When visiting any country but especially the Nordic countries the best way to see the extraordinary natural landscapes is by car. Since most people coming from around the world would need to rent a car to be able to road trip through the various areas, it makes sense to be wise to the ins and outs of car rental.
That’s especially true about keeping the costs at their billigste (translation: cheapest), which can be tough in Norway especially. Visiting this country is expensive, especially for hiring a car. Finding a deal can be elusive. The idea is to stay away from extras that you don’t need.
While the agencies will attempt to talk you into many things like GPS or car insurance, these things are already accessible to you on your own. A car insurance carrier will likely offer premium rental insurance, as many prime credit cards do.
Plus, mobile phones can now download maps for almost any country to allow directions without the need for an agency GPS system. The most important thing to consider is appropriate tire treads for the season and chains or studs depending on the time of year and checking the car for damages or potential defects.
While renting a car in your own home country can be complex and confusing, attempting to do so in another country can prove daunting. It helps to learn the ropes weeks before the trip, so everything goes smoothly when you arrive.
It’s always better to book at least four weeks before the planned holiday to get the car you need and ensure the dates you need it.
Finding an automatic transmission can prove challenging since most cars in these countries are manual. That’s another reason to book early. These go quickly. You will also pay quite a bit for the privilege.
However, it will make driving much more manageable than having to learn stick in a rental car that you’re trying not to damage while on unfamiliar roads.
It’s also essential to study the traffic signs before arriving, the flow of traffic, roadway patterns, and regulations so that you can fit in without a lot of trouble.
While you will be a foreigner in unfamiliar territory, the authorities will anticipate that you follow the roadway rules the same way as everyone else and will give you the same fines if you don’t comply.
The rental company will likely give you information on how to find details on the local laws and road signs, plus will offer their guidance as well. Some of the FAQs when it comes to renting a car that will help with the process and may or may not save some money are as follows:
- Price compare
Some websites are available to allow you to price compare the varied agencies in Norway to get the best deal on a vehicle. That can be done a few weeks before the trip by requesting “newsletters” from a few places to compare similar options.
They can indicate promotions, special deals, and sales offerings. It makes the process of narrowing down to the most budget-friendly much easier.
- Watch out for scams
There are scam sites to be mindful of. It can be challenging to recognize the difference. Pay attention to testimonials and reviews of previous customers. Get ratings from authoritative sites that will also advise of any past complaints and how these were resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
The prominent car agencies are well known, but these do come with a price point. Some of those not super well-known can provide superior service for a budget price; it’s a matter of checking them out.
- International Driving Permit
These are not always required. Generally, a valid license from your home country is sufficient for a single holiday. Make sure you get that information clear when booking the car and before travelling to the country.
It’s not a challenge to get one, nor is it a problem to have it or display it, but if it’s unnecessary, it will save you time and expense.
- Unlimited mileage
In Norway particularly you’ll be covering large distances. The country is one long-distance. That means you don’t want to be restricted to a specific set of miles on any one given day.
Make sure you sign on for an unlimited number of miles and do so with one of the smallest and most fuel-efficient of economy cars since, again, Norway is expensive when it comes to petrol.
Many of their cars, though, are now electric cars. If they don’t offer you one for rent, ask to have one because they will offer the most outstanding fuel efficiency level.
- Automatic transmission
You can either get a manual transmission or an automatic. The manual will be more fuel-efficient. The suggestion is to get a manual if you’re not someone who’s used to driving on the right, and if you’re better at manual, it will give you greater focus on the road.
However, if you can’t drive a manual, automatic will be the preference, and these, again, are challenging to find. It’s essential to book early to get one, and you will have a higher price point, but you’ll also be safer.
You should always be prepared in case there’s an accident or breakdown. The car needs to be equipped with a red warning triangle and a fluorescent yellow vest for any emergency.
These can happen if there are defects with the car or something out of the ordinary happens. Still, the roadways are in excellent condition, and the traffic patterns are easy to follow with no aggressive drivers or challenges.
- Addons are a must, according to some patrons
The suggestion that addons are necessary is one of some who have gone with the need for these. That doesn’t mean that these are necessarily a requirement for every motorist. It depends on your particular situation. If you have a child and don’t bring your own baby booster, you will need that extra.
If you don’t have a mobile with downloadable maps, the GPS is a necessity to find your way around. The insurance is not a requirement for anyone who has car insurance with a premium car rental attachment or a prime credit card with excellent coverage. It’s just not as good.
- Gas is expensive
The indication is that Norway is the “third largest” gas exporter in the world, so should gas be inexpensive? It is. The suggestion is to constantly fuel up with cash instead of using a debit or credit card since the attendant will hold a full tank’s deposit equal to that of a giant vehicle and won’t return it for as long as seven business days.
For some travellers, that can be as much as their credit limit can handle. Prices seem to dip to lower amounts in the evening with the least at night. The stations are a distance from each other along the landscape, so it’s wise to fill up if you come across one.
On some of the country roads, you’ll come across what’s referenced as an “honesty box.” You would deposit some cash into the box to use the private road. Even though no one is there to keep you “honest,” Norwegians do have that hope.
While road tripping along the scenic routes and through the mountains, you’ll be privy to much of the wildlife living along the countryside. While they can sometimes be in the way, they need to be given their time to move.
You shouldn’t get out of the car and attempt to mingle with them. They will likely become defensive. It’s better to keep yourself safe and keep them safe by slowly and gradually moving through.
You also want to avoid feeding wildlife. The animals need to know how to maintain their own diet. The food you give them is not adequate for their health.
In that same vein, there are speed limit signs throughout the country letting you know how fast you should be going in the residential areas, on the highways, and in other built-up areas. These are not suggestions.
The authorities take them very seriously with hefty fines for those who don’t follow the rules. Some of the limits might seem relatively low, but there are speed cameras in most vicinities, and the fines are as high for going over these limits.
It’s imperative to make sure the headlights work well on the car you rent. These are something that needs to stay on regardless of the time of day and despite the weather conditions. There are no exceptions. You will likely receive a citation for not having them on even if you claim to be unaware.
- Tires need to acclimate
Rental cars in many areas don’t acclimate to the sometimes dangerous weather conditions. Specific treads are required for the summer season and another expected in the winter.
Some rental cars bear the exact tire all year long. That can be hazardous not only for the driver but those in surrounding vehicles. It’s wise to search for an agency that uses adequate treads for each season and will accommodate chains when it’s appropriate for the safety of the driver and the vehicle.
In saying that, some of the mountain passageways close in inclement weather, and that can even be when it’s summertime in the lower landscapes. You need to pay attention to the road conditions before setting out on your road travels, so you don’t get stuck somewhere you shouldn’t.
Plus, always have supplies with you if you get stranded since it can get cold and take time for someone to come across you.
Car rentals can’t be described as cheap in Norway. There’s not much of anything you’ll find in the country that is really budget-friendly except the beautiful natural landscape.
Still, there are ways to make it more so. You can indeed forget about many of the extras with the car hire unless you have a real need for some of them. Snow tires, you should look for an agency that provides appropriate options for the hazard driving can bring in winter conditions, including chains and studs. That’s a specific need, as are working headlights which need to be on at all times.
You also want a fuel-efficient economy, electric maybe, automatic (for some) car. Fuel is exceptionally expensive, for which you should always pay cash, or you’ll spend your whole budget on a deposit that you won’t get back for pretty much the entire trip—try to buy at night when the price dips down.
Lessons to learn before you go. That’s why you plan up to as many as four weeks before, educate as much as possible, comparison shop with different agencies, and then enjoy a pleasant experience.