Three For The Road - My Family Travels
As we do every year, we plan to spend two months in Italy visiting family this summer. In the past, we have flown to London so our daughter, Julia, could go to Legoland (08/7/05/04/04/04). We toured the city, then took the Eurostar train through the Chunnel to France.
For the summer of 2004, we are flying directly to Paris and will visit the Musee de la Musique to see the old instruments, because she is studying the violin and because we always love the city.

We discovered long ago that from Paris, leasing a car through a European “purchase – repurchase plan” is much cheaper than renting one. Because we’re foreigners (this program is open only to those who live outside the European Union countries), we won’t have to pay the steep VAT tax usually charged on car rentals, because ‘leases’ are exempt.

And, we get a brand new car to drive, plus a guaranteed repurchase price when we leave.

We made arrangements through Autofrance ( 800/572-9655; 201/729-1911) to pick up a Peugeot in Calais. The way they advertise the program, if you need a car for more than 17 days, this is a better value option. We’re paying US$2,016, including insurance, for 60 days (about US$33/day) plus a US$50 drop-off charge in Milano.

Other companies recommended to us for price comparisons were Renault Eurodrive ( 800/221-1052, 212/730-0676); which serves about 10,000 American travelers each year who take cars into 29 different countries. Renault actually makes their program available to 18-year-olds, while most of these companies limit lease programs to drivers above 23- or 25-years.

We have also heard good things about Europe by Car. I think it’s a great deal for anyone traveling with a family in Europe.



Other Countries Offer Car Lease Deals


Since 1954, the New York-based Europe by Car ( 800/223-1516 or 212/581-3040) has offered European car rentals to touring Americans, and now claims the largest selection of new tax-free lease vehicles. They provide personalized pick-up and drop-off service in many countries, including France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Under the lease program, customers receive factory-direct new-car delivery, unlimited mileage, and third-party liability and non-deductible collision, theft, and fire insurance. Services include 24/7 English-speaking phone support and road-side assistance, as well as a full factory warranty that is valid across Europe on leases of up to six months. Be sure to check your own auto insurance policy to check on other coverage that may be required.

Family Travel Forum Staff


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