Holidaymakers wanting a winter break should consider the cost of hiring a car when deciding their destination as the same vehicle in different locations can be more than twice the price. Where the cost of the hire cars is concerned it is better to see Gaudi in Barcelona, than Picasso in Antipes, nr Nice, or the Renaissance Masters in Milan. looked at what the four leading car hire companies charge for a week in Milan, Barcelona and Nice and found that Barcelona is by far the cheapest place to hire a car and that the prices of the added extras, offered at the rental desk, vary widely depending on the location. The study found holdiaymakers would pay;

  • More than twice as much to hire a people carrier in Milan compared to Barcelona i.e., £521 for a Ford Galaxy in Milan, but only £233 for a similar Ford S-MAX in Barcelona with Avis, and £130 for excess insurance in Milan, and £96 in Barcelona.
  • Almost twice as much to hire a family car in Nice as Barcelona i.e., £193 for a Vauxhall Meriva in Nice, but only £106 for a similar Seat Ibiza in Barcelona with Budget and the excess insurance would be £79 and £39 respectively.
  • A third more to hire a Mercedes C-Class in Milan than Nice i.e.,£566 for a Mercedes C-Class in Milan, but only £361 for a C-Class in nice, and only £296 for a Volvo V60 in Barcelona with Hertz. The difference in excess insurance is equally siginificant at £266, £124 and £170 respectively.
  • More than twice the price for a family car in Milan as Barcelona i.e.,£292 for a Renault Megane in Milan, but only £124 for a similar vehicle such as a VW Golf in Barcelona with Sixt and excess insurance at the renal desk is also twice as expensive at £120 and £57 respectively.

Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of said, "When booking a holiday many people just look at the cost of the flights and accommodation, but the hire car cost, particularly when extras are added in, can make a huge difference to your final spending money. Make sure you not only check the cost of the rental car, but also the cost for any added extras you need."

To save money families are being urged to purchase their excess insurance in advance to avoid being stung by the extras at the rental desk. Policies from can be bought online for only £2.99 a day or £39.99 for an annual policy. They also include cover for vulnerable parts of the vehicle, which are frequency excluded by the rental companies' policies. Make sure you don't get caught out and save more than 62% by buying before you fly.

Table 1 - Car hire rates for UK residents for a week's rental from 27.10.12 - 03.11.12 and dropping off at the same location

  Avis Budget Hertz Sixt
Milan £ 521 £ 566 £ 292
Nice £ 193 £ 361
Barcelona £ 233 £ 106 £ 296 £ 124

Table 2 - Car hire excess insurance rates for UK residents for a week's rental from 27.10.12 - 03.11.12 and dropping off at the same location

  Avis Budget Hertz Sixt
Milan Ford Galaxy - £130 C-Class - £266 Renault Megane - £119
Nice Vauxhall Meriva - £79 C-Class - £361
Barcelona Ford S-MAX - £96 Seat Ibiza - £39 Volvo V60 - £170 VW Golf - £57
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.