Do you plan renting a car in Turkey? Whether you’re cruising along the coast or navigating the bustling city streets, having your own set of wheels can transform your trip. To help you steer clear of any roadblocks, I’ve put together 16 essential tips for renting a car in Turkey. From understanding local traffic laws to securing the best deals, these insights will ensure you’re fully prepared for the drive ahead. Buckle up and get ready to hit the road with confidence!
Table of Contents
1. Use comparison portals
Booking a rental car in Turkey can cost a lot. That’s why you should take your time to compare prices.
The search for a rental car therefore unsurprisingly begins online. Comparison portals are more useful for this than the direct websites of the large landlords.
They show you the available cars from several rental car companies. This will usually help you find a cheaper price right from the start.
I usually use avis.com.tr/en or sixt.com.tr/en . The sites are in English, have good support, and find almost all offers in Turkey. Cancellation is also possible free of charge up to 24 hours in advance.
2. A cheap offer doesn’t have to be good!
Life would be very beautiful and easy if comparing the prices solved all the questions.
Have you found a “super bargain”? A cheap offer doesn’t have to be good!
Fees or insurance are often unclear on the booking pages. This sometimes results in higher costs than stated. This mainly happens due to one-way fees, a lack of insurance, or an incorrect time for returning the rental car.
You can find more detailed tips on the individual points in the rest of the article.
The language of the rental agreement is also important; it should definitely be in English.
3. A day lasts 24 hours for some car rental companies.
You book the car on Friday at 10 a.m. and return it on Saturday at 1 p.m. It’s been 26 hours. In the worst-case scenario, you will pay for two full days.
The solution? Pay attention to this when booking. Online you can see the total price for the booking at a glance.
You have to ask about this in a store first. It is best to put the agreement in writing.
4. Pay attention to the rental agreement
It is understandable that the rental agreement should definitely be written in English.
You should receive the terms and conditions together with the contract. Ideally, they are written directly on the back of the contract. You will receive it online directly after booking the rental car by email.
Read the terms and conditions and the contract carefully so that there are no rude awakenings later!
The contract must contain the exact address, contact details, and telephone number of the landlord as well as all of the tenant’s details: name, address, driving license and passport number, registration number, type of insurance, …
The contract must also contain the final amount for booking the rental car.
Since there is no vehicle registration or vehicle registration document in Turkey, only the car’s documents (Ruhsat), the rental agreement is also legally the vehicle registration document with which you can prove during an inspection that you are allowed to drive the vehicle.
5. Remember the one-way fee!
You often have to pay a one-way fee to book a rental car in one location and return it somewhere else.
This is the case, for example, if you rent a car in Istanbul and return it in Bodrum. Therefore, when looking for a rental car, make sure that the one-way fee is included in the price. Sometimes you don’t see them directly on the pages. To do this, you often have to click on the landlord’s website on the comparison sites and possibly ask them again directly.
Some rental car companies do not charge a one-way fee – so it makes sense to compare several providers.
If you book the car directly in a shop in Turkey, you should definitely agree on the amount of the one-way fee in advance – in writing! You can always negotiate a little on the price.
6. Refueling and free kilometers
Make sure that all the kilometers you drive by car are “free”. This means that no maximum kilometers to be driven are included in the conditions. This is now standard for almost all rental car companies in Turkey.
Nevertheless: the rules depend on the rental car companies. Compare them!
When it comes to refueling: you receive the car with a full tank and have to return it with a full tank. That or the opposite case (empty-empty) is the standard.
The rental companies charge an additional fee if you bring the car empty. This is money wasted unnecessarily.
Some rules are always to your disadvantage:
For example, this is full/empty. In this case, you pay for the first tank of fuel and can return the car empty. You’ll never be able to return a car completely empty. This means you are giving away a portion of the tank filling. Unfortunately, this often cannot be chosen.
In Turkey, renting cars with an empty tank is common. You can also return the rental car empty.
7. Your car should be well insured!
The traffic rules in Turkey are basically the same as in Europe or the United States. The difference lies in traffic behavior.
