Holiday car hire: top destinations by cost

Flying to the US costs more than to Europe, but holidaymakers at least can save hundreds on car hire once in the States.

With an average price tag of £289 for a compact family car hired in Orlando Airport in Florida, rental costs are up to £600 per week less than in other popular destinations.

When you want a trilling vacation visit

By contrast, holidaymakers in Portugal pay more to hire cars than those in any of the other 12 most-visited holiday locations by British tourists, as listed by the Office for National Statistics.

Car hire from Faro Airport costs an average £965 per week.

In each country the cost, collated by, was based on the average charges of five car hire companies, Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget and Europcar. Holidaymakers can, at some locations, find cheaper local car hire companies, normally located in airport car parks rather than in the terminals.

Optional extras and insurance account for most of the difference. Drivers pay £304 on average to rent a compact family car during the first week of August, but the add-ons – such as excess waiver insurance, insuring a second driver, taking satnav and a child’s seat – pushes up the price to £563.

Staying in the UK for the summer may cut out the expense of air travel, but with average hire car costs of £660 from Heathrow, a holiday in Britain may not always be cheaper in terms of travel spending. Drivers in London pay £414 for add-ons like insurance and a car seat, as opposed to £360 for motorists in Brussels.

The biggest cost: excess waiver insurance

Excess waiver insurance is the biggest cost at the rental desk, with drivers paying an average of £100 per week across the destinations.

This insurance means that if the driver damages the vehicle they won’t have to pay the “excess”, or the first part of the claim – which could be as much as £700.

Specialist insurers, such as the AA, or, have moved into the market offering cheaper, standalone cover. So instead of paying for the car hire firm’s own excess waiver insurance – which could be £15 or £20 per day – these other insurers provide cover for a fractioin of the price. If you damage the vehicle you have to pay the excess to the car hire firm, and you then make a claim to the standalone provider.

Petrol is the other cost which differs widely. A full tank in the UK is £52, slightly cheaper than the £59 it costs to fill up in Italy and Holland – whereas Britons heading to Florida this summer can expect to pay just £23.

The car hire costs below included a week’s rental with four added extras (excess waiver insurance, satnav, a second driver and a child’s seat), as well as the price of a tank of petrol (40 litres).

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