Category Archives: Transports

All the posts concerning my experience with car rentals, trains, buses, and transport services.

Car rental: tips for a better experience

When I go abroad often I use a car rental. Because if I have to move around the country for meetings or for leisure, it is the best way to go freely. Not in all the countries public transport work very well. Then even if they are perfect, there are precise timetable and planned tracks. In the end, there are no efforts to drive, but maybe you lose even more time. To drive it’s not my main passion, but time to time it is even funny. That’s why it happens to me to do it often. Traveling I make the experience and I learn a lot.

In fact, in the beginning, it was a bit hard for me to find a good solution. I was searching for the best prices and well-kept cars. The big companies were sometimes more expensive, while the small local agencies offered a fewer guarantee. What to do. Trying all the times. Yes, when you don’t have the knowledge or someone who can give advice, you need to learn by yourself. Now I have more tools to use for car rental. That’s why I want to share with you some tips that you can apply when you go to rent a car around the world.

Car rental online

The first good news for you is that you can reserve a car from home. You can do it before the departure without risks. Obviously, you need to pay attention to the details. Save money is not your unique goal. Efficiency and safety are two of the criteria for your research. There is a platform that can help you in finding the best solution. It is called EasyRentCars. The platform is dedicated to making online car rental more easy and more convenient for customers.

The specialized staff of the company counts on experience in the field. They provide the service in more than 200 countries around the world, covering 60,000 locations. People who are working for EasyRentCars are coming from global car rental companies, global online travel agencies, and leading search engines. Together they offer their clients concrete support to live the best experience of traveling by car. Assistance is guaranteed all the time at any moment.

Why should you consider it? Using the platform you can compare the prices among the companies and sites. You don’t pay any fees using your credit card for the reservation and you can benefit from the best prices on the market. The cancellation is free. I guess these advantages of car rental are very important. But I want to give you some tips that will be helpful with any type of agency, online and offline. Surely my advice will make you understand what is the best service.

Vehicle choice

Some people, generally, check out the catalog of the cars proposed by the agency. From there, reading the daily rate, they choose. This is wrong because the list can be confusing and what influences them is the dream. Yes, maybe they see a vehicle they like, they would like to drive. The price is affordable. So, let’s rent it. Have you ever tried to go offroad with a city car? I don’t recommend you to do it. That’s why the most important step you have to do concern about the choice. Car rental is not a game, it’s something you need for your trip. It doesn’t matter if you go for leisure or business.  

When you decide to use car rental before to have any contact focus on the vehicle. You have to go to the agency or open the online platform with clear ideas. Are you traveling alone or with kids? Do you have a lot of items of luggage with you? Will you travel on highways and in cities or you will go offroad? Sedan or SUV? Do you want an environmentally friendly car? Will you need a GPS? These are some of the main questions you should ask yourself. So when you start the process with the car rental service, you know what to search for.

Before booking

Now you know what type of vehicle you want, so you can book it. Wait, are you in a hurry? Depending on where you go, you can find the biggest worldwide companies and some local agencies. Don’t discard small companies only because you don’t know them. Car rental with them can be more convenient. Check out the cars and the conditions offered. Rates should be lower, but the service can be good. So take advantage of this. If you want to rent the car in the place, make research online before to leave. It will be useful to check rates over there and also what companies are operating at your destination.

If you prefer to book online, find the platform and then check on the internet if there are available coupons and discounts. You can benefit from a better rate or a discount. Are you going often to car rentals? Do you have a loyalty program card? Using this service a lot you can have better conditions with the company card. It is free and you get points for every booking. Or maybe you have an airline loyalty card. Redeem miles to have discounts or a free car for your trip. The cards can be used online and offline.

Contract

Have you ever gone to a car rental agency with your driving license and they said: “you can’t drive”. It happened to me. Why? Because of the Italian government. The ministry sent to the foreign government the updated list of documents, so how they are made. They forgot to mention a type of driving license released for a certain period. So mine wasn’t recognized. Well, this is just an example of what can happen. There are other cases like the limitations imposed by the contract. With your rented car you can’t pass the border of the country. It’s normal especially when there are bad relations among countries.

