Thinking Of Renting A Car In Europe? Here’s What You Need To Know

Renting A Car In Europe

Renting a car in Europe lets you explore and discover different countries and cultures. Renting a car gives you freedom to travel on your own schedule and time. You can get off the beaten path and get to smaller towns and sights with relative ease. There are potential challenges like “driving on the wrong side of the road” in the UK, different rules of the road and some country specific laws. But it’s all well worth it for the memories and potential trip of a lifetime. Here’s the short list of things to consider when you’re renting a car and driving in Europe.

Renting A Car In Europe? Book In Advance

Ca rental rates vary widely by destination and season. Generally speaking, rates are higher for any rental car company or location if you wait to book. (Especially if you walk up to a rental counter with no reservation). You will save money by paying for your car rental ahead of time. Auto Europe is one of the best options for car rentals in Europe. They’ve been in business over 60 years with more than 20,000 locations in 180 countries. They work with well known car rental companies and provide unbeatable rates on car rentals. You can book your car rental as soon as you book your trip with the option to modify or cancel your booking if your plans change.

Beyond the large highways in Europe, most roads are tight and winding. And parking is tight and tricky with limited street parking and small parking lots. A smaller car, typical in Europe, is the best way to get around and easier to drive. Many cars in Europe are equipped with a manual transmission. If you don’t drive a standard/manual transmission, you’ll need to book early to make sure that you get a car equipped with an automatic transmission.

Renting A Car In Europe

Renting A Car In Europe? You’ll Need Insurance Coverage

With Auto Europe, if you select a basic rental rate your price will include value added tax (VAT), public liability insurance, fire insurance and unlimited miles. If the inclusive rate is selected, it will include everything in the basic rate plus collision damage waiver (CDW) and theft protection for the rental vehicle. I definitely recommend the inclusive rate specifically to have full CDW and theft protection on your rental car. If you rely on credit card coverage or your own car insurance, you may not have enough coverage and/or you may have to pay in full for a claim and then seek reimbursement.

Renting A Car In Europe? You Might Need an International Driver’s Permit

Many European countries—like the United Kingdom and Ireland—recognize North American driver’s licenses. However, other countries—like Italy, Germany, and Spain—require that you possess and carry an International Driving Permit (IDP). The IDP is proof that you possess a valid driver’s license. It also translates your driving qualifications into ten of the world’s most commonly used languages, and allows travellers to drive in over 150 different countries.

You can get an International Driver’s Permit at AAA (U.S.) and CAA (Canada) for a nominal fee, and you only need proof of your driver’s license to apply.

Renting A Car In Europe? Be Prepared For the Unexpected

The unexpected can of course happen anywhere and at anytime. Be aware of what’s covered by the rental car agency if you have an accident or your car breaks down. Most offer some form of roadside assistance in the event of a break down. Traffic tickets and toll fees will naturally be billed to you if you don’t pay locally.

If your rental car is involved in an accident, it is imperative that you contact local authorities immediately. A valid police report is always required, regardless of how minor the accident is. The second number you should contact is the one listed on your car rental key chain. For further protection, take pictures of all the damage done to your rental car and any other parties involved.

Having your cell phone activated for use in Europe is a must for driving directions, destination information and in the case of emergency. A SIM card saves on roaming and data charges while keeping you connected. TravelSIM is my choice because its prepaid (providing cost control), works in over 170 countries and incoming calls and messages are free. Between driving and blog support, I need coverage while in Europe.

Renting A Car In Europe?

Renting A Car In Europe? Find Out the Rules of the Road

The autobahn actually exists in Austria and Germany where the drivers follow a strict code. The left lane is for passing only (most cars will be travelling at more than 160 km/per hour). The middle lane is for the average driver – 120-160 km/per hour. Anything slower is on the right lane.

In the UK, you drive on the left side of the road , and you pass on the right side. There are also numerous roundabouts where you need to know which exit you are taking ahead of time.

Turning right on a red light is not permitted anywhere in Europe, unless there’s a sign that indicates otherwise.

Renting A Car In Europe? Other Things To Know

  1. It’s not a bad idea to buy a traditional paper map as backup. Maps are readily available at gas stations and highway stops. Google Maps or offline maps work but you may not have service or data in remote areas.
  2. Most tolls can be paid by coins, cash or credit card. Some countries like Austria and Switzerland require the purchase of vignettes (driving stickers) that need to be displayed in your front window. They are readily available at gas stations and road side stores.
  3. Getting gas in Europe typically requires that you pay in advance before pumping.
  4. Parking in Europe varies greatly by town and city. Parking can be free, pay via parking meter or require a parking permit. Pay attention when you park or you will invariably get a ticket.
  5. You’ll get comfortable driving in no time. Enjoy the trip, lookout for great places to stop and enjoy the views!

Auto Europe Car Rental

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7 Things To Consider Before Travelling

7 Things To Consider Before Travelling

Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash

Getting out there and seeing what the wider world has to offer is something that everyone should do in their lives. We do like the comfort of our own homes and our own areas, so it can be a difficult prospect for many, but it’s completely worth it. You may think you’ve seen a lot in your life, but if you venture out onto the other side of the planet, you’ll see how wrong you were.

On earth, there are a vast amount of cultures and traditions that you couldn’t even fathom as you sit in the comfort of your lovely home, and your mind is truly broadened by experiencing them. Earth is also home to some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes and monuments you could imagine.

