Families looking to hire a compact family car in Europe this summer should shop around first as prices can vary significantly within the same destination.

ICarhireinsurance.com compared the prices in five holiday destinations for a week's car hire from 27 July - 8 August 2018. The greatest discrepancy we found in price was in Crete where Europcar quotes £588 for the week, in contrast to Hertz who only charge £376. This is a saving of £212.

In Nice, rental company Enterprise charge £469, but going with Budget is only £276, a difference of £193. In Barcelona, Sixt quote £293 whilst Avis charge £460 for the week, a saving of £167. Looking at Milan, Enterprise are asking £450 for the week, compared to Europcar's £297, a difference of £153. Finally, in Faro it costs £434 with Avis to hire a car for the week, but £314 with Enterprise, a saving of £120.

Beyond the headline price however, lies the potentially expensive extras charged by the rental companies, so it's crucial to check these before deciding who to go with. With Hertz in Crete, adding damage excess cover (£68), a sat nav (£61), an extra driver (£38) and a car seat (£30) will add a total of £197, taking the final bill to £573.

This is still cheaper than going with Europcar in Crete though, where the same extras will cost you £218, making the overall price a hefty £806.

Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of iCarhireinsurance.com said: Now is a good time to book your hire car for your summer holiday, as you can generally get a good deal as well as the car you want. However, prices vary by hundreds of pounds, so do shop around and check out comparison sites as well as trying direct. Rental desk extras can also add hundreds to your bill, so make sure you check the prices of the extras you will need, and if you can take some of these with you.

Price comparison table (Hiring a compact family car between 27th July - 8th August):

Location Price Company Quote Difference
Barcelona Highest Avis £460
Lowest Sixt £293 £167
Crete Highest Europcar £588
Lowest Hertz £376 £212
Faro Highest Avis £434
Lowest Enterprise £314 £120
Milan Highest Enterprise £450
Lowest Europcar £297 £153
Nice Highest Enterprise £469
Lowest Budget £276 £193
Disclaimer: All prices contained in this article were correct on the original date of publication. Prices may change over time, so for current prices, please get a quote.