The long drive around Europe

It seems like just about every week there’s another article about driverless cars. It has even been claimed that it’s unlikely that any child not yet a teenager will ever need a driving license.

Maybe we are the last driving generation. But haven’t we had a good run? Youthful road trips and family driving holidays have given some of us some of our best travel memories. Then there was the joy of discovering that you could rent cars around the world and continue the motoring delights.

There’s an even better deal if, rather than a long-term car rental, you opt to lease a car instead. As long as you want a car for at least three weeks there are numerous benefits besides the price. For a start, you own the car if only for a few weeks or a month or so. There’s a lot of flexibility about where you can pick it up, take it, and drop it off. It’s all paid in advance so you just get in your car and go.

Leasing is a good deal because of the European laws relating to sales tax on new cars. You drive the car for a while and when a local buys it afterwards they get it at a reduced price. Win win. Or you can buy the car yourself.

DriveAway promotes some of the benefits of leasing, that include the fact that it’s a brand new Peugeot with full factory warranty. You have a choice of a range of vehicles from a 208 to a 508 station wagon or an SUV like the 3008 or 5008, all with GPS and Bluetooth. You’re allowed unlimited kilometres and extra drivers are free. The rate includes full excess insurance and personal accident insurance as well as 24-hour roadside assistance.

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Take yourself through Europe by leasing a car

Who are the travellers that utilise this option? DriveAway says the average age of its customers is 54 years and many are semi-retired couples. About half the leases are for 21 to 40 days and by far the most popular models are the less-expensive 208s and 308s. While more than half the pickups are in France (Paris being the most popular port), Rome and Frankfurt are popular, too.

There’s an indefinable buzz to driving around Europe in your own car. It’s not just going where you like, when you wish but also the feeling of being one of the locals. No longer are tiny out-of-the-way villages just something that flashes by the train or coach window and if you really want to visit an attraction or viewpoint miles from anywhere just get in your car and go there.

I’ve collected a car in Nice and dropped it off at Heathrow (via Ireland) six weeks later. It was sad to hand the keys to our car back. Driving on autobahns and autoroutes as well as tiny B-roads had been a breeze. Even when the steering wheel was on the wrong side in the UK the only minor difficulty was remembering that my passenger was on the correct side to pay British tolls. Sadly, we found the drivers across Europe were better and more understanding than drivers in Sydney.

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Cruise through picturesque Bordeaux from the comfort of a private car

Until the end of 2016 DriveAway is offering its best-ever leasing offers. These include a new car from $39 per day. If you collect your car in France you receive 15 free days; there are five free days and no pick-up/drop-off fees outside France (a saving of up to $1080).

To qualify for a car lease in Europe you need to be an Australian resident, reside outside the EU, stay in Europe for less than 185 days in any consecutive 12-month period, not be on a working visa, and be over 18 with a valid licence.

The Peugeot GPS comes with 36 countries installed. They range from Norway to Spain, Ireland to Romania. Spending a few weeks free ranging in Europe in your own car sounds like a nice way to enjoy the northern summer in 2017. It just needs a bit of early decision-making to get the best deal. See you on the road.

Have you driven around Europe? Where’s your favourite stretch of road? 

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