If you’re seriously thinking about dropping everything and heading on a long-term trip around a particular continent (or two!), then it’s not just a case of hopping on some public transport and haplessly heading on your merry way – it takes a bit of thought and some real commitment.

You’ve gotten this far, so you probably have a vision in your mind of hiking through unknown areas and feeling the goosebumps as you gaze upon some of the views. Want to do it? Well, before you make a move, you have to get a bunch of things in order. Let’s go through some now.  

Make Sure You’re Ready Mentally

The first point isn’t exactly one of the formalities, but it is vital. It’s a big step and a big commitment, and if you’ve never done anything like this before, then it may be more and more nerve-wracking and overwhelming as the time draws nearer. It’s hard to battle your inner thoughts, but just know that this experience will better your life!  

Do A Little Research

It goes without saying that you should know what you’re getting into – you’re about to head into places very much unlike what you’re used to. It can be a fun little session, however, as you get to look into all of the exciting places that you could potentially visit. If you’re not in tune with the travelling scene at all, then this is a good time to soak up as much knowledge as you can. There’s no real set way of doing things, so you can absolutely come up with your own method after learning a thing or two.

Plan Your Entire Trip

As we mentioned before, you can’t just book a flight or a train and go walking around without first having a set plan of doing things – you need to have everything set out, and it will need to be as airtight as possible so that you don’t manage to make a mess of anything. It may be a little boring but preparation is key.   

Make Sure You Have The Money!

Another obvious point here, but if you don’t have the funds to get yourselves successfully around then you’re going to be in a bit of a pickle. Look into your budget and see what you can and cannot do – you might think you have the money, but there may be some costs that you haven’t taken into account, so be careful.

Find Places To Stay

As you make your way around, you’ll need places to rest and rehabilitate before you get out and do more exploring – you’re not just going to sleep on the streets. A lot of people on their travels aren’t exactly made of money, so they’ll find cheaper overnight stays like couch surfing at places or staying in hostels. There are, of course, more luxurious ways if you’re that way inclined – if you’re travelling through some Asian countries, you could, for example, research some monthly rental in Singapore or Malaysia and see if that fits your criteria. Having a place to sleep at night is vital if you want to have some energy for the days and weeks ahead.      

Vaccinations

When you enter certain parts of the world, you’ll find that they differ from your home. Unfortunately, on the other side of the planet, there are some serious diseases that can be spread around, and if you’re not protected against them, then they could do some serious damage. It’s wise to go to your doctor and let them help you. You should get vaccinated about four to six weeks before travelling.

Remember To Take Photos!

Finally, and this one is less of a stress, bring your camera or keep your phone charged up! It’s nice to have the memories stored in your mind’s eye, but having tangible proof of being somewhere is lovely too. You’re bound to make wonderful memories and capturing them forever would compound the delight! Also, if you’re a bit of social media person, then your friends and followers may get a kick out of your jollies!

Turkish Hammam Experience Is One Of A Kind

Turkish Hammam

You have likely heard of the Turkish hammam even if you have not traveled to Turkey. Hammam is a unique public bath and has been a part of Turkish social culture for hundreds of years. The concept was largely developed during the Ottoman Empire inspired by Roman baths. There are similar concepts in other cultures such as Finnish saunas, Russian baths or banyas but the Turkish hammam is unique in many ways. In Turkish hammams, the air is steamy. In hammams, you will be washed by washers called tellak who exfoliate, massage and wash you! Tellaks are usually of the same sex as the person being washed. While your tellak is preparing to wash you, you are given a hammam bowl to fill with hot water from marble sinks and pour it over your head to start your bathing experience. You can leave the rest to your tellak!

Turkish Hammam

The architecture of hammams is also very unique. A traditional hammam has three interconnected rooms. The first one is the hot room, then the warm room and finally the cold room. The hot room usually has a large dome with glass windows. There is usually a large heated marble table in the middle of the room and fountains in the corners. In this room, you get exposed to steam and get exfoliated. The warm room is for washing with soap and water after the exfoliation and finally the last room is to relax and perhaps sip a Turkish tea.

Going to a Turkish hammam is not only a unique bathing experience but it is also a social one. People of the same sex get together in Turkish hammams and share intimate stories. It is almost like a therapy session where the bathgoers open up to each other. An environment where people let their guards down and relax like nowhere else! Think about it, you are half naked with a group of strangers in a hot steamy environment wrapped in your Turkish towel also known as the peshtemal. Wouldn’t you let your guard down?

Turkish Hammam

This is a physical and a spiritual awakening. By the end of this experience, your body and your skin are rejuvenated and purified or, at least, that’s how you feel! The exfoliation and the massage are probably stronger than what you experience in North American spas and can sometimes be a bit painful but you can tell your tellak the intensity you prefer.

If you’re planning to visit Turkey anytime soon, you should definitely add the hammam experience on your list of things to do. Istanbul probably has the most gorgeous hammams you will find in Turkey but other cities such as Edirne, Bursa and Eskisehir also have renowned hammams to discover. Cagaloglu and Cemberlitas hammams in Istanbul, Saray hammam in Edirne, historic Eski Kaplica hammam in Bursa, Ferah hammam in Eskisehir are some of the most traditional ones but your hotel might even have a hammam within their facilities!

This blog post was provided by Shopping Blue. They share a passion for travel and  connect the Mediterranean with those who are passionate about this region and its products.