The problem is that many drivers see rules as just a kind of recommendation. This is best compared to the south of Italy. The accelerator pedal is at the stop and the horn is one of the most important parts of the car. In curves, you overtake happily on land…
That’s why good insurance coverage for your rental car is a must! So you feel safe while driving.
In most search portals, insurance prices and types are clearly marked. You can even sort by the level of insurance coverage.
The most important thing is liability insurance for damage to other cars. And fully comprehensive insurance for damage to your own rental car. The insurance price differs depending on the deductible.
As a rule, with fully comprehensive insurance there is a deductible for any damage (not caused by gross negligence or intentional) of 500 euros. If you want to exclude the deductible, expect additional costs of €5 to €10 per day. Make sure to explicitly state this in the contract.
The liability insurance coverage for a rental car should be at least one million euros. The sum is also necessary in Turkey.
However, not all insurance is necessary for a rental car in Turkey. I’m coming to this now:
8. Additional insurance is often unnecessary:
The classic is insurance against glass breakage and tire damage. Sellers are particularly happy to offer this for trips on the south coast. With the argument that the roads are not that good and there are often falling rocks. Nonsense!
The streets in Turkey are in very good condition. Such insurance often costs €50 to €100 per week. I’ll take the risk.
The second classic is the “break-down service”. It is often not included in standard insurance. This means that if your car breaks down, you will have to take care of the towing yourself.
Insurance, on the other hand, can cost up to €100. The salespeople’s argument is: “If you stay lying down, no one will help you.” Exactly the opposite is the case! The Turks are really very helpful.
A good car insurer should also see it as a given that they will help in the event of a breakdown or accident – at no extra charge.
9. Additional fees, additional fees, additional fees, …
Aside from one-way fees, car rental companies have come up with many legitimate and unjustified ideas to charge more money. This is not just the case in Turkey.
Some fees are legitimate, some are intended to make more money. Young drivers are causing more accidents.
The classics are:
- Age: If you are under 24, you will usually pay more for insurance and for the car.
- Second driver: the insurance should at least include a second driver who can drive the car. I see anything else as bad service.
- Navigation device: Some rental car companies do not have a navigation system installed in the car. They often charge €5 or €10 a day for this. Calculated over a week, this costs more than a sat nav that you buy yourself . Otherwise, Google Maps is sufficient for navigation in Turkey.
10. FAQ about driving in Turkey
I’ve already written it: You drive in Turkey, Istanbul or Antalya like in the south of Italy. The right of way doesn’t play such a big role, the barrier line doesn’t matter at all, but the horn is even more important. People tend to ignore red lights, the accelerator pedal is more important than the brake, …
Overall, Turks are therefore very attentive on the streets. They basically expect everything. You should do that too. Then driving in Turkey is not a big issue.
Traffic rules and penalties:
- Driving license: You are only allowed to drive vehicles for which you have permission to drive in Europe or other part of the world.
- Seat belts and helmets are required.
- Ban on drinking and driving! This means an absolute ban on drinking and driving!
- Right before left applies, but people tend to ignore that.
- Never rely on a barrier line!
- Maximum speed: 50km/h in local areas, 90km/h on country roads, 100km/h on motorways.
- You can find gas stations on every street corner. You tell the gas station attendant how much to fill up with. The gas station almost always has a small supermarket and a clean toilet.
- Traffic fines: red light 206 TL, speeding by 10 – 30% 206TL, over 427 TL, driving a motorcycle without a suitable driving license 1763TL. So don’t let anyone talk you into 100cc scooters!
- You NEVER pay traffic fines on the spot! The notice goes to the rental car company! If you pay within the first 14 days there is a discount of 25%.
11. Pay attention to the correct pickup and drop-off location
Remember to find out beforehand where you can pick up the car. There are eight different rental car companies at Antalya Airport alone. They are spread across three terminals, two kilometers apart.