Maybe your daughter or son can’t drive because for that type of car they need to be over 21 years old. I won’t mention all the options, but before to sign a contract read it carefully and see what you can do or what you can’t do. Verify very well the insurance coverage and integrate id if it is necessary. Car rental is convenient only if you are completely sure about what you are doing. Everything will go great, but who never know. Pay attention also to drop-off if you will leave the car to the agency in another city. They can ask you for money.

If you book from home give always your flight number, so they will manage the delay and you won’t incur in any fees.

Price and addition

When you enter an agency you see promotional prices and daily rates for car rental. Those rates are correct, but when you have to pay the amount is different. Why? Because they have to add some taxes and fees due to laws, drivers, and so on. That’s why you should ask for the final price before to agree on the proposal. Obviously, they promote the rate without the additional costs, but then they need to apply them. So, verify all the details when you choose the vehicle.

Online is a bit different because of the car rental systems already apply the conditions when you connect. There is more transparency and you can see clearly all the costs apply. So step by step you fill the requirements and you come out with the full rate. It is easier, anyway I suggest you check out the specified costs. Most of the time the rate are influenced by some local fees. Keep into consideration when you book your car.

Pickup

When the employee gives you the keys make with you a tour around the car. If he or she doesn’t do that, ask for it. Then be careful, check everything paying attention. Because when you return it, they will do the same and if some damage, small or big, was not signed on the check paper, you will pay for it. Of course, there is insurance, but maybe you have to pay an insurance deductible. Every single problem has to be reported before the pickup and written down on the paper. Don’t forget that if you have a travel credit card you may have insurance for some damages. Verify because maybe you can save something on car rental insurance.

Also, switch on the engine with the employee. Verify the mileage odometer and the fuel tank. It has to be full. Use also the lights and the signals, in order to be sure that they work properly. If something is wrong, make the agency person write it down. After the pickup it will be your responsibility, so everything must be in order or at least verified. Memorize the model and the color of the car to not lose it. You will save time in a crowded park searching for it.

Car returning

When your trip is going to finish, you have to return the car. Don’t be in a rush. First of all, be on time. You indicated the hour when you signed the contract, so respect it. Why? Because the agency allows you to arrive 30 minutes earlier or later. In a different case, they may apply a fee. Go to a gas station close to the airport or to the place of drop-off. Verify the fuel price to save money. Then fill the fuel tank. This is a must because if you return the rented car empty they will ask for money and it is more expensive.

Check the body of the car together with the employee. Don’t let him or her do it alone. So you will be sure that they don’t accuse you of some damages that are not your responsibility. Be sure to not forget anything on the vehicle and check all the charges applied. This is what you have to do as the final stage with car rental. You need time because it can happen something wrong, so take care of each step.

Avoid scams

You should apply all the tips I was given. Consider that the car rental earning is made of the extras. Insurance, services, added driver, and so on. That’s why it is important to verify prices and conditions. You can also use your own resources. It is mandatory and useful the insurance coverage, but your credit card can have one. So with the third party guarantee, you don’t have problems and you avoid the high fees applied by the car rental agency. They propose you extra coverage, but not always is convenient, so read the options of your travel card.

GPS usually costs a lot, why not use Google Maps for free? Buy a local sim card and use the internet. Compare the offers. Not only about rates, but especially about limits and extra fees. This is what really makes the difference between car rental companies. These tricks can be useful to save money, also a good amount. If you book online it is easier. Also because the internet increases the competition. You can easily find different companies and platforms. While in an office you have in front only the employee of that company. 

Many years ago abroad I was searching for a spacious SUV to cross the Australian desert. I spent almost a day around the city to check the various companies. In the end, I found the best solution, but I lost one entire day on my agenda. In one hand I had the chance to compare and to not use a vehicle that was not the proper one. In the other hand, I spent a lot of time and money to go around the city. That’s why now I use the online platform. At least to find out the best conditions. 

EasyRentCars

Do you have clear ideas now? I wanted to suggest you a very good platform that I use regularly. Maybe reading my tips you understood why. Let me a few more thoughts about car rental. Visiting a new country you can’t know exactly what to expect. In certain places there aren’t big brands, so you have to accept what they say or ask. An online platform gives you at least the general idea of the prices. If you book via the internet you will save time later to search. You do it in advance, you compare rates and you have more availability of vehicles. Then EasyRentCars offers you specialized assistance. Isn’t it so important?

