Car Lease? Europe? Short term? If you’re trying to figure out your short-term car lease, Europe has some great options. It can be expensive renting a car in Europe for your vacation. However, having a short-term car lease in Europe is an alternative that can save you hundreds of dollars, read on to find out more.
Leasing a Car in Europe – Short Term
If you live outside Europe, short-term car lease options may be a better choice than renting a car. In this article we look at when to lease a car vs. when renting a car in Europe might be better. Three questions to help you determine which would be the better option renting a car in Europe or a short-term car lease for your European vacation:
Are you a non-European resident? Leasing is only available to non-residents – except for certain companies.
Will you be in Europe for longer than 17 days? The minimum lease period is 17 days and the savings get better the longer you rent. The daily rate decreases the longer the term of the rental so with a long-term car lease, Europe is your oyster.
Will you be traveling to multiple countries? Often renting a car in Europe has additional charges to cross the border with a rental car. If you plan to visit multiple countries, a lease can save you quite a bit of money over the option of renting.
If you answered yes to these questions, then leasing might save you a lot of money.
As a non-resident of Europe, staying longer than 17 days and planning to visit multiple countries, a short term car lease may be a better option for you than renting a car in Europe. So, let’s look at what else you need to know.
The Benefits of Short-Term Car Leasing in Europe
The benefits of leasing a car over renting a car in Europe include:
- A new car of your choice
- Fully-insured, no deductibles
- You can pick it up and drop it off in a range of cities across Europe
- You can drive it across multiple countries in Europe
- All with no additional fees or hidden surprises
Lease A New Car of Your Choice in Europe
Arranging for a car lease in Europe for short-term use is a bit like new car shopping. You decide the make, model and features you need in advance and then arrange your lease.
Renault, Peugeot, Citroen and, to a lesser extent, Volkswagen all offer a non-European resident lease programs. You select the make and model.
Additional options include:
- Manual or automatic
- Diesel or Petrol (Gasoline)
- Car seats
- Roof racks
- And a range of other options
The options and lease must be arranged before your arrival and usually you will pay in advance. You can select from a wide range of makes, models and options. The car will be brand new, just like you picked it up from a new car dealer. The advantage of leasing over renting a car in Europe is you will know exactly what you are getting in advance and the cost.
Fully-insured, $0 Deductible or Excess Across Europe
The lease gives you a brand new, fully-insured car ($0 deductible) to use for the duration of your trip. The car is registered in your name at the address on your driver’s license. The car is fully-insured with $0 deductible and you are provided the insurance documentation in your own name. Free roadside assistance is also included should you have any issues.
Unlike renting a car in Europe, additional drivers are allowed and included in the cost, so if you’re thinking of short-term car leasing, Europe is the place for it. There is a long list of countries where you are permitted to take the car. This list is most of the countries in the European Union (EU), but be sure to check where you want to go is on the list. Some of the countries that are not full member states in the EU (mainly Eastern Europe) may not be on the list.
When you cross a border by road or if you are pulled over, you are often asked to show registration and insurance information. This will be in your name matching the address on your driver’s license.
Range of Pick-up and Drop-Off Options
Pick-up and drop-off within France is usually free, charges may apply for other cities or countries. Booking early can provide discounts, free days and reduced pick-up and drop-off fees. It also provides a greater selection of cars.
The fees are disclosed at the time you arrange the lease. Pick-up and drop-off locations do not have to be the same location. You might choose to pick it up in Paris and then drop it off in Italy. Then, you would incur a drop-off fee for Italy.
These fees are usually much lower than a one-way car hire (Europe) and you will know the total cost ahead of time.
Some Other Considerations
Here are some more things to consider when looking at car rentals in Europe.
Diesel or Petrol (Gasoline)
If you will be driving long distances, you may want to consider leasing a diesel vehicle. Diesel cars in Europe are very fuel efficient and diesel petrol is cheaper (at the time of writing this article). Diesel cars are typically 20 euro cents cheaper per liter, or about 1 euro per US gallon. While this may not sound like a lot, it is a difference of about 8 Euros more at the pump for a full tank of gasoline.
This site allows you to check the price of petrol and diesel for a wide range of countries in Europe. A tank of diesel will cost you less and drive you further than petrol (gasoline) does.
Keep in mind fuel in Europe may be quite a bit more expensive than you are used to at home, especially if you are American.
A GPS built into the car can be very convenient if traveling to countries where you don’t speak the language or they don’t use the Roman alphabet. The car will continue to give you turn-by-turn instructions despite the fact you are unable to read the local signs.
