Hiring a car opens a whole new world of adventure on your holiday, something we’ve all been craving after the last few years. With your own wheels, you can explore remote, less touristy, obscure, or hard-to-reach places others can’t.
But for younger people, it’s not always so easy to hit the road – your age and the amount of time you’ve been driving play a big part in the type of car you can rent, the cost of car rental, or whether you can rent a car at all!
These rules vary from country to country, as well as between providers. But don’t let that put you off! Car rental is completely doable for younger drivers – you’ll just need to put in a little more research before your trip. To help you organise your car hire, we’ve put together this handy guide for drivers under 25.
Across Europe and North America, anyone under the age of 25 is considered a young driver.
How old you need to be varies between destinations. Some countries, such as Germany and the Scandinavian nations, allow rental at 18. In the UK, the minimum age is usually 21.
More broadly, most rental companies have the same minimum age of 21 and require you to have had your licence for one, or sometimes two, years.
You’ll be able to rent a mini, economy, compact or intermediate car. Generally speaking, that means small to medium sized vehicles. Think Fiat 500 up to a Skoda Octavia.
For most young people, these cars are ideal, as they are similar to the size of car your average under-25-year-old drives in the UK. Plus, they’re great for Europe, where roads in smaller towns tend to be narrower and parking harder to come by.
Smaller cars are much cheaper to rent, too, which can help offset the cost of the young driver surcharge you might have to pay.
A young driver surcharge is a fee charged by car rental providers for young adults, in addition to the price of the car rental. It is common across Europe and North America, and usually affects people under the age of 25.
So why the extra fee? While it might seem a little unfair, it’s because providers perceive younger drivers to be a greater risk. Statistically, young people tend to make more insurance claims. This extra charge is meant to offset that risk.
Even with those charges, car hire for younger people is still completely affordable if you book in advance, shop around for deals, and travel outside of peak times.
Young driver surcharges are charged locally and vary greatly between countries and providers. Fees can start as low as £5 (€6) and rise as high as £35 (€40) per day in additional costs. On average, you can expect to pay between £13 (€15) and £17 (€20) per day. Again, it completely depends on where you’re going and the provider you book with.
To give you a clearer idea, we’ve looked at the young driver surcharge for four different destinations, for a rental period of four days in September*:
- Paris, France: £94.77 (€111)
- Barcelona, Spain: £25.60 (€30)
- Faro, Portugal: £25.60 (€30)
- Milan, Italy: £42.69 (€50)
* 7-10 September 2022, for drivers aged 22. Cheapest available options compared using rentalcars.com with different providers.
Whether you book your car hire through a broker, such as Rental Cars, or direct with a provider, such as Hertz, you should see the young driver surcharge included in the price breakdown of your booking.
You’ll need to pay this on location in the local currency when you pick the car up at the front desk.
While it’s highly likely under 25s will need to pay a young driver surcharge, it’s not always the case. Be sure to double check the price on your booking before you confirm.
Regardless of your age, you’ll need to have the following to rent a card: a credit card/debit card from the main driver with enough available funds for your deposit, a valid driving licence for each driver and a valid passport or any other ID the car hire company needs to see.
How old do I need to be to hire a car in Spain?
The legal age you’re able to rent a car in Spain is 18, but most car rental providers require drivers to be at least 21 years old. The majority of companies will also require you to have held your licence for a minimum of one to two years. Check with your provider before booking.
How old do I need to be to hire a car in Greece?
To rent a car in Greece most car rental providers require drivers to be at least 21 years old. Like Spain, the majority of companies will also require you to have held your licence for a minimum of one to two years. Check with your provider before booking.
How old do I need to be to hire a car in Portugal?
To rent a car in Portugal most car rental providers require drivers to be at least 21 years old. Most companies will also require you to have held your licence for a minimum of one to two years. Again, check with your provider before booking.
How old do I need to be to hire a car in France?
France requires drivers to be a minimum age of 21, with between one to two years on their licence.
How old do I need to be to hire a car in Turkey?
Most car rental providers require drivers to be at least 21 years old. In addition, you will need to have held a valid UK driver’s licence for two years.
How old do I need to be to hire a car in the US and Canada?
Most car rental providers require drivers to be at least 21 years old. In North America, the required length of time you’ve held your licence varies between states (or provinces in Canada). This also varies between providers so be sure to check before booking.
Are you under 25 and gearing up for a road trip? Tweet @icelollyholiday and let us know about your car hire experience!