For me, using a car as the main mode of transport is the best way to experience and see a new destination. It allows the freedom to go and see what you like and also provides some what of your own space, plus being away from tour groups is s a bonus. However it is worth noting that driving in foreign countries may not be for everyone, you have to be a reasonably confident driver and it doesn’t hurt to  do a bit of research into the countries driving rules, conditions and expectations.

When reviewing the option of car hire the following factors should be considered;

  • Duration of Hire
  • One way or return
  • License requirements
  • Road conditions at the time of travel
  • Luggage requirements
  • People requirements
  • Travel insurance conditions

It is important to understand the above before committing to hiring a car. If you are happy and confident enough to go down the car hire route there are a few options out there, including;

  • Short term hire
  • Car lease (Europe)

When selecting the best option the duration of hire will be the determining factor will be time. For short hire your typical car hire companies are probably the best option with the main things to consider including one way fees, GPS, additional mileage and consideration for miscellaneous pick up and drop off fees if their are any.

For long term hire in Europe car leasing is the best option, although they have limited pick-up and return options they provide great rates and excellent vehicles.

When deciding on car hire as a mode of transport it is important to take the following into consideration cost wise;

  • Tolls
  • Parking Fees
  • Petrol

All three of the above will vary largely depending on the country that you are visiting and it pays to research sites like Viamichelin.com which will provide a good starting point. For me the best way to calculate the total daily cost of the vehicle is to make allowances based on the above in the following format.

  • Tolls – this should be worked out on a per Km basis and although it is not possible to tell exactly how many Km’s you will be driving allowing 10 – 15% extra to what you think will help.
  • Parking fees – should be allowed on a daily basis and like all things if you dont have to pay for parking it is a bonus that can be used to cover petrol and toll costs which may vary.
  • Petrol – should also be worked out on a per Km basis. Again this can be done by understanding the Kms you will be travelling and multiplying by the L/100km you expect to receive from the car.

All of the above costs combined with the car hire price will provide you with a wholistic cost of the car hire and it may surprise you what it actually costs.

The below image shows a simple example of a calculation that i use.

Rate Calculator

Ensure to always include the three items above as car hire is one that can easily blow out. It is also worth noting that the above works on the ‘Swings & Round-abouts’ theory in that some days will be more expensive than others, e.g. parking one night may be free and the next it might be $50.


  • Amount of KM’s you will travel