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The Ultimate Guide to renting a car in Europe Hints, Tips & Advice

The Ultimate Guide to renting a car in Europe Hints, Tips & Advice

*Disclosure: Elena’s travels blogs receives compensation from affiliate links to generate income to offset costs mainly for travel expenses.

 

Why Rent a Car in Europe

Renting a car in Europe make it so easy to literally get off the beaten track and check out areas you didn’t even know existed. Deciding to renting a car in Europe not only will make your trip easier, but also more memorable for the unique opportunities it would give you.

Here’s why road tripping in Europe is the best way to travel!

It is the best way to discover more places in the countries you’re visiting, places where you wouldn’t get so easily (if at all) without a car and it’s the perfect way to go on a road trip and stop in picturesque places to take photos. However, a lot of people think it’s too difficult or too expensive, so here I am to give you all the information, advice, hints and tricks that you need to know about car rentals in Europe.

Probably the best reason for renting a car in Europe is the flexibility you get by driving instead of taking other public transportation. Busses and trains are limited to set stops and from there its difficult to wander off the beaten track. Moreover, renting a car allows you to explore wherever you want.

The most amazing thing about road trip in Europe  is that the region has so many small countries close together. Within hours you can be in a new country, experiencing a new culture, tasting an entirely new food and zipping between countries becomes even easier by car. Plus, it’s so much easier to toss your luggage into the back of a car than lug it through the streets.

One more thing about renting a car is that you are able to take off and arrive when you want. You can sleep in the next morning and leave later and you can grab breakfast or lunch on the way. It’s all up to you!

Last but not least, road tripping in Europe is great because you are able to pick it up in one spot and drop it off in another. No longer do you need to pick and return at the same location, now you can make a trip that suits your trip itinerary.

Advice for renting a car in Europe

  •  Get your documents in order

    If you don’t have a passport, it will take at least four to six weeks from the time of application for you to receive one. Already have a passport? Check its expiration date. The last thing you need is to find out your passport has expired just before your holidays begin.

    All car rental companies require drivers to have valid licenses in their home country, so you’ll also want to check the expiration date of your license. Some car rental companies also require an international driving permit for European rentals in addition to a valid driver’s license.

  •  Establish a budget

    Establish a budget as early as possible – even before you know your destination, travel dates or itinerary. Some destinations are generally cheaper than others, but there are ways to save everywhere: travel in the off season, pick budget accommodations, plan a shorter trip. Set your budget early on, and you’ll avoid any disappointment that could come from forging a fabulous itinerary, like two weeks in the French Riviera during summer, and then discovering you can’t afford it.

  •  Pick a destination

    Now that you know how much you can spend, where do you want to go? If you’re like many travellers (including me!) and you have a huge list of places in Europe you want to visit, this could be tricky.

  • Create a rough itinerary

    So you want to go to Greece, eh? Don’t go ahead and buy a roundtrip flight to Athens and a hotel room – at least, not yet. You’ll want to sketch out a day-by-day itinerary of your perfect trip to Greece before you book a thing. Research sites and cities you really want to explore, and then figure out which ones you have the time and budget to get to.

  • Always make your bookings in advance

    Flight tickets will probably be the most expensive part of your trip so you’ll want to book it before anything else (car rental, hotel, etc.). This will allow you to be more flexible with your dates, which is a great way to save money on your flight. You can also spend less by flying on charter airlines.

    It’s time to go back to that rough itinerary you noted and fill in some places to sleep. As is the case with pretty much everything you book for your trip, the earlier you make arrangements, the better – especially during summer high season.

  • Book a car insurance

    Prefer buying a car insurance from carinsurent.com  which is the best in the market and feel free to use my Coupon code

    elenastravelsblog15offcarinsurent if you want a unique 15% DISCOUNT.

    Their excess insurance policies provide cover for damage, theft, fire and vandalism charges up to $2,500 and includes damage to vulnerable parts of the vehicle such as tyres, roof, windscreen and undercarriage which are often excluded by the rental companies’ equivalent cover. Policies are available on both a daily and annual basis and start from as little as US$4.50 per day and US$ 49.90 per year.

