Enjoy the freedom of independent travel on a South Italy self drive vacation.
Uncontested roads, short traveling distances between places of interest and remarkable regional scenic contrasts make South Italy the ideal place to enjoy a self-drive vacation.
Do You Need A Car? First of all, renting a car depends on what your plans are. If you intend to stay in one place a car is not necessary.
You can rent a car from a US-based firm with European offices, or from a European-based company with local representatives. Multinationals offer greater flexibility, but tour operators often strike better deals. Ask airlines about special fly-and-drive packages; you may get up to a week of free or discounted rental.
Rental Agencies: You can generally make reservations before you leave by calling major international offices in your home country. However, sometimes the price and availability information they give doesn’t jive with what the local offices in Europe will tell you, so try calling both numbers to make sure you get the best price. Local desk numbers are included in town listings; for home-country numbers, call your toll-free directory.
To rent a car from most establishments in Europe, you need to be at least 21 years old. Some agencies require renters to be 25, and most charge those aged 21-24 an additional insurance fee. Policies and prices vary from agency to agency. Small local operations occasionally rent to people under 21, but be sure to ask about the insurance coverage and deductible, and always check the fine print.
International Driving License, do you need one? Yes you do. You can get one at your local Automobile Club...and by the way, it is not an International Driving License, rather an International Driving Permit.
Do you need a GPS?We suggest you get one in Italy (or Europe). The one we brought from Canada stopped working after a few days. Always have a road map with you.
Driving in Italy - Speed Limit: Speed cameras are set up allover the places. Speeding tickets are often paid by the rental agency and charged to you at a later date.
50 kph in cities (unless otherwise posted)
90 kph outside of cities
110 kph on highways
130 kph on autostrada.
Right of way :It is not a well practiced rule. Be nice but ...not too nice...(this is why I always buy full insurance protection).
Things to avoid : In some big cities driving on certain inner streets is only allowed to those locals living there. When visiting small towns be aware that parking ( especially in August) might be hard to find. Park outside the town.
Is it safe to drive in Italy? Roads are different and so are driving habits. We don't have wide interstates. "Passing" is part of the mentality and driving experience. Try always to keep to your right. Driving up and down those winding narrow roads requires some adjustment.
During the day always honk as you approach those 90 degrees turn, at night use also your high beam (on and off) as to warn drivers coming from opposite direction. Remember to turn the lights on when entering those tunnels. Keep your eyes on the road. The picturesque panorama can be dangerously distracting.
The Roundabout? What hell is that? asked a friend when I warned him about Italian roads and driving habits.
Technically it is a normal intersection,(or as you might say,a traffic circle) but is well defined for its circular shape with a central island, in some cases, moreover, the roundabout are made oval or double circumferences (ie form of 8).
The objective is to improve traffic flow by reducing full stops. Might be confusing at first but after a few times it becomes easy to figure it out. Once in the circle you have the right of way until you get off....just a piece of cake
Another view of the roundabout
well...you can always rent a bike...
Bringing your cell phone with you?
Here are a few tips about avoiding hefty charges when packing a phone on holiday: Know before you go. Understand what you will do with your mobile device before you travel. Then, ask your service provider about cost-cutting options while roaming. Learn what uses data. As well as online browsing, you can incur charges for using emails, text messages and visual voice mail. Streaming HD videos on YouTube can gobble up data. Manage your apps. If you have apps on your device, recognize that some update data regularly, even when you’re not using them. Set your apps to download manually and not automatically. Pay attention: Ask your carrier about options to monitor your data usage, such as having near real-time alerts sent to your device to show how much roaming data you have purchased. Monitor your email. Remember that opening or forwarding emails that contain large attachments can eat up lots of data. Shoot now, upload later. Smart phones take very high resolution pictures.
TIPS : First and foremost NEVER EVER buy a locked smartphone!
Spend $20 at an independent cellphone dealer, to have your smartphone unlocked. (Don't pay the $75 your own carrier charges for this.)
Turn off your phone before the plane takes off, and remove the SIM card. As soon as you get to your destination, buy a SIM card from a local provider, and install it.
When you return to your country, replace that SIM card with your original.
Check your settings: It is really simple to avoid all roaming charges (especially on an iPhone or iPad).
Go to Settings > General > Network and make sure Data Roaming is off. Do this once and you'll never be trapped by extortionate roaming charges. Also, iPads with 3G or LTE are unlocked.
Buy a local SIM and get local data rates. This may be true of Android tablets too (if you are not on a subscription plan).