Follow our guide and drive off with a car hire bargain

Car-hire prices in Europe have fallen to their lowest level this CENTURY – so follow our indispensable guide and drive off with a bargain

  • On average, car rental costs in Europe are a third cheaper than 2022 
  • The biggest fall was in Alicante, where the price is down 75 per cent 
  • READ MORE: Travellers reveal what ‘perfect’ holiday hotspots can REALLY be like

Our survey of the top holiday destinations has revealed a huge fall in the price of car hire this summer

At last there’s some good news for travellers — our survey of the top holiday destinations has revealed a huge fall in the price of car hire this summer.

On average, renting a vehicle will cost you around a third of what you would have paid this time last year. 

These are the lowest car-hire prices, in real terms, for many years — maybe even the cheapest this century. Now’s the chance for thousands of holidaymakers to grab a bargain that could transform their holiday.

Here we have compiled examples of the lowest prices on comparison websites, as well as a table showing the average costs for providers across to get you the best deal on European car hire.


The above table shows the cost for a week’s car hire across European destinations this September

Car rental bills have plunged so fast that some travellers have found they can save hundreds by cancelling bookings made months ago and rebooking at the new prices. If you signed up for holiday car hire six months in advance, it’s worth checking your cancellation policy. If there’s no charge you may be able to make big savings by rebooking the rental now.



  • Shop around for the best prices.
  • Use brokers such as and — it’ll be cheaper than going direct.
  • Book four months ahead. It is the optimum time for deals.
  • Check the car on collection for marks and take pictures as proof.
  • Return the car on time to avoid fees.
  • Refuel before returning the vehicle or face higher charges.


  • Just turn up at the airport and book — you’ll get the worst rates.
  • Ignore cancellation policies — get one that lets you cancel for free up to 48 hours before departure.
  • Be late to pick up your car — inform rental companies about flight delays.
  • Drive over international borders without permission.
  • Leave litter in the vehicle as there could be a cleaning fee.
  • Pretend that accidental damage didn’t happen, or else charges could be higher.


The reason for this great U-turn dates back to the pandemic. Hire companies panicked and sold most of their cars to cut costs. When travel bans were lifted they tried to buy replacements, but struggled due to a worldwide shortage of electronic components. Last year there simply weren’t enough new cars to go round.

This year holiday car fleets are finally back to normal and it’s a rare chance for hard-pressed holidaymakers to push back against the cost-of-living crisis. For example, a day’s car hire in Alicante, Spain through Record Go, via, is now cheaper than a round of drinks at a seafront bar — just £12.72. And a day’s hire in Malta is as cheap as a couple of souvenir T-shirts — £17 (VIP Cars via


It’s great news for anyone heading to those destinations, but renters still need to take care. Huge price differences remain between different hire companies, vehicle classes and extras, dates, pick-up locations — and countries.

Car hire in some places is simply miles more expensive than in others. Renting a car in Switzerland will cost you more than three times what it does in Spain. Canadian hire is double what it is in Portugal. And even basic budget car hire in the U.S. can cost £300 a week.


Nevertheless, leading travel broker, which points out that brokers offer peace of mind as they weed out unscrupulous rogue operators, says this year’s prices are the cheapest, in real terms, that it can remember.

Its average weekly car-hire prices for the top European destinations this August are nearly a third of what they were last year. That means you’ll pay £144 a week on average, compared with £386 in 2022.


The biggest fall was in Alicante, where the price is down 75 per cent, from £292 to £72 per week (the lowest price available on this summer). In Tenerife, where savings are smallest, the prices have still halved, from £250 to £126. Book now and the average price for a week’s hire in Europe’s hotspots is £126 in September and £101 in December.

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