In tourist towns, it feels like there is a rental car dealer on every street corner. They rarely parked their cars in front of their stores. So find out exactly where you have to pick up and return the car.
Most rental car companies will bring the car – at least if you rent it for longer than 3-5 days – directly to your hotel or to the airport terminal. This is of course very practical.
Do you have to return the car to another location? Then find out more about it beforehand! This way you won’t be stressed on your last day. Enter the drop-off location into the navigation system in advance and plan to stay for at least half an hour. So you don’t have to worry about getting to the airport on time.
12. You need a credit card or the rental amount in cash
Since July 1, 2017, booking a rental car in Turkey has to be made via an account.
This means: payment must be made by credit card or bank transfer or the landlord collects cash and deposits the money into an account himself. In addition, a contract or invoice must be available. Companies also have to report the rental cars they have booked to a registration office – similar to a hotel booking.
This is a measure to counteract the fact that a large proportion of the rental cars booked have so far bypassed the tax authorities.
When booking a rental car online, a credit card is of course required.
13. Should I book at the hotel, online or with local car rental companies?
Two points are crucial for this: price and comfort.
- Local car rental companies: These are the cheapest, but you have to go out of the hotel or call a car rental company, find out the price, and pay attention to the conditions.
- Hotel: Booking is more comfortable, but costs more money. The cars come from local rental companies with which the hotels have an agreement. The price is usually higher because the hotels still contribute to the commission.
- You have the opportunity to compare offers online. If you want to drive straight from the airport, you can hardly avoid making a reservation in advance.
In all three cases, if necessary, the car rental companies will bring the rental car to your hotel and pick it up again from there. This is more convenient but may cost more.
The better and larger local car rental companies now also have professional websites where you can book the vehicle online.
14. Take the handover and return of the rental car seriously!
Before you leave, check the car carefully for damage and have it recorded in the handover report. Be just as meticulous as the employees at the rental car company!
Take photos with your phone before departure and after return! You should photograph all sides and the interior of the car! This makes it clear to you and the rental car company whether the damage came from or not.
Pay particular attention to the condition of the tires and also remember to check the spare wheel.
In Turkey, you can usually get a car with a few thousand kilometers on the clock. This applies to almost the entire country. In smaller cities, there are sometimes older cars. But this is no longer a major problem since, there is a TÜV for the vehicles. There is often a small piece of paper hanging in the car on which the maintenance intervals are noted.
15. What if I have an accident or other problem?
In the event of a breakdown or accident, a good car rental company will give you a number that can be reached at any time.
In the event of an accident, always contact the police! This also applies if the other party involved in the accident does not consider this necessary! Without “Rapor” no insurance will pay! In addition, the other party in the accident can report you as the cause of the accident, even if you are not at fault!
The police are obliged to record the accident if a rental car is involved.
Remember to prepare a damage report with a detailed description of the circumstances, ideally with photos and/or sketches.
If you fail to do so, you can be held liable for the repair costs of the rental vehicle, as the Turkish insurance company will not pay without a police report with an alcohol test (“Rapor”).
Never (EVER) sign documents or handwritten notes that you do not understand. Only make a statement to the police once an interpreter is present. Every police station is obliged to call an interpreter.
Martina always recommends that her customers call her beforehand. She then drives with them to the police.
- Fire department: Tel. 110
- Police: Tel. 155
- Emergency doctor/ambulance: Tel. 112
16. Use local rental car companies
Although car rental portals are practical, they only define car rental based on a single criterion: the basic price. As already mentioned above, there are various pitfalls when renting a car abroad that can quickly turn what is supposed to be a bargain into expensive fun. In the worst-case scenario, you end up standing at the airport at night with your bags and luggage and have to grudgingly agree to the surcharges because otherwise you’ll be left without a vehicle.
The good local landlords are represented on social media such as Facebook and HolidayCheck and there are also reviews/experience reports.
You are best served by the long-established, larger local rental car providers – they also have websites with booking functions on the Internet.
Seriously, check out the car rental reviews! For a few euros more you can save yourself problems.