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My mate and I are planning a trip around Europe to celebrate graduating - we are driving through France, down to Spain and then back across the Riviera to Italy. This is going to take about 3 weeks or so - we are going to hire a car for this and we want to do it in a Mini - any recommendation as which model would be the best for a long drive like this?

Also should we hire it in the UK (maybe it is cheaper and insurance is cheaper?) or would we be better off picking up one in France so that it has left hand drive? any good companies you can recommend?
 

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Have you ever driven in Europe? I think you might find it better to pick up a car in France so that you have the left hand drive - it sounds like you don't have a lot of driving experience there, so this would be better for you. You can take the Eurostar down to Calais, or to Paris and collect your car there.
 

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Had a look at that site, the Clubman is good for luggage space, but the Cooper S looks much better and is quite powerful. I think you are right about the left hand drive.
 

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A bit of advice for you if you are going to rent in France rather than the UK. It is not that different, but you should be aware.

Additional charges are often levied by car rental companies for:
-additional insurances, such as collision damage waiver are often charged
-listing additional drivers as able to drive the car may incur a surcharge on the cost of your rental
-Basic extras like a roof rack will usually incur an additional daily charge.
-You many have to pay for 'options' which might include air-conditioning (called climatisation or 'clim' in French, sometimes standard but not always); a CD or DVD player; a GPS navigation system etc. Your need for each of these will depend on your situation, but it might well be worth paying a little extra for in car entertainment or to help with direction finding.
-Car cleaning charges may be imposed - be warned!
-Don't go for airport pick up as it is usually more expensive.

Read the terms and conditions in your car rental agreement. There might be restrictions on how much mileage you can cover, how much petrol should be in the tank when you return the car, what kind of roads you are allowed to drive on (e.g. 'no off-road driving is included in the insurance' might include that car park where a tree falls on the car!) and others. Also check if you can actually drive outside of France, as I see you want to go to Spain and Italy - some companies won't let you take their cars out of the country. I actually did a similar trip last year, but just in France and I searched quite a few places for cars - the best I found in the end was these guys that do Mini rental in France and as far as I remember they didn't have any restrictions on where you could go. I know that auto europe and elite also have minis for hire, but you would need to check their policies. But which ever company you go with, I don't think any amount of insurance will cover you to do this, but it might be fun! video Mini Cooper Ski Jump (Extreme video) - jump, extreme, ski - videos Ma-Tvideo France2

Finally, when you arrive to pick up your rental car be sure you have checked it for every little dent, scratch or missing hubcap so that there is no dispute when you return the vehicle. They are quite hot on this in France - take photos too if you see any damage.
 

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I have done this before, although not to the specific countries you mentioned and not in a mini - but the principle is the same - I rented a car in the Netherlands and drove across to France and Northern Spain and it was not a problem to enter the different countries in the hire car - but don't forget to take your passport.

Two tips - try to get a deal with unlimited km's and it will be cheaper as you will cover a lot of km's. Also go for one of the larger firms to ensure if there are problems that they will have a branch in each of the countries.

The best thing to do is to contact a few of the big names e.g. Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Sixt etc and check that you can drive to all of these countries and whether they will charge you more to do so. Also if you can return the car to where you started it will be cheaper than if you wanted to collect it in France and leave it in Italy for example.

Also, be careful you know about the rules of the road and speed limits - if you do get a fine, the authorities will send it to the rental company who will then pass it on to you.
Good luck
 

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Have you ever driven in Europe? I think you might find it better to pick up a car in France so that you have the left hand drive - it sounds like you don't have a lot of driving experience there, so this would be better for you. You can take the Eurostar down to Calais, or to Paris and collect your car there.
Eurostar does'nt stop at Calais .
 
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