seeking some help.  We are

07/01/2014 - 10:43

seeking some help.  We are visiting Europe with majority time in Italy.  I thought car hire would be best to get around but it's proving to be expensive - add in excess removal, collosion damage waiver and most importantly the one way fee (pick up in Bellagio drop off in Rome)   Does anyone know of car hire firm that does not charge an extortionate one way fee?  We even were thinking of hire car from Barcelona, Spain and driving up to Chamonix, France and then to Lake Como, Bellagio.  Returning car to Rome but they (numerous hire car firms) wanted 800 euro for the one way fee.  Surely the company can re hire the car in Italy??  Your advice / solution much appreciated.Essle



In the past we have noted that anytime you do a one-way rental that crosses an internationlal border there is an extra charge involved. Given current fuel costs and additional fees charged by rental companies, it is doubtful one can find a car rental that doesn't tax the pocketbook. Friends of ours (from the US who had never been on a train) last year toured a good part of Italy by train and found the experience quite satifactory and economical. You might want to check out a combo of plane, train and car transport, depending upon what you want to see. What does one do with a car in Venice, Rome, Florence, etc?There are some rental agencies who rent out really used cars at really discounted fees, however one might question the safety and reliability of such cars, and what transpires in case of a breakdown. Also, not sure if these companies cross borders. Some rental companies, as I recall in Germany and Austria, prohibit taking their cars into Italy.For rentals of six months, Peugot, I believe has a sell and buyback plan that some have found to be OK, however it is to and from Paris.Let us know what you find as there are quite a few folks in a similar situation.Good luck,Fred 

 Thanks for prompt response Fred.  After some considerable research I have to admit defeat.  The car hire companies have won.  No firm that I can find is willing to negotiate the one way fee.  What I have found out is Ryan air could fly us from Barcelona to Milan for as low as 20 euro per person.   Am yet to research the train costs and schedule but can't imagine that rail costs will be that high making a combo plane and train the way to go.essle 

Sorry, Essle, but a car with a Spanish registration cannot be re-hired in Italy. There is not such a thing - as yet - as a EU registration, which would solve that problem. The companies have to send the car back to Spain and this is the reason for the higher one way fee. Within Italy, you will also be charged a one way fee. Always try to choose large cities or airports for pick up and drop off. It may save you some money. 

Fred's advice is excellent. Train travel in Europe is very convenient. Cars can be a problem to access most cities and parking is expensive. On the other hand, train stations are centrally located and well connected. If you are going to travel extensively within Europe, Eurailpass may be a solution.

Train Travel If you plan things properly, you can spend many of your nights travelling on sleeper trains.  This has the advantage of giving you more days to 'sightsee' and the costs are offset by the savings in hotels/car hire/petrol/tolls etc etc I once [using a Cooks European Timetable' (see for an example)] planned a 4 week Eupean Tour for an Aussise friend than only required staying in hotels if you wanted more than 1 day in any city - which obviously you will ned to do

In reply to by alan h

Alan,you remind us of our much younger days, 45+ years ago, when we toured parts of Europe annually, doing just what you describe. We planned trips that would go from one city to another that entailed an overnight to save the hotel cost many times. In some cities we would rent a car for a day or two to be able to tour outside the larger cities. Most large train depots have tourist booths that can guide one to nearby hotels and even make the reservation. They also have storage lockers where one can leave larger pieces of luggage for a day or two and one can then travel lightly outside the city by bus if one does not want to rent a car.The whole process requires traveling "light" and utilizing laundry facilites in various cities. One also might pack drinks and sandwich makings and "picnic" on the train. As Gala mentioned, a Europass might be the answer and, I believe, a Europass entitles one to first class compartments(?).One other aspect (good or bad) of train travel is the opportunity to meet other folks, some of whom might even be native to the country within which one is traveling. However, during the tourist season, one is more likely to encounter other tourists. One should be extra cautious with one's luggage, purses, backpacks, etc. on trains as they are "hunting grounds" for certain types of "characters " who travel around Europe looking for "easy pickin's."Fred 

Hi essle My husband and I spent a month in Italy about the same time of year in 2012. We looked at all the car options including the buy-back options of a new car after minimum 3 weeks use etc. In the end, in agreement with other posts, we  really enjoyed a combination of planes, trains and automobiles (and ferries) literally! I has really wanted to take a train from France via Switzerland to get to Bellagio, but this was VERY expensive as it turned out, so we arrived into Milan by plane from Paris (€39). We then took a very pleasant train to Varenna and the ferry over to Bellagio. After Bellagio we caught a bus to Lecco and hired a car and drove north up through alps and then thru the Dolomites for a few days, which was fantastic, and then  made our way to Treviso and left the hire car here after a few days driving to beautiful local places. We then caught a bus to Venice, and after this, a train to Bologna, and then to Florence, and here we hired a car and drove around Tuscany for a week, returning the car to Florence and catching a train to naples..for Amalfi.. etc etc...!  I costed all of this out carefully, and in the end, this was the most enjoyable, least expensive, least difficult and most time efficient way to thoroughly enjoy Italy for a month!  We found car hire places at central locations to easily get out of the big cities so as to avoid the local traffic zone fines etc....happy to help! anna