Hints and Tips for Renting a Car in Europe

  • Rental cars providers in Europe aren’t expensive.  You can search and compare car rentals on Ticketseller via Auto Europe
  • Booking a rental car is a really easy process. Simply put in your details, dates, locations, car preferences and press search. Bookings can be made with a credit card and you’ll receive the receipt and car rental voucher straight to your inbox.
  • Get quotes for weekly rentals
  • Double-check currency conversions when comparing prices
  • Pay upfront for the car
  • Choosing a Pick-Up & Drop-Off Place and Time
  • Video or Photograph the Car for Previous Damages
  • Avoid Calling Rental Cars at Airports or Major Train Stations
The beginner’s guide to train travel in Europe

The beginner’s guide to train travel in Europe

Traveling by train in Europe is an experience itself. It’s relaxing, you can see beautiful parts of the countries you travel through and it can also be a great way to meet people.

While it’s mostly an ideal way to get from place to place, there can be some minor hiccups with the system. Below is a basic guide to train travel in Europe and tips for avoiding pricey mistakes or confusion.

For those who are new to my blog you can easily find everything I’ve written about  cities in Europe by using the search tag in sidebar. I hope everything that I’ve posted can inspire you to travel and help you plan your next big trip! Feel free to ask any questions as well.

Throughout Europe, domestic trains (traveling entirely within a single country) don’t require a reservation, so it can be easy to wake up and decide you want to hit a new city. Just arrive at the station before the train leaves, purchase a ticket and climb aboard!

 

Having said that, especially during tourist season, trains can fill-up and last minute tickets can be expensive.

Depending on the country you are departing in, make sure you check for availability online. One of the best resources for checking train schedules is Rail Europe.
Check train times online and book international train travel in advance if possible.

While flying is almost always faster, there are pains that come with it. Long security lines, cramped seating, baggage fees and an inability to socialise are all annoyances that are avoided with train travel.

European trains are known for their punctuality – on time over 90% of the time. You can bring what you can carry (and more if you really want to), there are no pesky liquids restrictions, you have room to move around, there are sleeper carriages for long journeys and you can be social with your neighbours and you can travel with your pet – always on leash and muzzled only when hop on/off to the train-.

Airports are pretty easy to navigate. Upon check-in, you know exactly what gate to go to and there are numerous signs to guide you there. Trains, however, can be a little more confusing. There are so many trains going through Europe  with multiple trains passing on the same track minutes apart.

Make sure you know exactly what track your train is arriving on and the train number as a train to Madrid may arrive 10 minutes before your train to Paris and, before you know it, you’re in Spain. If you’re ever unsure, there is typically always someone at an information desk around that can help.

And don’t be shy! Locals are often very friendly and willing to help out as well.

The weather is often a major contributor to why flights are often delayed or even canceled. This is another very annoying and almost too frequent inconvenience with flying. Trains usually are free of these hassles and get you to your destination on time regardless of the weather.

However, European railways are known for their strikes. Be sure to pay attention to the news and ask around if there is word of a strike on the verge of taking place. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about it if there is. In case it does happen, buses are usually available.

Now that you have your train ticket, what are you supposed to do with it?

Many train tickets need to be validated (stamped with time/date) before boarding the train since they’re open tickets for train travel between two destinations and not for a specific train or time.

There are machines at the station, usually located on the train track. You just stick your ticket in and the machine stamps it. You could receive a fine if that train conductor sees that you neglected to do so and they will think you are trying to ride for free. Try to avoid the “I’m a silly tourist and didn’t know that rule” moment even though they will likely let it slide if you do forget.

Also, most trains have assigned cars for 1st and 2nd class so make sure you know what car you are assigned. It’s not fun being booted out of your seat after you’re all settled in or worse, asleep!

 

Overall train travel in Europe is fun and easy! Be sure to do a bit of pre-planning and enjoy the ride!

 

European expat guide in the UK

European expat guide in the UK

 

Are you an European who wants to expatriate  in the UK ? here it’s the ultimate European expat guide and everything you need to know.

Some quick facts: the United Kingdom consists of England, Wales, Scotland and the Northern Ireland; UK is one of the most powerful countries in the world; It is influential in world trade, economics and politics and also has a long and fascinating history, great architecture, great literature,  huge music and fashion industry and football. English people are very friendly  and very polite. Plus, in the UK, you can never be more than 70 miles away from the sea!!!

But, enough said and let’s now see what someone needs to do in order to come in the UK and stay.

First step in this  expat guide in the UK is to get a UK SIM card even before start looking for a job here.

Your resume will look more professional and you can have a UK SIM card either by asking friends or family in the country to buy it for you and send it to you or by buying a UK SIM card from ebay.

One more plus is whether you can show a UK address in your resume, even if it would be for the first  1 or 2 weeks.

