Car Rental Prices
The least expensive rental cars in Turkey are compact cars with manual (stick shift) transmissions and small engines which run on unleaded gasoline. They cost around 40 to 70 TL per day, and the cost goes up from there if you want a larger car, a van, an automatic transmission, or a diesel engine. If you are carrying passengers and luggage, planning to drive in mountainous areas, or on secondary roads where you will need to quickly pass trucks and other slow-moving vehicles, opt for a car with a larger engine.
The cost of a rental car in Turkey will also vary according to time of year (with prices being higher during peak season), as well as the amount of time you are renting the car for. There are discounts for renting for more than a week. If you want to drop off the car in a place other than where you rented it, you will also have to pay for someone to come out to pick it up again.
Large and Small Companies
Small, local car rental businesses usually offer lower rates than the international chains. Besides the latest model cars, they also have older cars that you can rent at a bargain price. However, if you have a problem and you're far away from the place where you rented it, a small company will only be able to assist you over the phone, whereas a larger company with multiple locations may be able to bring you a replacement car.
Child Safety Seats
You can rent a child safety seat for around 10 TL per day at most rental car outlets. You should arrange this at least a day in advance so they can make sure one is available.
When to Use a Rental Car
Gasoline is very expensive in Turkey, and you will probably pay more for gasoline every day than you pay for the rental car itself. If you are traveling for a long distance to see some far-flung sight, take a bus and get to a nearby bus station first. Then rent a car locally. You should only rent a car to travel long distances if you want to see and explore multiple places during your journey.
If there is a popular sight anywhere near the town where you're staying, there will probably be a regular buses and a dolmuş service to get you there. If you use these services, you can go to the site, spend the day, then catch the bus or dolmuş back to town. It will cost you a fraction of what you would spend on a rental car.
Where to Rent a Car
Rental Car Company Offices
Practically every city and town in Turkey has rental car offices.You can usually just walk in, fill out the forms, and drive away. However, during peak tourist seasons you should reserve the car at least one day in advance.
Hotels and Pensions
Most hotels and pensions in Turkey have a car rental company they deal with. Your hotel or pension manager can probably reserve a car for you and have it delivered to the hotel, where you can fill out the rental forms on the spot. Then when you're ready to leave, the car rental company will come and pick it up.
All commercial airports in Turkey have rental car outlets. If you want a car to be waiting for you when your plane lands, reserve one in advance.
What You'll Need to Rent a Car in Turkey
- Be 21 to 75 years old
- Have a valid passport with current visa
- Have a valid driver's license from your home country issued for at least the past two years. No international driving license is required for citizens of the US, UK, or European countries. If you are from another country, check with your local Turkish embassy or consulate.
- Have a valid credit card (you will probably be required to use the card to assure a deposit, even if you are paying cash)
- A deposit, usually around 20% of the total fee or around 500 TL. This can take the form of a pre-approved credit card transaction which will be destroyed when you return the car
Note: Under Turkish law, if you have been a resident of Turkey for six months or more, you must have a Turkish driving license to drive a car. While a company may rent you a car without one, if you have an accident, the insurance company may refuse to pay out because you were driving illegally.
In Turkey, rental car fuel tanks are usually empty (sometimes dangerously so) when received. Your first stop will need to be at a nearby petrol station, unless you have arranged to have a full tank in advance. You will be expected to return the car with the same level of fuel in the tank. Fuel stations in Turkey sell Diesel (Dizel or Mazot), unleaded (kurşunsuz [ker-shoon-sooz]), and at some stations, Euro diesel. If you will be doing a lot of driving, the cheaper diesel fuels can save you money, even though a diesel or Euro diesel car is more expensive to rent.
Using a GPS in Turkey
You can bring your own GPS and use it while traveling by car in Turkey. Before you leave, however, you may need to buy and download a GPS map for Turkey from the manufacturer's website. Turkey is well covered by the GPS maps of the major GPS suppliers.
Toll Roads, Tunnels and Bridges
A few toll highways in Turkey have automated toll booths. You cannot pay the toll in cash-you need to have a Hızlı Geçiş Sistemi (huz-luh geh-jeesh see-steh-mee) or HGS (heh-geh-seh) toll transponder to pay the tolls. Bridges going in and out of Istanbul also use the HGS system. Bridges and tunnels in other parts of Turkey have tolls collected by local municipalities and private contractors, so they accept cash.
Ask your rental car company if your driving itinerary requires an HGS transponder. They usually have some cars with these transponders already mounted. If you don't want to take the toll highways, you can also use secondary highways which run alongside, but you will need to spot the exit for these before you get so close to the entrance of the toll highway that you can't turn around. If you do happen to go through a toll booth without a transponder, an alarm will sound and a camera will photograph your car and its license plate. The fine is ten times the toll. The tolls are usually around 2 TL, so expect a fine of around 20 TL.
Car Rental Insurance in Turkey: A guide help you understand car rental insurance, and make sure you have the right coverage.
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