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Driving up the price: The most and least expensive countries to rent a car in

Road trips have become increasingly popular, with more and more people taking their holiday on the road, setting off on a four wheeled adventure. 

A driver looks out onto an road

Travelling costs can vary massively from country to country. Renting a car isn’t always cheap, and neither is the fuel you need to get you from A to B. Not to mention the additional car insurance you will probably have to take out. So where’s the most budget friendly location for a road trip, and where will leave you tightening the purse strings for the rest of your holiday?

We looked at the cost of renting a car in 58 countries around the world. We analysed quotes for five different sized vehicles across two busy periods within the calendar year, in each country’s capital city. We then added the cost of one tank of petrol to the average cost of renting a car in each location, to reveal the countries where it’s most and least expensive to hire a car for your road trip.

 

The top 25 most expensive countries to rent a car in

If you want to hire a car to drive around Iceland’s Golden Circle, you’ll need to dig deep into your pockets. With an overall average car rental cost of £1,041 for one week, the Nordic country ranks as the priciest destination for a road trip. Ranking in second position is New Zealand, with an overall cost of £947 to rent a car, and Argentina followed closely behind, at a cost of £805.

Further afield, countries including Jamaica, Israel, Japan and Morocco feature in the top 10 most expensive countries to hire a vehicle in. The cost of renting a car for a week in each of these countries soared above £500, on average.

However, it was European countries that dominated the overall top 25 most expensive countries to rent a car, with more than 10 destinations from the continent featuring in the top rankings. They range from Iceland in first place at £1,041 to Italy, where renting a vehicle for a Mediterranean adventure will cost you £421.

Rank Country Capital city Average cost of fuel (per tank) Average cost of car rental (for one week) Average total cost of renting a car
1
Iceland
Reykjavik
£67.94
£973
£1041
2
New Zealand
Wellington
£60.93
£886
£947
3
Argentina
Buenos Aires
£26.4
£779
£805
4
Jamaica
Kingston
£57.84
£575
£633
5
Israel
Jerusalem
£67.21
£507
£574
6
Japan
Tokyo
£46.31
£516
£562
7
Switzerland
Bern
£59
£450
£509
8
Morocco
Rabat
£41.97
£463
£505
9
Austria
Vienna
£52.42
£448
£500
10
Ireland
Dublin
£62.31
£431
£494
11
Finland
Helsinki
£68.33
£425
£493
12
Singapore
Singapore
£60.11
£427
£487
13
Chile
Santiago
£39.52
£429
£469
14
Croatia
Zagreb
£50.83
£416
£467
15
Fiji
Suva
£38.57
£422
£460
16
United States of America
Washington
£31.52
£424
£455
17
Malta
Valletta
£64.72
£381
£445
18
Greece
Athens
£65.15
£374
£439
19
Slovakia
Bratislava
£54.83
£382
£437
20
Italy
Rome
£63.9
£357
£421
21
Norway
Oslo
£71.08
£339
£410
22
Australia
Canberra
£39.22
£356
£395
23
Lithuania
Vilnius
£71.72
£317
£388
24
Canada
Ottawa
£41.88
£341
£383
25
Netherlands
Amsterdam
£72.71
£309
£382

1. Iceland

A picture of an Icelandic road

Iceland is truly a bucket-list destination. Anyone wishing to rent a car and explore the land of fire and ice will need to budget an average amount of £1,041. Popular driving routes in Iceland include the 155-mile loop of the Golden Circle, which allows you to see many of the country’s tourist attractions en route. 

2. New Zealand

A picture of a road in New Zealand

New Zealand is touted as having some of the most scenic drives on the planet. Renting a vehicle for an adrenaline-filled adventure will cost you £947.

3. Argentina 

A picture of a road in Argentina

Argentina boasts a plethora of never-ending highways including Ruta 40, one of the world’s longest roads, which offers spectacular views of dramatic canyons, lush vineyards and dense rainforests. The country ranks in third position, with an average car rental cost of £805. 

4. Jamaica 

A picture of a road in Jamaica

Renting a vehicle to get around Jamaica may provide you with opportunities to visit cascading waterfalls and pristine beaches - but it’ll cost you £633 to do so. Still, with most tourists opting for cruise ships or all-inclusive resorts, you’ll experience a one-of-a-kind adventure that few other travellers opt for.

5. Israel 

A picture of a road in Israel

Whether you’re taking a trip to the desert or to the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea. Israel is certainly a destination you’d benefit from having your own wheels to adventure with. The average cost of £574 comes in at just under half of the cost in Iceland, the most expensive country in the rankings.

