Holidaymakers face big rise in car hire costs abroad this summer
People planning to hire a car abroad this summer face having to pay almost 60% more than they did before the coronavirus pandemic.
New figures for six popular destinations show average car rental prices are continuing to rise, with the average cost coming in at about £565 for a week’s hire.
The figures from iCarhireinsurance.com, which provides policies to cover the excesses imposed by hire firms, show that people going to the Dalaman area of Turkey will pay an average of £461 for a week of car hire in the first week of August – more than 50% higher than last year.
Car hire prices soared in 2022 after companies sold off stock during the pandemic as demand collapsed. When business returned after restrictions were lifted, companies found it hard to replace the vehicles owing to a global shortage of semiconductors.
The analysis by iCarhireinsurance.com for Guardian Money put the cost of hiring a medium car, such as a VW Golf or Peugeot 308, in Barcelona between 29 July and 5 August at about £590.
If you had booked the car at a similar time last year, the bill would have been about £480. In 2019, before the pandemic hit, it would have cost only £258.
The average price for a week at the peak of the holiday season is now £565, up from £357 before the pandemic – a rise of 58%.
Costs rose sharply last year as customers returned to rental forecourts, with some companies having to buy vehicles at inflated prices because of the shortages. While some destinations this summer could be cheaper than during the same period last year – such as the Greek island of Crete and Dubrovnik in Croatia – overall, costs are up 5%.
Tourists are generally advised to book well in advance to get the best deals. According to the website, the price of a Barcelona summer rental went up from £480 in February last year to £609 a few months later in May.
Ernesto Suarez, the chief executive of iCarhireinsurance.com, says the highs of last year could return. “If demand outstrips supply again like it did last summer, we could see prices rocket as we head towards the peak months of the year, so it is worth securing your vehicle as soon as possible. Many companies offer free 48-hour cancellation, so you can still change your booking if prices fall,” he says.
The website looked at six summer destinations popular with British holidaymakers – Barcelona, Crete, Dubrovnik, Dalaman, Faro in Portugal’s Algarve and Nice in the south of France – across six rental companies: Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Europcar.