Keep in mind the big differences between your typical American rental car and what you`ll get in abroad. Midrange cars in other countries have less passenger room, trunk space is small, and manual transmissions are the norm. Automatics are more expensive (usually by 50 percent more) and may only be available if you upgrade to a bigger, pricier car. You may want to consider brushing up on your shifting skills; it will save you a lot of money.

If you opt for the smallest, inexpensive model, make sure that it is just you and a companion and pack light! Keep in mind that these smaller models are more maneuverable on narrow, winding roads, but be prepared for a tight fit.

Selecting your car:

You will notice that few cars offered are American, most are European or foreign brands (Opel, Fiat,Citroën, Peugeot, Renault, Skoda, and Seat). Don`t waste time carefully choosinga specific model, since you`re not guaranteed to get the exact car you signed up for, just a `similar` model.

Manual(Stick shift) vs Automatic:

Please pay attention to the category of your car. The more inexpensive cars abroad are likely to be Manual transmission (stick shift). Make sure that you can drive a stick shift should you decide to rent one of these cars.

Types of Cars

Economy Car: An economy car rental is an excellent choice for short term travel and for the traveler on a budget, being that they are small, agile and fuel efficient. Expect to get about 30 to 35 miles per gallon. These cars typically fit 4 small adults, two small-sized suit cases and a small carryon bag. Economy car rentals will allow you to stretch your dollar and reduce the cost of required insurance coverage. These vehicles are a great option for short trips where you`ll spend most of your time driving around town.

Popular Economy Rental Car Models: Ford Fiesta, Opel Corsa, Nissan Micra.

Compact Car: Compact car rentals offer a superior fuel economy (25 - 30 miles per gallon) and sufficient storage space for luggage (12 – 14 cubic feet), typically fitting about three small to medium-sized bags or suitcases. These 4-door sedans and small wagons are simple to park and maneuver. In general, you`ll find more options for vehicles in this car class than you will when booking an economy or mini car.

Popular Compact Rental Car Models: Toyota Yaris, Opel Astra, VW Golf, Mazda 3.

Mid-Size Car: Americans who are used to larger vehicles will enjoy renting a mid-size vehicle or larger. This car offers 15-17 cubic feet of storage space for luggage; you can expect to fit 3-4 medium-sized bags or suitcases. Sufficient trunk space for luggage for most week-long trips, a mid-size rental provides average fuel-economy and improved safety making it a popular choice for small families with young children.

Popular Mid-Size Rental Car Models: Ford Mondeo, VW Jetta, Nissan Qashqai, Toyota Avensis, Opel Zafira (5+2 passenger), Mazda 6, Toyota Avensis Wagon, Peugeot 3008, Opel Insignia, Renault Fluence, Peugeot 5008 (5+2 passenger).

Full-Size Car: The full-size car rental will allow for a full 18 cubic ft of storage (in most models) along with decent fuel economy at about 15 - 25 miles per gallon. You can easily stow 4 medium-sized bags during your driving tour of Europe. The roomy full-size car provides a comfortable ride on country roads while still offering plenty of trunk room and leg room for passengers. These vehicles are popular for travelers planning a road trip through the countryside.

Popular Full-Size Rental Car Models: VW Passat, VW Passat Diesel, BMW 318i, Audi A4, BMW 3Series.

Luxury or Sports Car: Renting a luxury car in Europe will allow you to drive in style and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in the world behind the wheel of a first-class automobile. The make and model of your luxury car rental will determine the luggage capacity and fuel economy.

Popular Luxury Car Rental Models: BMW 5 Series, BMW 318i, Audi A4, Jaguar XJ.

SUV or Van: If traveling with a larger group or family then consider renting a full-size van, minivan or large SUV. Big, safe and offering plenty of storage space is what the SUV rental will offer; the perfect vehicle for traveling with a family! These rentals are great for accommodating extra equipment (i.e. skis, surfboards), while still providing seating for 5 or more people.

Popular SUV and Vans Models: Ford Galaxy (7 passenger), Peugeot 3008, Opel Safira (5+2 passenger), Peugeot 5008 (5+2 passenger), VW Caravelle (9 passenger), Renault Traffic (9 passenger automatic), Nissan Qashqai, Toyota Rav4, Land Rover Discovery, BMW X5, AudiQ7, Range Rover Sport.

Tripmasters works with many local suppliers to allow you to find a great deal on the perfect car with all of the amenities you`re hoping to enjoy during your trip to Europe.