The data, mapping and voice instructions may be more reliable than trying to use your phone. If you want to rely on your phone, remember you will need a data connection. Roaming charges can be quite expensive when you travel and using your phone for real-time map data can result in a bill of hundreds of dollars.
Tolls and Vignettes
Europe has lots of tolls! Many countries also use vignettes. A vignette is a sticker you need to put in your car to travel on many of the main highways in a country. The rules vary by country as do the fees. Some will issue a 1-day, 1-week, or 1-month pass, while for others it is an annual pass.
Often you will be stopped upon entering a country to organize the vignette. You need to factor the cost of tolls and vignettes into your budget and travel costs estimate. Rome2Rio or the Via Michelin site can help you with estimates for tolls.
Parking is often difficult in Europe. The roads and spaces are better suited to small cars. Parking can be restricted or expensive in some cities and villages. Keep this in mind when selecting your make and model.
Learn More about Short Term Car Leasing in Europe
Many people don’t know there is a short term car leasing program for non-European residents and think renting a car in Europe is the only option. If you think this seems too good to be true, the benefit to the manufacturer is, after a car has been leased through this program it can be sold as ‘used’ which reduces the taxes, similar to selling demonstrator cars in other countries.
To learn more and see current offers and pricing check:
- Auto Europe offers Peugeot leasing across Europe. Click here to see options and current pricing.
- To lease a brand new Renault in Europe check Renault Eurodrive for leasing options and current pricing.
- Compare the cost of leasing to the full costs of renting a car in Europe using our handy checklist for budget car rentals – it will help you compare the true cost, fees and all, of renting vs. leasing a car in Europe.
Final Thoughts on Leasing a Car in Europe
With your travel tips in hand and all the information you’ll need for successfully leasing a car in Europe, you’re ready to go! Whether you choose to rent or lease a car, it’s always good to stay informed and prepare thoroughly for your trip. If you decided on a short term lease, Europe has so many options to suit your travel plans.
Let us know what else you’d like to know about traveling through Europe!
This is such a great idea. I had no clue that short-term leasing was possible. It sounds like a great way to save some cash.
If you are there for more than 3 weeks it is a deal. And a brand new car.
I had no idea that short term leasing may be a better idea! Such a great deal if you are over there long enough!
Tarah, Yes a lot of people don’t know about the program which can be a good deal depending on your travel needs.
I never rent a car for a trip in Europe, only in Asia. But my parents did and they enjoy it very much 🙂 thank you for good tips 🙂
Ria, We are the opposite! 🙂 I would never drive in Asia! Very funny.
Thanks to opening my eyes to the short-term lease option in Europe. I had no idea this existed.
Connie, We didn’t either until a Swiss expat told us. One of the best thing we ever discovered!
What a great idea! I had no idea that short-term leasing was an option over renting for periods as short as 18 days. I’m definitely checking this out next time I’m in Europe.
Kevin, Yes it is a good deal. The longer you rent the better the savings. But even on a short trip if you wan to go one way or to lots of countries it can be cheaper than renting.
I haven’t encountered the issues with being a non-resident actually, however I find not knowing how to drive a manual car the most expensive thing possible. The highest insurance is 100% worth it otherwise you might need to pay out of pocket when something happens.
You have to be a non-European resident to do a short term lease. And yes it is amazing how many places it is cheaper to rent a manual! (vs. in the USA there is no such thing as a manual rental)
Never would have thought to rent diesel. Thanks for the tip!
Holly, If you plan on covering a lot of miles (kilometers) diesel can be much more cost effective.
This sounds like a great option! Love that you can pick it up in one location and drop off in another, we always try to avoid that because it’s usually super expensive.
Angela, I agree on a rental. They usually increase the per day fee to an astronomical amount that makes it cost prohibitive. It is quite reasonable on the lease option.
These are all excellent reasons to do a short term lease in Europe. Just the fact that you can drop off at a different place alone would make me entertain this. Safety is also a big concern and it’s nice that there is no deductible..peace of mind..Nice post. 🙂
It is a great program. Especially if you are in Europe for a while and want the flexibility of a car.
Great advice! We have only rented once in Europe and it ended up being quite expensive, this is probably because it was in Switzerland though! Some good tips here though for next time.
Paul, Yes everything in Switzerland is expensive! Keep it in mind for your next trip- it might be a good option.
I have never thought of renting vehicle when travelling, Awesome guide! Maybe I should do that when heading to europe.
Bernard, It can be a good option, especially if there are a few people to share the cost.
Great tips, thank you for sharing. Parking is indeed a big problem in many european cities and can be even more expensive than the rent for the car 🙁
Tim, I agree. Even many hotels charge you to park! You have to factor those costs in as well.