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  1. K. Zeich
    July 26, 2018 @ 6:32 am

    I’m traveling with my 3 teens and am considering a car rental for 2 in Florence so we can do our own day trips on our own time. Plus, our hotel is outside the city. Thoughts on driving to Pisa, Lucca and/Sienna?


    • Ali Garland
      August 1, 2018 @ 10:44 am

      Hi Katie! I’ve never driven in Italy…honestly, it kind of scares me! But I’m sure it’s not that bad, and I actually would like to try driving around Italy one of these days. If you are from outside the EU, I’ve read that Italy requires an international driving permit (if you’re from the US, you can get one from AAA) though the people I know who have driven there said the rental agencies didn’t ask about it, it’s just if you get pulled over by the police. Also keep in mind that most rental cars will be manual transmission, so if you want/need an automatic, book ahead and expect to pay more. Parking can be tough in the center of most cities, and gas is usually more expensive than in the US. Also, keep in mind that Pisa, Lucca, and Siena are all easy to get to from Florence by train, and the local trains are pretty inexpensive. Check out the Tren Italia site here in English for prices and times, might help you make your decision.

  2. traveljunkie
    September 18, 2013 @ 9:14 am

    And most importantly for US drivers planning to drive in the UK – we drive on the left, that means we go round roundabouts the opposite way to you and give way to traffic from the right.

    • Ali Garland
      September 18, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

      Exactly! I can’t imagine trying to drive on the opposite side of the road and the opposite side of the car. And we hardly even have any roundabouts in the US!

  3. Lauren
    September 11, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

    Totally agree! I should send this to my aunt who always seems to rent a car during her travels. I live in LA and like you said, there’s hardly ANY convenient public transportation here…. which is partly why I fell in love with Europe so much! Especially London 🙂 I miss the tube.

    Happy travels!

    • Ali Garland
      September 14, 2013 @ 5:47 pm

      Thanks Lauren! LA does NOT seem like the kind of place you could get around in without a car, but Europe, especially the cities and the main attractions most people want to visit, is definitely a time for trains and public transportation.

  4. Jennifer
    September 11, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

    Traveling by car is actually my favorite way to explore Europe. We find the train is more expensive for two people, even with factoring in gas and tolls. Traveling by car affords us to get off-the-beaten-path and reach destinations you either can’t at all by public transport or by which it is a huge hassle to do so. Plus we’re not held by public transport timetables. For example, the train doesn’t run late enough to attend one of my favorite festivals in Venice. So the only option is to drive to Venice.

    • Ali Garland
      September 11, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

      Having the flexibility that a car gives you is certainly appealing. I think your situation is very much the exception though. You and your husband live in Italy and own a car, so you don’t have to rent one. A normal tourist would end up paying several hundred euros to rent a car plus adding in the cost of the insurance policy, gas, tolls, parking, etc. Plus a normal tourist won’t be staying someplace like where you live, so if they were traveling to Venice and were interested in something like the festival you mentioned, they would already be in Venice and wouldn’t have to worry about things like the train not running late enough. You also understand the different driving rules because you live in Europe, but someone who doesn’t live here would probably have a hard time trying to decipher the signs. As I mentioned, there are definitely times when renting a car makes sense, like exploring areas not accessible by public transportation, but for the majority of tourists who travel in cities in Europe, a car isn’t really worth it.