Once I had an accident. I wasn’t the guilty driver and the other one recognize immediately his fault. There were also people on the street as witnesses. But the rule of the insurance was to have anyway a police report. So I called the police station in the town. No one spoke English and they were closing the call. After four calls, I decided to ask help to the car rental agency. It was in another city, but I explained to them the problem by phone and I gave them the address. Helped by some locals to find the name of the street (what an adventure…).

They called the police for me. A car came and the two police officers didn’t know English. How to explain, how to sign a report that I couldn’t understand? I spent all the time on the phone with the local car rental. They made the translation. That one was a very good company, but not always is easy to handle these situations. That’s why I underline the importance of EasyRentCars support. You never know what can happen.

This is an example, but you can easily understand why the online platform is the best solution. You have the best prices, you can compare, see the conditions without surprises. Then you save the time of your arrival because everything is ready for you.




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From the airport to the hotel

One of the challenges for the travellers is the transfer from the airport to the hotel. It depends on the place and on the country, but in the main cities there are many options and it can be difficult to choose the proper one. It is not a matter of price, even if it counts. Buses and trains are cheaper but they have a lot of stops and they are not going directly to your destination. There are some exceptions, as it happens for example in Budapest where you can go on a minibus that does a tour of the hotels, according to the passenger needs.

The taxi is a good option to go faster, but if you are a tourist and you are not prepared in some cases the driver can cheat on the price. It happens also to find fake taxidrivers. The best solution? I do not have the answer but in many cases I use the rent with driver. It is not always convenient, it depends on the city, but in most of the cases is the faster option with a well proportioned cost.

When I visit a new place I check on internet the transfer options via airport website, if available the dedicated section. Especially I search about the rates in order to not waste money. I mean I like luxury and I am available to spend more for a good service, but not to spend more than what is normal according to the country that I am going to visit. Often I travel for work reasons and I need to save time and to go directly to my destination. That is why I try the fastest solution and also to move with comfort.

 

Hotel transfer

What are the options? Call the hotel booked and ask for a transfer from the airport, in case you did not get a complimentary one included in your room rate. Generally hotels have their own cars or they have deals with some agencies. The cost is higher than a direct booking with those service providers. This procedure will cost you around 30% more.

 

Taxi risks

With a taxi you have the direct connection with your hotel, but the driver can choose a longer way to get more money and the risk is to find a fake taxi that will cost even more. It is not valid every where because there are honest people and also in some places the rates are not so higher and there are not different alternatives to be fast and to have a comfortable trip from the airport.

 

Private car with driver

If you have a bit of time to organize your transfer (I suggest you to find it) you can search the agencies that rent cars with drivers. They have luxury car and fixed prices according to the trips. To connect the city with the local airport there are usually competitive prices, meanwhile to go in different cities the cost can be quite high. Anyway it is a luxury transfer and you need to keep it into consideration.

It is not hard to find the various transfer service providers online, in some cases there are already showed the rates, otherwise you can ask via phone or email. It is a good idea to contact directly the agencies, so you can compare the offers. I suggest you also to ask precisely what type of car they will send to pick up you, because there are companies that use not huge and luxury car but they ask the same price of who is going to send Mercedes Class E or S, Bmw and so on. For an higher prices it is available also Rolls Royce.

The advantages of the rent with driver compare with a simple cab are:

  • a fixed price that does not change in case of some road traffic or deviation;
  • the driver waits for you at the arrivals;
  • the car is comfortable and clean, also inside;
  • the driver already know the destination and he or she already planned the best way, according to the road works and to the traffic, to arrive to your hotel;
  • especially in summer and in most of the cases but not all, there is a fresh bottle of water waiting for you on the car, so you can drink during the transfer.

Of course it is always good to check and then to evaluate the service, so if you will be back in the same city or you are using some company that is present in more cities and countries you know if you can call it again or search another one.

