A couple of girlfriends and I wanted to do a roadtrip through Italy for about a month. I've tried researching a few car rental places and all of them seem a little pricey.
Has anyone done this before that could help?
Ideally we're looking to start at the top and make our way south. There's no real itinerary but prefer to keep the costs as low as possible. If the car idea is too expensive, we might look at rail or bus options.
Afaik, Thrifty is cheapest in Italy. They have a low-price guarantee, and in my experience are pretty serious about it. I ran a quick check, and for a month in high-season (a month not starting on a weekend day, I should add), you pay €480,- (unlimited km) and up. In my book, that's downright cheap.
If this is still too expensive, I don't think Italy is the country for you. Train for 4 pax will be more for a month, and your freedom of movement will be less. Busses are pretty much non-existent except for a few popular routes and hard-to-reach places.
Train could be cheaper in this case.
If you fly into France or Germany and then buy an international train ticket for Italy that goes Venice-Palermo this ticket would cost about 90 EUR per person. This ticket would be valid for 3 months and you could hop-on, hop-off along your preselected route as much as you want.
If you fly into Munich you'd then have to pay for a train ticket from Munich to Venice (there are specials available for 39 EUR if you book far enough in advance) and for a plane ticket from Palermo to Venice.
I've looked at the same before and realized that most of the car rental companies with websites are multinationals - while I am sure there are local agencies, they may not allow one-way rentals (or they may be just as pricey). Did you check Sixt or Easycar (two "budget" european car rental agencies)?
Without a fixed itinerary its hard to price compare, but here's where you can do some research on buses & trains:
Buses - site really sucks, you have to register before you can even browse for available tickets
Trains - site is quite good and easy to use
Save yourself the trouble: Thrifty Italy only has one-way rentals. By the way, I also failed to mention that the price I quoted in my previous post is the bare rent; a number of mandatory surcharges come on top of that. All considered, I may have been a bit too quick in writing off the train as a viable alternative. Maia's suggestion is indeed the cheapest train option.
Thanks for all your help guys. i think we may just buy a car in Munich and drive through Italy from there. If any one is keen to join in October, please let me know!
Only rent the car in Munich if you are willing to return it in Munich.
International drop-off fees are very steep, the cost of picking the car up in Munich and returning it in Rome or Naples is prohibitive for anybody on a small budget.
BTW, don't forget to buy a toll sticker for Austria in Germany at one of the petrol stations just outside Munich.
[ Edit: Edited on 16-Jun-2009, at 18:29 by t_maia ]