Minimum age requirements for renting a car

If you're planning a trip either at home or abroad, for work or pleasure, it can be tricky to negotiate transport options to make sure you get the best deal and reach your destination in the best time, that's convenient for you. Then there's the thorny issue of how to get around once you reach your destination, with public transport not always an option if you're going to a foreign country. We love our taxi cabs, but it's not a cheap way to get from A to B. Lots of people get their drivers license at age 17, but don't bother to buy a car, particularly with expensive insurance. This is where renting a car becomes the ideal option for one off trips, both on home ground or in a foreign land. As long as your license is valid and you meet the minimum age requirements for renting a car in your country of choice, it’s a great way to go.

Why is it best to rent a car?

There are practical and financial reasons why car rental is a good option. Relying on public transport isn't easy if you don't speak the lingo, with ticket options often complicated, particularly if travelling by trains. In small towns and villages, even in the UK, public transport can be sparse, run for the convenience of the townspeople commuting to and from work, not tourists. In the most off the beaten track locations, with idyllic chocolate box facades and welcoming inns for weary travelers, there may be no public buses or trains at all. Taxis tend to be the preserve of the Brit abroad, but it is a costly way to travel, and if you're not careful, as a tourist you could be an easy mark for being ripped off, with unscrupulous drivers charging over the odds for foreign travelers. You can avoid this by renting a car (auto noleggio), and better yet, you'll know the price up front, as most firms charge a flat daily or weekly fee, and after that you only have to pay the price of petrol, so there will be no nasty surprises in store. Just make sure to keep your receipts if you do top up the tank.

Getting it right first time

Always check the rules on renting a car before you travel, as the legal driving age varies from country to country. Different car rental firms have their own rules. In the UK its 17, in some parts of Europe the age limit is 21, whereas in some its 25. Most firms will charge extra for "high risk" drivers, i.e., the under 25s, so it'll be cheaper if your designated driver is 26 or above. Other things to watch out for is how long the driver needs to have held a license for before they can rent a car - in the UK it's 36 months, and almost all firms will require you to book and pay with a credit card. To get the best deal, shop around online before you buy. There are price comparison sites specializing in car rental to help you easily decipher all the costs up front.


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