 

Experiences

Just to give you a better idea on how it works I write some examples of what happened to me in years of travel. There are also some tips related to the transfers in some cities that I visited in recent time. Starting from Italy I can say that in Rome: the cost of a car with driver from the airport is the same of a taxi, but you can have more comfort and the driver waits for you at arrivals. The company that I chosen for my trips generally call me via phone when I land and we find a meeting point to be fast.

In the Italian capital the distance from the airport to the city centre requires around 45 minutes by car and the cost of the ride on the luxury car is about 45-50 euro. With the taxi you can even spend more, also because it is necessary to add a fee to carry the luggage. The situation is different among the cities, infact in Naples you can find a similar offer, also if the airport is about 20-30 minutes far from the centre. Anyway the rent with driver cost generally 40-50% more than a taxi.

Of course you have advantages, but it can be a bit much. If you choose the taxi in Naples do not forget to choose the fixed rate. The taxidriver always ask to you and it is better than to use the taximeter because he can prefer a longer way. The price from the airport to the centre is around 20-25 euro. If they ask more it is wrong. Keep in mind that they usually ask a couple of euro as tip, it is not mandatory, but it is up to you.

If you go to Sofia, Bulgaria, you will find as it happens in many places, a lot of people ready to offer you a ride, but they are fake taxi. So at arrivals you can directly go to the taxi reception. A girl will ask you the main information and she will give you a code and you can go out and find your taxi ready and especially legal. In Tirana, Albania, there are some companies at the airport, as Avis, that provide cars with driver.

The same in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, with some local companies. If you go to Bucharest there is, like in London, the black cab, the taxi company with luxury cars available for the transfers from the airport and as well to take people around the city. It costs more than a taxi but it offers a very professional service, with more clean cars and well equipped.

These are just few example on how you can move with rent with driver around Europe, but anyway I suggest you to check before to leave. In Turkey for instance in the airport managed by TAV offer different services, included the transfer. It works very well and they operate with huge Mercedes and BMW with professional drivers and they also proposed the transfer perfectly coordinated with the meet and greet service inside their airports, starting from Istanbul. There is also the option with the speedboat for the transfer via sea.

 

The evaluation of the service

How to evaluate the transfer service? This is the last question that can help you to choose the best company. First of all it is important to check how fast they are in answer to the request. Also it is possible to verify the information, if it is complete, and as well the courtesy used. The it comes the way to book, you control if it is easy or not. Naturally comparing the services you have the chance to check the price according to the service proposed.

After the first contact you can evaluate the transfer answering to these questions: was easy to find the driver? Was she or he on time? How was the car in term of comfort and cleaning? Was the driver kind? Did you arrive at destination without problems? The questions are covering the main elements that you need to consider to decide if the service was good and if you will use it again calling the same provider.

I had the chance to use different transfer services in Italy and abroad and always I use those questions to make a check and select the best ones. Going to the conclusions I want to make a couple of examples more. Once in Rome a driver during the trip from the airport started to talk about a person, telling me name and surname, who had bad habits. He told me almost everything about the trips of that guy, for 40 minutes… Well better have another driver, don’t you think so?

In New York I had a tour of the city in a limousine and after that the driver proposed to me to follow my movements for all my stay for a better price. He wanted to deceive the company and he sent me a friend of him. It was impossible to meet each other on time and in the place where I needed. The service was the worst one. This happens especially when you don’t need only a transfer, but a car with driver to go around in the city, so be careful when you say yes to a better price with a sub-agreement.

Anasa

 

A luxury train to Naples

It is time to leave Rome and move to Naples again. No planes for me, but I choose the train, also because the distance is quite short and I can admire the landscapes, make some calls and use internet. There are two companies to provide the transport between the two cities. I opted for Trenitalia, the national public company that offers a luxury service with its Executive class.

There are a couple of models of fast trains operating on the trail, I had the chance to be on Frecciarossa 1000, a modern train that can travel at 400km/h. But before to start my journey on it I had the opportunity, thanks to my Executive class ticket to enjoy the Freccia Club, a lounge full of services and comfort. When the guest enter, the staff provide her or him all the information about the equipment of the rooms and about what you can do inside.

The modern room realized in Termini train station are spacious and well settled. You can seat on armchairs or sofa and relax, read, work, surf on internet or eat. There are newspapers and magazine available, but also a selection of food and beverages. On the monitor you can check the status of the train, so you know if it is ready to leave or on delay. Among the services it is possible to use a printer, a fax, to buy a ticket for another trip or call a taxi. Infact the right to use the lounge is given also for arrivals.