6. Japan

A picture of a Japanese road

Japan may have some of the fastest bullet trains in the world, but having a car will allow you to reach some of the more remote destinations that the country has to offer. For an average cost of £562 you can get behind the wheel and make your way around at your own pace.

7. Switzerland 

A picture of a Swiss road

As one of the more expensive countries to visit as a tourist, it comes as no surprise that Switzerland ranks in the top 10 priciest countries. It costs £509 on average to rent a car to navigate the winding roads of the Swiss mountain paradise.

8. Morocco 

A picture of a Moroccan road

From the panoramic views of the Atlas Mountains to the dusty Sahara, road tripping in Morocco is nothing short of an adventure. With public transport proving to be tricky to navigate at times, the cost of hiring a car will set you back £505 but could prove invaluable to your itinerary.

9. Austria

A picture of an Austrian road

Exploring the alpine pastures of Austria will certainly leave you speechless, and out of pocket to the amount of £500, on average. Though pricey, the panoramic views, delicious food and snow-capped peaks of this picture-perfect nation will be well worth it.

10. Ireland

A picture of an Irish road

An adventure like no other, an Irish road trip comes complete with an eclectic mix of vibrant cities and fairy-tale destinations such as the Giant’s Causeway. Hiring a car will come in at £494 on average, ranking as the 10th most expensive destination for car rental.

 

The top 25 most affordable countries to hire a car in

With an overall rental cost of just £124, the tropical southeast Asian country of Thailand ranks as the most affordable destination to opt for a road trip. Following closely behind and costing just £157 is Azerbaijan, and Lebanon ranks third - with vehicles costing just £184 on average to rent.

Just missing out on making the top 25 most affordable countries to rent a car in, the UK ranked in the middle of all the countries analysed, with car rental in the country costing £338 overall. This is less than a third of the cost of renting a vehicle in Iceland, the most expensive country in the research.

The top 25 most affordable countries to rent a car were dominated by both Europe and Asia, with many northern and eastern European countries featuring. A number of locations that straddle both Asia and Europe, such as Azerbaijan (2nd most affordable) and Turkey (10th most affordable) also featured.

Rank Country Capital city Average cost of fuel (per tank) Average cost of car rental (for one week) Average total cost of renting a car 
1
Thailand
Bangkok
£39.00
£85
£124.00
2
Azerbaijan
Baku
£18.83
£139
£157.00
3
Lebanon
Beirut
£59.51
£59.51
£184.00
4
Jordan
Amman
£47.82
£142
£190.00
5
Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur
£21.07
£177
£198.00
6
Belgium
Brussels
£61.88
£139
£201.00
7
Brazil
Brasilia
£38.36
£163
£201.00
8
Mexico
Mexico City
£34.57
£180
£215.00
9
Denmark
Copenhagen
£68.93
£150
£219.00
10
Turkey
Ankara
£27.82
£193
£221.00
11
Romania
Bucharest
£46.70
£174
£221.00
12
France
Paris
£60.59
£163
£223.00
13
Cyprus
Nicosia
£49.02
£177
£226.00
14
Oman
Muscat
£19.91
£208
£227.00
15
Hungary
Budapest
£51.51
£187
£239.00
16
Estonia
Tallinn
£57.45
£195
£252.00
17
Bulgaria
Sofia
£44.42
£214
£259.00
18
Germany
Berlin
£60.72
£200
£260.00
19
Spain
Madrid
£55.17
£216
£271.00
20
Czech Republic
Prague
£53.97
£219
£273.00
21
Serbia
Belgrade
£52.12
£229
£281.00
22
Sweden
Stockholm
£66.91
£215
£282.00
23
United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi
£23.22
£272
£295.00
24
Portugal
Lisbon
£63.81
£234
£298.00
25
South Africa
Cape Town
£40.72
£278
£318.00

1. Thailand 

A picture of a Thai road

For just £124 a week, Thailand emerges as the cheapest country in the world to rent a car. Drivers in Thailand drive on the left-hand side of the road, like in the UK, so British drivers won’t have much adjusting to do.

2. Azerbaijan 

A picture of a road in Azerbaijan

Capital city Baku is renowned for being nightmar-ish when it comes to traffic and driving around. But for a very reasonable £157 a week, why not consider renting a car and instead head to the glorious views of the Candy Cane Mountains?

3. Lebanon

A picture of a road in Lebanon

Lebanon ranked as the third most affordable destination to hire a vehicle in, costing £184 per week, on average. The country is located on the coast, meaning drivers can enjoy plenty of sea views during their drives along the coastline.

