Choosing the scenic road while traveling in Turkey is an excellent way to explore its real beauty at your own pace.
Whether you’re planning to stay in Turkey for a relatively long period or you prefer freedom to explore at your leisure, renting a car in Turkey might be your best option, and that’s what this article is all about.
Is renting a car in Turkey worth it?
Let’s start by answering the most common question. Yes, renting a car in Turkey is a good idea, especially if you’re planning to explore multiple cities and take side trips between your main destinations.
Car rental maximizes your flexibility and freedom by letting you stop whenever you want to enjoy the scenery and explore interesting historical locations.
It can actually be a great way to save money. For instance, you can split the rental fee if you’re traveling with a group.
If you’re an expat or staying for a long period in the country, it can be a remarkably cost-effective and convenient method to get around, compared to taxis, Uber, and private transport.
That being said, if your visit is a few days long, or you’re visiting a single city (especially a busy one like Istanbul), you might want to stick to conventional transportation methods instead.
If you’re only staying in Istanbul we’d recommend NOT renting a car. The public transportation system is top notch, and can often be a quicker way to get around than in a car. The traffic in Istanbul is hectic and for some drivers it can be very stressful. It certainly makes me nervous every time I drive in the city!
Best car rental services in Turkey
The car rental scene in Turkey has seen some significant improvements in the last few years, but that doesn’t mean that untrustworthy services don’t exist.
That’s why you should always be careful and do a background check on the company you’re dealing with while arranging your trip. Always check for customer reviews.
There are some car rental companies or online rental services that have proven their trustworthiness over the years. These include global brands such as Avis, Alamo, Sixt and Enterprise.
A good rule here is to avoid companies that sound “too good to be true”, as they’re usually a lot of hassle to deal with or outright scams.
How much does it cost to rent a car in Turkey?
The daily fee of a rental car in Turkey depends on the type of car you’re renting and the company you’re dealing with.
Ideally, the rental fee for a standard-sized car starts from $10 to $15 USD per day, although in rush seasons, the fees will typically start from $20 or higher for the same car. A premium standard car can start from $35 or higher, which is similar to the fees of a minivan.
You might find car rentals with fees much lower than this, but as previously mentioned, you should avoid them if you prefer peace of mind.
Essential tips to keep in mind before renting a car in Turkey
Now that you know more about car rental in Turkey, here’s a brief guide that walks you through all the necessary tips and steps to consider during the process.
Most rental services require driving experience and a legal age
Most rentals will only allow you to rent a car if you’re 21 years old or older. In fact, some companies will add an extra charge if you’re younger than 23 to 25 years old.
Some may also require up to 2-year driving experience (two-year-old license) to offer their services.
An international driving license is not a must
You can drive on Turkish roads temporarily with an international driving license. However, you won’t need one if your country-issued driver’s license is valid and has a photograph for identification.
Car insurance is mandatory
You must get car insurance for your rental car in Turkey. You can however choose between basic liability insurance and full car insurance that covers both your and other cars’ damage. Since the difference between the two isn’t huge, you should typically go for full car insurance.
Your visa duration must cover the rental
You can only rent cars if your visa is valid for the duration of both the rental and the trip. Some companies also require that your passport must be valid for 6 months.
Get your rental arranged before arriving
Searching for a car rental during the trip can cost you a lot of valuable time. That’s why you need to start researching companies and getting quotes before you land in Turkey.
This way, you can directly head to the pick-up point and inspect your vehicle to make sure it matches the description, and get going.
Choose the car carefully
Speaking of car inspection, you should consider various aspects to get the most out of the rental.
For example, you need to determine the ideal car size, the transmission (automatic or manual), as well as the type of fuel (diesel cars are usually the most cost-effective).
Once you get to the car in person, you need to inspect the car’s condition and safety features and document any signs of damage like scratches through photos.
If you’re traveling between cities, choose a car that has toll payment stickers because some booths don’t accept cash or credit.
Also, if you’re taking toddlers or babies under 77 lbs (35 kg), you must use proper restraints or child seats in the car. Children younger than 10 years old should always sit in the back with seat belts on.
Choose a suitable pick-up/drop-off location
While looking for a rental service, check the pick-up and drop-off location options and choose ones that are close to the airport or accessible by public transport. This makes your transportation a lot easier before and after renting the car.
Enjoy the journey!
While Turkey has plenty of reliable means of transportation, renting a car always has its unique advantages for traveling.
Remember to take your time while researching rental companies and pick reputable options while keeping the previous tips in mind. We recommend using a service like Expedia.
Also, while you’re at it, you should familiarize yourself with essential traffic rules in Turkey to avoid any unexpected surprises or fines while enjoying your time on the Turkish roads!
I’m a writer and graphic designer currently living in Turkey with my family. I enjoy learning language, great food (chicken kebab is a favourite at the moment) and experiencing places less-traveled.