When you approach the train for Executive class you find a member of the staff dedicated to welcome the clients and to indicate the seat. On board there are ten leather armchairs, with a meter and a half of distance in between, so the comfort is united to the respect of the privacy. There are only two rows and each armchair can rotate 180° to travel always in the same direction of the train or to turn it to conversate with another passenger.

This class is really exclusive and during the trip  the staff serve, with glass and ceramics plates and cups, a meal made by cold or hot dishes with specialities and high quality ingredients. The direction of the recipes preparation is under the control of the famous Italian chef Carlo Cracco. Snacks and bevarage with a newspaper are always available for travellers in Exectuive class.

The price of the tickets is really higher than the ones of the other classes, but of course it is well related to the quality of the setting and of the service. If you search in advance there are always interesting offers and you can find some discounted tickets, directly on the company website. Travel in this way is really a pleasure and you will not get tired of the trip by this luxury and fast train.

Anasa

 

 

 

 

 

Luxury transfer in Rome

I came back to Italy and for few days I will be in Rome. The city has a lot of offers for who wants a luxury visit. Non only hotels and restaurants give amazing settings and quality services, but also the private transport. A lot of companies are offering great cars with drivers and the cost for the transfer from the airport to the centre is even cheaper than the price of a taxi.

The client choose the company according to the offer and everything is organized by the staff. When the car is booked the customer will just focus on his visit. The driver will be ready at the airport to wait for the passenger. They use luxury cars as the latest versions of the most comfortable Mercedes or BMW and when you seat there is a bottle of water to wait for you.

The driver already knows where to go and you just seat and relax, you can make some phone calls, talk with the driver, read a newspaper or start to see some parts of the city from the window. You already know the price despite the traffic or the road deviations, you can pay with your credit card and receive the assistance from the staff for your needs.

I opted for the transfer service provided by Rim Excurs Plus, an agency that organise tours around the Italian capital city and gives a complete assistance for the tourists’ requests. They propose luxury cars with driver for the transfers form and to the airport and as well to and from the train stations. The staff is professional and they design the service according to the wish of the client.

When I landend I just switch on my mobile and the drivers was already calling me to fix the meeting inside the airport. I found him easily, he took care about my luggage and I seated in the car, staying relaxed for around the 40 minutes necessary to reach he centre from Fiumicino Airport. He was very kind and we had a pleasant talk, but anyway the drivers know how to be discrete and behave in the appropriate way according to the client preferences.

In Rome to rend a luxury car with driver is for sure the best option to go to the hotel directly, fastly and with comfort. Of course that service is available also to visit the city and of course to go to restaurants or to do shopping with a person who can take the client to the place, wait for she or for him and carry all the bags collected in the shops. These cars can go everywhere, without to observe the limits to the traffic and the restricted areas.

Anasa

Exploring Macedonia by car

Do you want to see Skopje or Macedonia with comfort and some luxury features? I suggest you to hire a car with a professional driver and you will focus just on the pleasant part to travel. I made some experience with Inter Ways Macedonia Rent a Car, a local agency located in Skopje and Ohrid, in the two city centers and in the two airports. They offer all types of cars for the tourists, but they also give to their clients the chance to have a driver and to travel on a luxury car.

All the cars are quite new and well mantained and the prices are really lower than the international competitors present in the country. The staff is very kind and you can easily plan your trip, just giving them some basic information and you will go around without thought. The drivers are on time and they wait for you, they drive you in the exact place and of course you can make some changes during the journey.

What surprised me it the high courtesy and availability of the staff. In any of their offices, the people are ready to support you for any need and if you call them by phone for some problems or requests, you obtain a complete assistance. As I experienced other similar services around Europe, I can say that the reach high standards uniting the tipical Macedonian or Balkan kindness or even better the friendly approach.

You can also try the chauffeur service for the transfer from the airport to the city, it is economically convenient and efficient. And then why not to have limousine sightseeing tour around the capital city? You will enoy it. You can also see the sculpture of the fish that is represented by the picture…

Anasa