Ever considered driving around Europe - but thought that it's too expensive? Think again.
RENT, BUY, OR IS THERE A BETTER OPTION?
When most of us plan to travel around Europe, we think public transport. But riding around on trains, buses and trams can be time consuming and only gives you a limited view of the Continent - not to mention, it can be expensive. The biggest issue though; you're missing out on the real Europe - just waiting to be discovered if only you had a car!
We set aside four months for a European road trip, and spent weeks researching the different options. We seriously considered buying a cheap car in the UK, but the insurance was very expensive. We looked into buying in France, Germany and Italy - but unless we owned a house there, it would have been difficult to get insurance (which is compulsory in most of Europe). We spent hours looking into rental cars, but most had only limited insurance, in limited countries. Anything a bit more generous was, once again, incredibly expensive.
LEASE A BRAND NEW CAR
Then we stumbled across Citroën EuroPass, a company that specialises in leasing brand new vehicles to tourists. Surely that’s too expensive, we thought? But the French Government has set up the scheme especially for visitors, and it works out to be exceptional value for money with heaps of extras such as:
Full insurance in more than 40 countries
The insurance is zero excess
Free pick up and drop off at 13 airports throughout France
If you want to pick up your car outside France, you can at 12 main airports around Europe for an extra fee.
Absolutely no hidden extras.
Combe Laval Road, France
HOW ECONOMICAL IS IT?
If you’re planning to travel for around 36 days and pick up your car in France, you can expect to pay from $48 AUD per day for a hatchback, which includes a GPS. Remember that includes everything! We simply couldn't find a rental car that we could drive all over Europe with full insurance for that price.
Wait... it gets better. The longer you book, the cheaper it gets. A 3 month lease comes down to almost $34 AUD per day and the fuel efficiency of their cars is out-of-this-world.
WHY IS IT SO AFFORDABLE?
We’re about to get a bit technical here. Brand news cars sold in France (and most other countries) incur a ‘new car tax.’ However, when Citroën leases a brand new car to you, you technically own it. So when they get the car back, it is second hand, and they don't have to pay the tax when they sell the car.
In other words, Citroën’s main form of income isn’t to lease the car to you, it’s the sale of the near new car. That means, they can offer an incredible price.
Rocca, Southern Italy
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?
Seriously consider including an inbuilt GPS with your car. The roads can be complex, but the GPS becomes your best friend. It tells you what lane to be in, when to watch for turnoffs; it essentially tells you what to do. It also tells you what the speed limit is in any given area, which is a huge bonus.
A diesel car costs slightly more, but is well worth it if you're planning on doing a few kilometres. You'll end up saving money by taking this option, as diesel is cheaper.
Finally, the scheme has lots of different car models available, right up to its premium DS range (the DS4 featured here). Seriously consider upgrading to one of these, it takes luxury to a whole new level and is an incredible experience. If this is a once-in-a-lifetime-trip, why not do it in a luxury car and make it even more memorable?
Having a car has given us the freedom to see the real Europe, something we haven’t experienced in our previous trips using public transport. The rural medieval villages, the country markets bursting with fresh produce, the lush countryside, hot springs, beautiful lakes, and so much more.
We’ve been able to find cheaper accommodation in quaint little villages outside of the main tourist trails - and we've meet some truly kind-hearted people. We love Europe, it’s our 5th time here in 5 years. But on this one trip we've seen more than the other four trips combined! Now, that's value for money!
For more information on Citroën EuroPass:
for New Zealanders
Disclaimer: Onflightmode has been working with Citroën EuroPass to take photos of the experience. But we certainly wouldn't recommend an activity unless we absolutely love it.