By Florin R Ferrs.
I love driving on vacation, but there are some countries where renting a car is not advisable, either due to mad traffic or because it’s too expensive. These countries are mainly located in Asia, from trucks driving against traffic in India to parking lot style traffic in Tokyo or Bangkok. Fortunately this leaves the rest of the world open for car lovers to rent a car during their holidays. Some countries like the USA and Canada are tailor made for the automobile and not so much for humans! But I want to focus on that other driving paradise on earth, and that means Europe.
Europe you may ask? Who would want to drive in Europe? City streets are tiny, parking is impossible, cars are all stick shift, and more importantly, public transportation is excellent and comprehensive.
We all have done Europe by rail and backpack, locking up our rucksacks in train stations to wonder a city on foot or by metro, this is all fine, and just because you decided to rent a car, doesn’t mean you will miss out on all that. Au contraire, a rental car picked up in Charles de Gaulle airport will open up a whole world of wineries and Chateaus in the countryside around Paris that were previously hidden to the train and metro set. The Idea is to enjoy the best of both worlds, so my advice is to follow this strategy: Pick up your Rental Car at the airport, then drive to the suburbs where the metro picks up commuters and hotels are half the price and include free parking. Then simply Metro into the city, enjoy the sites and metro back. If you want to hang out late in the Bastille District, a cab will take you back to your hotel or simply stay up all night until the boulangeries open at five in the morning and the smell of buttery croissants fill the cobblestoned streets of the Latin Quarter.
My Friend JJ flies to Paris at least once a year and uses this system, very successfully. This year he hooked up with vayama’s car partner CarTrawler because it offered him a one stop comparison shopping across the entire car rental companies available in Charles de Gaulle airport.
Florin: Hi JJ, how did it go in Paris with your car rental this summer?
JJ: I had a good experience in Paris with CarTrawler. Nice French or German cars and they are parked right at the terminal. None of this shuttle or automated train taking you to one end of the airport… Must take all insurances just in case! All cars are manual except for a few models that are automatic (more expensive). They always leave a free magazine in the car as well. Never understood that since you cannot drive and read at the same time!
Once you have seen central Paris on foot, it’s time to get your shiny new Renault Megane convertible and head out to Versailles, or Bordeax or south to Nice and Monaco for the best scenic roads in France, the twisting Three “Corniches” roads, offer majestic views of Monaco and the Mediterranean and have been featured in classic James Bond and Alfred Hitchcock movies.
CarTrawler offers car rentals in Most European Cities as well as South Africa and the USA.
Here are some highlights:
Paris: From $36 USD per day. Hit the Champagne Country or head south to Nice.
Vienna: From $37 USD per day, 7 days for the price of 5. Hit the Alpine roads on a roadster.
Frankfurt: From $31 per day. Fun, fun, fun on the autobahn!
Munich: From $31 per day. Rent a Bavarian Beemer and enjoy the autobahn sans speed limit.
Milan: From $37 per day. Drive out to Monza and test your Fiat in Ferrari’s track.
Johannesburg: From $17 per day. Drive to the Cape Wine Country on one of the most scenic roads on earth.