If you’re traveling to Argentina and what to see as much as you can of the beautiful Argentinian landscape, you should need to rent a car. The country is vast and the roads aren’t the best, and without renting a car, you’ll soon find yourself battling frustration and stranded time. Here’s a few tips I wanted to share on how to rent a car in Argentina on the cheap and fast, which I learned and tested during my 2009, 10 day trip to Argentina.
1. You don’t need an international permit
The only thing you need is your driver’s license issued by your home country, a credit card and to be aged 21. Driving is probably the easiest and cheapest way to see the sites. It allows you spend time with your family away from tourists and you can take your own time at each site. Plus you can always pop back to your hotel during the day if you want to cool down from the sun, relax and have your siesta. The only downside to renting a car is the map reading, so make sure you have a GPS handy.
2. Don’t book online – scout for rentals in person
Don’t try to book a rental online or through a third party. It’s not only a lot more expensive, but you’ll also find yourself paying up to 50% more on commissions. Go in the city, scout for some rent a car agencies and hit up the people there in person.
Renting a car in Argentina is very expensive, somewhere around $45-$60 for a normal sedan. Good thing is that it’s no fixed, so don’t be afraid to bargain with the agency. Don’t settle with the first agency you step foot it – browse a few, remember the prices for each one, and leverage each negotiation with “the other place was cheaper, can you match their offer?” routine. Ask for a discount if you’re renting for a period longer than a week as well.
4. Know how much you need to travel
Most Argentinian rentals work on a 200 km/day standard, and everything above that will cost extra, by the kilometer. Know how much you need to travel, if your plan is to drive less than 200 km a day, you can easily book anything, but if you’re going for 200km+, consider renting a car that doesn’t charge on the distance.
5. Keep your tank full
I need to emphasis this – always keep a full tank or at least 3/4! Argentina is a very big country, remember. It’s rough and wild outside the city, so don’t expect those directions on the map to be extremely accurate. What you may think is a town, where you’ll hopefully find some gasoline, can actually just be an abandoned mine or something in the likes. Be prepared, fill her up. The last you need is to run out of gas in the middle of the desert .
6. Have your papers in order
Checkpoints and police controls are an often thing in Argentina, so keep all your licenses, passport, registration and so on as handy as possible, so you can turn them over and get on with your business as soon as possible and without complications.
7. Be very, very careful on the road
Argentinian traffic is hectic to say the least. You’ll find that nobody respects millage limits, locals often going for 100 km/h in a 50 km/h zone. There’s also very few traffic signs or lights, and a driving tourist used to a more orderly manner of traffic might find himself extremely confused. Be sure to be extremely vigilant, thus, especially in the city. Keep an eye for loony pedestrians and Argentinian drivers.