6 mistakes to avoid when renting a car in Puglia

Avoid these mistakes and enjoy your roadtrip in Puglia without the hassle of renting a car.

A typical car in the streets of Matera - by Aurélie

It’s hard to imagine discovering this wonderful region of southern Italy, Puglia, without thinking about a roadtrip.

It’s a destination made to be explored by car: unparalleled freedom to discover secret beaches, picturesque villages and breathtaking landscapes. Every turn can lead you to a discovery, each more surprising than the last, that will leave its mark on your trip forever.

However, poor preparation can turn this adventure into a series of unpleasant surprises. Thanks to feedback from the best travel blogs, we’ve compiled the 6 mistakes to avoid when hiring a car in Puglia.

A view of the Polignano a Mare seafront - by Mylène](https://fleeps-strapi.fra1.cdn.digitaloceanspaces.com/c884ac355ecda669968b59d225e7a81b.webp)

###1. Choose the wrong type of vehicle

Do not adapt the type of vehicle to the itinerary. For the narrow roads of Puglia, a compact car is ideal. It offers better manoeuvrability and makes it easier to park in the narrow streets of historic towns. On the other hand, if you’re travelling in a group or with a lot of luggage, an SUV or a more spacious saloon may be more appropriate to ensure everyone’s comfort.

Compact cars also consume less fuel, which can be a significant economic advantage on long journeys. It’s important to choose a vehicle that’s suited to your planned activities; for example, a car with good boot space is essential if you plan to do a lot of shopping or if you’re carrying beach or hiking equipment.

A small dirt road to Cisternino

2. Don’t Plan Your Itinerary in Advance

Set off without a defined itinerary. Although spontaneous exploration has its charm, not planning ahead can mean missing out on must-sees or wasting precious time. Use planning tools to map out your route, taking into account journey times and places of interest.

What’s more, checking the opening times and closing days of attractions in advance can help you avoid disappointment. Plan alternatives in case of bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Check out our 7, 10 and 15-day itineraries in Puglia!

A sunset over the trullis of Alberobello - By Lydia and Catherine

3. Prepare your documents well and pay attention to the rental conditions

It would be a shame to miss the start of your adventure by forgetting your driving licence or an identity document specified by the car hire company. And conditions and terms can change from one hire company to another!

![The most classic and widespread problem concerns the deposit, as Aurélie, from the blog Lilifoodiestravel explains:

Be very careful with car hire companies in Italy! To pay the deposit, they asked us for a credit card! You should be aware that most cards issued in France are debit cards, not credit cards. Our bank card (debit) was therefore refused and no other means of payment (cheque, cash, etc.) is accepted for this type of situation. In such cases, you will be blocked and we will refuse to reimburse the upstream payment made for the car hire.

Aurélie’s advice is therefore very simple:

Know that the only rental companies that accept debit cards are Europcar, Sixt and these types of large companies. Otherwise, you can make arrangements in advance and ask your bank for a credit card. Conclusion: book your car hire in Italy with the big companies! Or always carry a credit card, not a debit card.

Profile picture of Aurelie @lilifoodiestravel
Aurelie @lilifoodiestravel

4. Be prepared to be vigilant on the road!

And we’re not the only ones to point this out. Although it may make you smile, driving on Italian roads is renowned for being… sporty.

As Lydia, from the blog La Croisée des Mondes reminds us:

Be careful, though, because Italian driving is sporty! So you need to be extra vigilant!

Profile picture of Lydia et Catherine - La Croisée des Mondes
Lydia et Catherine - La Croisée des Mondes

A warning that Aurélie obviously shares, as she had several bouts of pressure during her roadtrip:

Vigilance is the key word! Italians are real drivers on the roads. Day 2 of the roadtrip and we had a minor accident (although I’ve never had one in 10 years of driving in France).

A car speeding down a small road in Italy

5. Underestimating the importance of insurance

Opt for minimal insurance. It’s tempting to choose the cheapest option to save a few euros, but in the event of an accident or theft, comprehensive insurance can save you astronomical costs. Good cover includes protection against theft, accidental damage and third-party liability.

Also, check the small print regarding excesses and exclusions. Some insurance policies may contain clauses that limit cover in certain situations or for certain types of damage.

Aurélie had a stressful collision that damaged her rear-view mirror, but fortunately for her, part of the damage was covered by her insurance:

For your information, if you have an accident and a Visa Premium credit card which was used to pay for the booking, you have insurance included. This was used to reimburse us for part of the rear-view mirror.

![The broken rear-view mirror during Aurélie’s roadtrip (https://fleeps-strapi.fra1.cdn.digitaloceanspaces.com/2ee8ea45104ab1e29d62d21c2212e25f.webp)

6. Neglecting the Basic Pre-Departure Checks

Failing to check the condition of the vehicle. Before leaving the rental agency, take the time to walk around the vehicle with an agent. Check for scratches, dents or any other damage, and make sure they are noted on the rental contract. This will avoid you being held responsible for damage you didn’t cause.

It’s also vital to check the functional aspects of the vehicle, such as the brakes, lights, wipers and oil level. Also make sure that all the necessary equipment, such as the spare wheel and tools, are present and in good condition.

A mechanic working on a car engine

Ready to head off to Puglia?

If you’re now ready to plan your trip to Puglia, you can ask our bloggers for advice in a video advice session! Discuss your idea of a roadtrip to Puglia with Aurélie, Mylène or Lydia and get all their expert travel advice.

Puglia is a region of great richness and diversity. We really fell under the spell of this part of Italy!

Profile picture of Mylène @unreveunvoyage
Mylène @unreveunvoyage

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