4. Jordan

A picture of a road in Jordan

From the capital of Amman to the Roman ruins of Jerash, there is plenty of Jordan - both new and old - to discover by road. Costing on average £190 a week, Jordan ranks in the top five most affordable destinations in the world to hire a car in.

5. Malaysia 

A picture of a road in Malaysia

Renting a vehicle to get around Malaysia will allow you to cruise along the miles of stunning sandy beaches or to get off the beaten track to explore in the rainforest. For just under £200, you have the choice to explore it all.

6. Belgium 

A picture of an Beglian

Though many European countries ranked as the most expensive destinations for car rental, Belgium emerged in 7th position costing only £201 on average to hire a vehicle. From Brussels to Bruges, make sure you schedule in enough waffle stops along the way!

7. Brazil 

A picture of an Brazilian road

A Brazilian road trip along the Transpantaneira will take you to the world’s largest wetland, containing creatures including capybaras, jaguars and a menagerie of birds. Costing just £201 a week, this is perfect for those who love to watch nature - and their holiday spending. 

8. Mexico 

A picture of a Mexian road

Mexico also ranks as one of the ten most affordable countries to hire a vehicle in, and at just £215 for an average week’s rental, there are plenty of options to fuel drivers’ wanderlust. From Maya ruins located in the jungle, to culturally rich colonial cities, there are lots of places waiting to be discovered on wheels in the country.

9. Denmark 

A road in Denmark

While Copenhagen is the perfect location for a Scandinavian weekend getaway, anyone looking to explore the rest of the country will be treated to incredible road trips full of castles, quaint Danish villages, rugged coastline and beautiful beaches. At just £219 on average for a week’s car rental, it comes in as one of the most affordable road trip locations worldwide.

10. Turkey

A series of roads in Turkey

Completing the top 10 most affordable countries to rent a car worldwide is the stunning holiday destination of Turkey, with the average car rental costing just £221. The Aegean coastline is full of pristine beaches with dazzling turquoise waters for swimming and sunbathing, and for those wanting a bit more diversity in their trip, there’s endless mountains and historic ruins scattered throughout the country.

 

The top 10 countries where it’s most expensive to fill a tank of petrol

A driver fills up on fuel

As well as the cost of renting a car, we also wanted to find out the countries with the highest cost of fuel. If you’re planning on exploring your chosen holiday destination in your own car, it is the Netherlands which ranked as the country with the most expensive fuel costs. It costs £72.71 on average to fill up a 43-litre tank in the country. Lithuania and Norway follow closely behind, with it costing over £71 for a tank of petrol in each nation.

Rank Country Cost of fuel per (43 litre) tank
1
Netherlands
£72.71
2
Lithuania
£71.72
3
Norway
£71.08
4
Denmark
£68.93
5
Finland
£68.33
6
Iceland
£67.94
7
Israel
£67.21
8
Sweden
£66.91
9
Greece
£65.15
10
Malta
£64.72
 

The top 10 countries where it’s least expensive to fill a tank of petrol

Qatar is the cheapest country to fill up with petrol in, costing just £18.28 to fill up a 43-litre tank. With Azerbaijan ranking as the second cheapest car to rent overall, it’s no surprise that the country follows in third position, costing £18.83 per tank of fuel on average.

Middle Eastern countries Oman and United Arab Emirates rank in the top ten cheapest countries to fill a tank of petrol with, each costing under £25 on average. Mexico and the US rank in 9th and 10th positions, each costing under £35 for a full tank of fuel.

Rank Country Cost of fuel per (43 litre) tank
1
Qatar
£18.28
2
Egypt
£18.83
3
Azerbaijan
£18.83
4
Oman
£19.91
5
Malaysia
£21.07
6
United Arab Emirates
£23.22
7
Argentina
£26.40
8
Turkey
£27.82
9
United States of America
£31.52
10
Mexico
£34.57
 

Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, comments:

“Driving around your holiday destination of choice can be a great way to see a city on your own terms. With the right playlist, a good snack selection and a nice car to drive in, a road trip really can be the best way to travel!

“However, if you’re planning to hire a car abroad it’s important to do your research beforehand and be prepared. Drivers from the UK will need a full driving licence, their driving licence code, proof of address (such as a bank statement) and photo ID to rent a car in Europe. If renting a car further afield, then you may need documents such as an International Driving Permit. And of course, you’ll need car insurance wherever you’re looking to rent a vehicle.

“When collecting your rental car, you may be offered a range of optional extras, including breakdown cover, music-system cover and more. Some of these can be useful, some less so. To avoid getting pressured into signing on the dotted line at a tourist desk, make sure you know what you’re covered for, what extras are available and which of them you want before travelling.”

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