Assuming in this expat guide you are European, there are great chances that you are both speaking another European language and English, hence it would be easier for you to get a job that involves your speaking skills.

For me, the best job website is  europelanguagejobs.com and it is very easy to use.

You can sign up either as a candidate or as a company, but here let’s assume that you are a candidate reading this guide.

You can sign up using either your Facebook account, your LinkedIn account (my preferred option) or your google plus account. If you haven’t any of these accounts, you can simply sign up by using your email.

Then, you can build your profile on Europe language jobs by adding name, surname, contact number, region, sector and of course your resume among other things. You can also add your skills in a separate section and your languages you are speaking. What’s more, you can link your profile with any other profiles or blogs or websites you have so companies can have  access to your work and know you better as a person.

As you proceed completing your profile to the europelanguagejobs.com you earn points and this will help you to be visible to more and more companies.

When you complete your profile, the Europe language jobs will match job vacancies with your profile and all you have to do is to apply to any of these jobs that appeals to you.

You can also watch your applications and last but not least, you can read many interesting posts on their blog such as how to dress for a interview or advice and tips for a successful interview. They are really helpful and informative.

Get interviews

When the interview will come, it is most preferably to book the first interview via Skype or FaceTime. If there is no such option with the company policy, then book a date at least after 2 weeks, just to have plenty of time to prepare yourself and find a cheap airfare ticket.

Search for a flight

Immediately after you have arranged an interview, you should start looking for an airfare ticket. There are plenty of sites on the Internet to search for a cheap flight but if you need some help with the flights explorer, you should go and check my previous post.

Go to interviews

You should try and book your flight at least 2  days ahead of your interview so you have plenty of time to get to know the route from wherever you stay to the company’s premises and how much time it will take you to be there. Of course, you can always use google maps or any other navigation app. Plus, if you arrive 2 days before the interview, you will have the chance to practice your english and on the day of your interview, you will talk fluent.

Search for  accommodation

Research, research, research by asking any friends or  family who already live in the country, join Facebook pages that connect people on the area you are looking to stay and/or read one of my latest posts on best places to look for an accommodation.

Get a bank account

Let’s assume you  have passed the interview and you have been accepted.

Now it is time to visit a bank and open a bank account. You can ask the company that  hired you for more information on this one but generally speaking it is not a difficult process. You will only need your passport, a proof of address and your job contract.

Get a NINo

You can only apply for a National Insurance Number once you’re in the UK. You must have the right to work or study in the UK to get a National Insurance number. After your application, Job centre Plus may write to you and ask you to come to an interview where you’ll be asked about your circumstances and why you need a National Insurance number.

The letter will also tell you which documents to bring to prove your identity, eg:

– passport or identity card

– residence permit

– birth (or adoption) certificate

– marriage or civil partnership certificate

– driving licence

You’ll be told at the interview how long it’ll take to receive your National Insurance number.

Register yourself to a GP and your pet to a vet

General Practitioners deal with a whole range of health problems. They also provide health education, offer advice on smoking and diet, run clinics, give vaccinations and carry out simple surgical operations.

When you settle in on a flat or apartment in your chosen area, you’ll have to formally register as an NHS patient by submitting a registration form.

When you have completed and returned the form, NHS England will transfer your medical records to your new practice and write to you to confirm your registration as a patient with that practice.

Parents or guardians can register a baby at a practice by completing and presenting a form, which is issued at the same time as a birth certificate.

Some GP practices may ask for proof of identity so it is good to have your passport with you when you register, especially when you register children in your care.  However, registration and appointments should not be withheld from you on the basis that you don’t have the necessary proof of address or personal identification at hand. It is not considered a reasonable ground to refuse registration.

For those with four furry legs  friends.

If you have a dog, your dog should have a 15-digit microchip,  will need a rabies vaccination after the microchip is implanted and more than 21 days prior to entry but not more than the expiration date of the manufacturer of the vaccine and it must be treated against certain tapeworms one to five days prior to entering the country. You should also have the EU pet passport.

Bear in mind that the following breeds or their mixes are not permitted to enter the UK: Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa Inu or American Staffordshire Pit Bull Terrier. Also some kinds of American Bulldogs have been found to be Pit Bulls. It is illegal to enter the UK with any of these breeds or their mixes.

Hope you find my expat guide helpful and informative and I hope I answered most of your questions in the topic.

Feel free to leave your comments, questions and/or ideas on the comment section down below, on my Facebook page or on my Twitter.

With love, Elena

 

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