The first thing you must do before renting a car in Scandinavia is to research the set rules and regulations. Do this well in advance of commencing your trip. Once you do that, you can start with the rental process of your vehicle. Learn more about renting a car in Scandinavia and learn everything you need to know.
Plan well to give yourself ample time to secure the vehicle that you want. Your desired vehicle will not only provide you with peace of mind, but the process will also save you money. You will then have a choice between different types of vehicles from various rental companies. You will also be able to compare the different rental companies’ fine print with each other. If you do not plan and pitch up at the first rental company, they will overcharge you almost every time. Your vehicle choice might not be available, and after a long flight, you would not be interested in reading the fine print anymore.
Go through the following checklist with care when you’re planning to rent a car in Scandinavian countries.
Age restrictions vary depending on the country where you plan to rent the car and also the type of car. For instance, to rent a car in Sweden, you have to be at least 18 years old and you must have had your license for 2 years. While in Norway, you have to be 19 years old and have held your license for 1 year. In Denmark, you have to be 21 years old and also have held your license for 1 year. It would be best if you had your international driving permit. Getting an international driver’s permit allows you to easily get around in a foreign country.
Rules of the road
In all Scandinavian countries, trolleys, buses, and passengers disembarking have the right of way. If a bus passenger exits at a crossing, you must wait until they have crossed the street before proceeding. Whether the weather is cloudy or clear, dipped headlights are required during the day.
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Related: Spectacular Driving in Norway
Parking and Tolls
Scandinavian countries don’t have any toll highways. But when you’re driving in Copenhagen, you must show a one-hour parking disc (which you can find in petrol stations, banks, tourist information centers, etc.) on your dashboard if meters are not available. Parking is prohibited on major roads of Norway, however, there are numerous municipal lots. Parking meters are color-coded, with yellow meters allowing one hour of parking, gray meters two hours, and brown meters three hours. In most Swedish cities, they have both metered on-street parking and timed ticket machines from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m
Speed limits differ slightly in Scandinavian countries. The speed limit for driving in the city for all the countries is 31mph/50kph. While for driving on highways, Sweden and Denmark’s speed limit is: 68mph/110kph, while for Norway: 55mph/90kph
Fire and third-party liability insurance are mandatory when renting a car in Scandinavian countries. Because the cost of car rental insurance varies greatly depending on the period of your rental and also the laws of the nation where you rent the car, you should choose carefully before making your reservation.
Before you sign the agreement
Check the car carefully, and make sure any damage appears on the rental agreement. You may even take some photos of the damage. If something is not working in the car, or if there are switches or controls that you do not understand, ask for help and explanation. A good idea would be to keep fuel receipts if any issue appears later. And also take a picture of the fuel gauge when you leave the car.
Accidents and breakdowns
Everyone in most of Scandinavia is compelled by law to assist in the event of an accident, even if they were not engaged in the disaster. You can access emergency services in any Scandinavian country by dialing 112, the European Emergency Number.
Hertz, Europcar, Budget, Avis, Thrifty, and Sunnycars are some of the most popular car rental brands in Sweden. Be alert and keep your eyes on the various road signs and drive safely.
Ensure that you choose the right vehicle to hire
Are you traveling with children or a lot of gear? Choose a large sedan or SUV. Remember, European cars are smaller. Be sure to order the size you need in case you do not get an upgrade. Looking to save money on rental rates and gas? Reserve the smallest available model. Make sure about any age restrictions regarding drivers of rental vehicles.
In many countries, manual transmissions are the norm, and you’ll have to pay a premium for an automatic and reserve it in advance. Familiarize yourself with the local rules of the road long before you get there. Know which side of the road to drive on, who has the right of way in a traffic circle, and whether you’re permitted to turn right (or left, in some countries) on a red light.
This information can be found in an up-to-date guidebook. Smartphone mapping apps can be expensive to use and hard to access, depending on your cell phone plan. Take a printed road map as a backup. Renting a GPS unit from your rental car company is another option; set it to English if you don’t know the local language.
Having only one driver reduces the cost hugely, but you might want to consider adding a second driver. Make sure what your car hire company’s rules are.
Renting a car in Scandinavia: Everything you need to know, written exclusively for Daily Scandinavian by Alesia Hundermort. Alesia is working as a Construction Manager, She relocates to different locations and stays for several months to oversee a project. While being there for work she also takes this opportunity to explore the area. Alesia also likes to write and share her experience with the online audience.
Feature image (on top): Aurlandsfjord viewpoint, Western Norway. © Innovation Norway