cause irreversible damage to the injection pump and other components due to its relatively low lubricity. Diesel in a gasoline engine — while creating large amounts of smoke — does not normally cause permanent damage if it is drained once the mistake is realized.

Office Opening\Closing Times

Check carefully the opening and closing times for your rental pickup and dropoff. If your preferred times fall outside these hours, you will either have to change your times, or arrange something with the rental company. Pick up or return of the vehicle outside of the rental depot's standard hours of operation may incur a special fee. Expect limited hours from smaller towns, offices and on holidays. Some companies will be happy to arrange pickup from your hotel free of charge. Some offices will have a drop-off box where you can place the keys but it is always best to finalise your paperwork in person with an employee from the rental company so there are no surprises when you return home.

Picking up the vehicle

If you are buying or have CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) you will usually have to leave a deposit or pre-auth on your valid credit card for the excess amount eg excess is $1000, leave a pre-auth of $1000. Debit cards and Cash are not normally accepted but some rental companies are flexible. Without a valid credit card they can refuse you and cancel the rental. Hopefully this doesn't result in a cancellation fee also! Use the same credit card for all transactions in case you need to make a claim later. Using different cards with make things more complicated!!

Always ask whether the agent whether you can upgrade to a more luxurious class of vehicle free of charge (unless you're happy with your current vehicle!) Do not accept a lower class of car or be forced to pay for a higher class of car. You should get the class of car booked or higher at no extra charge.

Of course you must inspect the vehicle. Note if all the optional extras specified in your agreement are indeed present and in working order. Point out any issues straight away before driving away. Be sure you know where the jack and spare tyre is and how to use it. Note where the fuel tank opening is and how to open it. Check out the the basics like tyres, headlights, taillights, windshield wipers, seat adjustments, and seat belts work. If you have any serious objections then the rental company is obliged to provide another vehicle.

Take photos of the entire state of the vehicle (plus licence plate number) with a rental employee present and note any flaws on the contract before driving away (and make sure you get a copy!) Note as well how much fuel is in the tank so that you can return the vehicle with about the same amount. (Take a photo of the fuel gauge.) Also determine that you have the insurance papers and and contact addresses and phone numbers in case of an accident, breakdown or theft.

In Europe a European Accident Statement form should be in the glove compartment or the compartment on the driver's side door. This is the standard form in Europe on which to record the details of an accident. You will be held liable for any vehicle damage that is deemed to occur during your rental or lease. Test drive the vehicle at and near the depot where you begin your journey. If you notice anything unusual about the vehicle, especially the clutch, return it to the depot immediately.

Regarding snow chains, it is also vital to note whether these are mandatory to be present on the tyres or in the boot of the car. Rentals in countries like Italy may not provide them, but if taking the car into Slovenia for instance, it is law to have them in the car during the winter period. It is also vital that you check and if necessary maintain the tension of the chains frequently, and certainly after every short journey. Also, with the chains fitted do not drive faster than about 35 miles per hour (60 km/h).

Also beware of possible inconveniences when picking up your car in a smaller town or city — a tiny regional office almost certainly has a smaller fleet on hand, and the staff may be less equipped to handle the concerns of foreign renters. Don’t plan to pick up or drop off your car in a small town on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday — or anywhere on a holiday, when offices are likely to be closed (except for train-station and airport locations).

Picking up a car at an airport usually costs more than picking it up downtown. If you don’t need a car immediately after your flight, look into getting into town for a cheaper rental. But airport pickup may still be worth it; many central car-rental locations have shorter hours (and may close at midday) or are buried in a maze of narrow streets. Also consider traffic — it may be easier to drive away from an airport than a parking garage in the heart of the city.

Rental timings

Be aware of the 24-hour clock rate. If you rent your car on Wednesday and return it on Thursday, most companies charge you one day only if you return it within the 24 hours. Some companies will give you a 1 hour grace period before they charge you for an extra day. Check the terms and conditions in your rental documents.

Taxes and Fees

When renting a car almost anywhere, you will undoubtably be hit with different kinds of sales or road taxes which are added to the rental cost. They will vary from country to country and even city to city. You cannot avoid sales tax (like VAT in the UK) but in some countries you can get a partial refund. Taxes can be as high as 25% in some cases. There are also airport taxes if picking up from an airport and local government taxes. These taxes are usually noted in the contract as a separate item and charged daily eg 3 euros per day. You must check your contract for any additional charges like taxes, as many people are surprsied to get a higher bill than expected due to these extra charges. If renting for a long period, this can be a significant amount.

At certain airport locations, rental companies are required to collect a mandatory charge from its customers and then remit them to the airport to pay for their expensive airport upgrades; these are sometimes referred to as Customer Facility Charges, Airport Facility Charges, or Transportation Facility Charges; these charges should also be noted in the charges section of the Rental Agreement. They may also classify the airport as a "Premimum Location" for pickup and drop-offs and charge a "Premimum Location" fee for the privilege. You pay for the convenience unless you wish to travel to the city or suburbs and pick up your vehicle there.

Some US states and Canadian provinces allow car rental companies to impose "recovery fees" to recover or recoup all or a portion of its expenses related to a particular type of overhead.

One such fee is a vehicle licensing and registration recovery fee, often called Vehicle License Recoupment or Recovery Fee or "VLRF". This is the recovery of the company's average annual cost to license and register its fleet in the applicable jurisdiction calculated over the estimated annual utilization rate for that locale. If a VLRF applies to a particular rental, it will appear in the charges section of the Rental Agreement.

The charge extra to recover the costs of licensing their cars, usually between 3 and 8 percent of the cost of the rental. You may not be told about this fee in advance, so make sure to ask.

A similar fee, called Vehicle License Fee (also sometimes referred to as a "Road Fee"), also may apply to rentals in some European countries.


** Book your Vignettes online before you go via the link below! **

Vignettes are stickers placed on the windscreen that allow you to drive on tolled roads within specific countries in Europe. Before entering these tolled roads, you can usually buy a vignette at designated petrol stations. They range in price usually within 10-15 euros each, and they must be purchased individually within each specific country.

If you do not buy a vignette and get pulled over, you risk paying a fine for not having one. Police usually show no sympathy to tourists who are unaware of the vignettes. The fine could vary from around 100-300 euros depending on the country. For a 10-15 euro sticker, you may as well pay it and have your peace of mind. There are signs at every border, usually very big, prominent signs so look for these or better still check the vignette websites in each country to see exactly how they work.

There are selected tolled roads with toll booths in these european countries:
Croatia, France, Macedonia, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Spain

There are tolled roads by means of vignette sticker in these countries:
Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland

The remaining European countries have either no tolls or tolls limited to special locations.

For a comprehensive guide to European countries and their tolls\vignettes, visit Tolltickets.com
You can also pre-purchase your vignettes online via Tolltickets.