After various trips that involved dealing with European public transport, carrying heavy bags from stop to stop, and researching bus schedules to see which ones take us to the countryside, renting a car in Italy seemed like a dream. Renting a car in Itay allows you to explore the country for yourself, but there are a few downsides as well. If you are considering renting a car in Italy take a look at our pros vs. cons list and decide for yourself if it is worth it:
Pros and Cons of Renting a Car in Italy:
Pro: Car rentals are cheap
Italy is one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe to rent an automatic car. Sadly, neither of us can drive a 5-speed manual, so we were stuck with automatic transmission. Thankfully, Italian rental agencies made automatics much more affordable [$27 a day vs. $90 in Austria for an “economy” class vehicle].
Pro: You can come and go as you please
With public transport, your schedule is dictated to you. If the train leaves at 9am, your butt better be up and ready at 8am so you don’t miss it! Renting a car in Italy allows you to wake up when you want, leave when you want, and stay out as long as you want. No more worrying about bus timetables and if you will be trapped when services stop.
Pro: You have freedom to explore
Exploring on foot is okay. Public transport is helpful but often falls short as well. Renting a car gives you all the freedom in the world to explore the country at your leisure. This is especially good for differently abled folks who still want to see stunning landscapes but can’t hike for miles for these vistas. The freedom to explore is extremely valuable and probably the most important “pro” to renting a car.
Con: Tolls are expensive as hell
Let us repeat..tolls. are. expensive. as. hell. When we say expensive, we mean 14, 20, or even 45 euros a pop! [Who has ever seen a 45 euro toll before?! Absurd!] All that money you saved by renting a car in Italy may get sucked up in tolls if you aren’t careful. Even if you think your GPS can route you differently, you may be wrong. Expensive toll roads are everywhere so beware!
Con: You will break the bank on gas
If you get a diesel car, you will be in a little better shape. Unleaded is going to cost Americans upward of $4-5 per gallon. One of the cars we drove was a super tiny VW and it cost us $50+ to fill up each time. Our gas guzzlers back home can be filled up for that much! Between the tolls and the price of liters, your wallet will cry if you are going to be driving far.
Con: Higher likelihood for problems to occur
When you are in control of a rental for any period of time, you are in charge should any problems occur. When our rental tire blew on the side of the road leading into Turin and the rental company didn’t give us a spare, we were in charge of trying to find a person who spoke English, hiring a mechanic, finding/installing a new tire, and paying for the whole ordeal. All three gas stations in town don’t take any of your four cards and also don’t accept cash? Guess what? You are still responsible for filling up your vehicle. When you consider renting a car, think about how willing you are to deal with any problems that might occur.
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We aren’t going to tell you that you should/should not rent a car in Italy because we want you to make the decision that is best for you and your family based on our previous experiences. So, what did you decide?
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