Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Car rental in Norway – 42 things to know before hitting the road

       Putting all excitement aside, driving in a foreign country can be a stressful experience… especially when you need to change sides when you drive. Other than that, language, road condition and weather play some really important roles. In Norway, all of the listed reasons should not stop you from getting behind the wheels, but before you hit the open road, take a quick look at these 42 important points to note about driving and renting a car in Norway.
Roads in Norway

About choosing the right company

1. I used a price comparison search website Argus Car Hire. To get the best deal, sign up for their newsletter so they can send you an alert when they are having sales.
car rental norway

2. There are some sketchy car rental companies out there. So be very careful. Read their website reviews and also the review of each pickup point before you decide. The most reputable companies are always Hertz, Sixt, Enterprise, Avis, and Europcar. However, I am currently having problems with Europcar and their customer service is unresponsive despite several emails and feedback so I highly recommend my readers to avoid this company.
car rental norway

3. For more budget-conscious backpackers, you can also Rent-A-Wreck. However, they only have manual cars.
car rental norway

4. I’ve read online that you are required to show your International Driving Permit if you don’t have an EU/EEA license. However, that wasn’t the case most of the time. We’ve rented cars in a few countries only with a Malaysian Driver License (including Norway) and it works just fine.

About choosing the right car

car rental norway

5. Go for unlimited mileage since you are going to cover huge distances.
6. Search around for the smallest, most fuel-efficient car because petrol in Norway is expensive.
7. Most of the cars now are hybrids. If it's not, ask for one since hybrid is more fuel-efficient.
8. There are manual transmission and automatic cars. While manual cars are more fuel-efficient, I recommend those who are not used to driving on the right side to get the manual cars to maximize focus on the road.
9. Make sure your car is well equipped with a yellow fluorescent vest and a red warning triangle. You’ll need them in an event of emergency.

Add Ons

car rental norway

10. You have to know that add ons are really expensive, but some are unavoidable, for example, the baby chair.
11. You do not need to add on GPS, because most of the time, it comes with the car system.
Norway tunnel

12. Don’t forget about insurance. We bought our insurance from Arguscarhire… Although now it is still unclear whether it is worth it, I’ll update everyone about that in the further.

Mobile plan

13. You will need a plan because there will be no wifi access when you hit the open roads.
14. If you are not a digital nomad, I believe you’ll only need 1 GB for two weeks. We bought 3 GB and had exactly 2 GB left when we ended our trip (14 days).


15. A car rental in Norway is going to be expensive, but at least, it’ll be cheaper than bus and trains. How expensive exactly? In other parts of Europe, you can rent a car for under $50 per week. In Norway however, $283 per week is considered a “deal”.
Just take a look at my screenshot, the rental fee from 6 Oct 2017 to 13 Oct 2017 (1 week) — Lisbon, Portugal vs Oslo, Norway.
car rental Lisbon
car rental Oslo

About Petrol

norway petrol

16. Considering Norway is the third largest gas exporter in the world, you might think petrol price shouldn’t be that EXPENSIVE but it is!
17. Always use cash to fuel up. Never use a credit or debit card because they will hold a deposit for a full tank (of a monster truck) and only return you that money 3-7 days later. For budget travelers, you might reach your card credit in a blink of an eye!
18. During our 2-weeks stay in Norway, we discovered that price tend to go down in the evening and is the cheapest at night
19. Gas stations are few and far away from each other in the countryside, so fuel up when you see one. Don’t be like us: We couldn’t find a gas station after our hike to Kjeragbolten… we eventually found one in Dalen, with only 1 bar left...

About the tolls

20. Compare to the (almost) tollless roads in Iceland, Norway has a lot of tolls: bridges, tunnels, the entrance of a city, fresh new roads... Most tolls are just 20+ NOK but some are really expensive. For example, for the Atlantic Ocean Road, we paid 150 NOK at the toll.
21. One does not need to stop for (most of the) tolls because each car has an electronic tag, and rental companies will pass you the bill when you return the car.
22. I recommend buying a daily toll package. However, it works continuous days. For example, if you buy a 2-day pass, it means it is valid only on 12-12-17 and 13-12-17. If you intend to drive on 12-12-17, rest on 13-12-17 and continue driving on 14-12-17, anyhow you still need to buy a 3 days pass. So I wouldn’t say buying a pass is worth it for everyone under all circumstances… I am just telling you there is such an alternative, so do your math, survey, and plan accordingly.
norway tolls
23. On some country roads, there are such thing called the “honesty boxes”. In order to use these private roads, you should deposits cash into the box although there are no one around… Norwegians aspect you to be honest, let’s not let them down.  

Choosing your starting point

Norway is a huge country and there are 8 cities that have international airports. So before you decide which city to fly into, think about what you would like to see and how much time you have for the trip. Fly into ___, if you are interested in ____.
norway fjords and beaches
24. Oslo, Norway’s capital and mountains
25. Bergen, Norway’s second biggest city, a hike to Trolltunga and the fjords.
26. Stavanger, Amazing hikes like Preikestolen, Kjeragbolten, and Trolltunga
27. Tromsø or Bodø, Northern Lights, the Arctic, and Lofoten.
28. Trondheim, Ålesund and Haugesund, important sea ports, fjords, mountains and the Atlantic Ocean Road

About your route

29. Take note of the National Tourist Routes and take as many detours as you can!
30. Find out if there is any road closure. Smaller roads and some mountain roads close down during winter and winter does not necessarily means December to February.
31. In the west coast, there are some ferries which are unavoidable. You’ll need around 150 NOK to cross the fjords (extra fees are collected per passenger.)
norway car ferry
32. Stalk a Facebook page.
33. Search Instagram hashtags
34. You can also email the city’s tourism office to get more information and advices.

To make your road trip more enjoyable

norway cabin
35. Connect with the locals on Couchsurfing to find out more hidden gems! If you are lucky, you may meet some future travel buddies!
36. Get yourself a competent co-pilot… someone who at least knows how to read a map and keep an eye out for viewing platforms.
37. Weather can be really unpredictable in Norway, so you should schedule one free day to make up for bad weather. We didn’t and that is why we missed the Trolltunga hike.


38. Watch out for sheep on the mountains! Our car was “attacked” by a group of cute fluffy sheep on our way back from Kjerag.
norway sheep

39. Look out for sharp bends, tunnels and hairpin turns. Most of the bends in the countryside are 90 degrees so be very careful, drive slowly.
hairpin turn

40. There are a lot of speed cameras around, so even if you feel the legal limit is ridiculously low, obey it or pay the steep fine.
41. Headlights are required to be on at all times and most importantly, stay FOCUS!
driving in norway

Can I rent a car in another Europe country and drive to Norway?

42. Yes! But, in contrary to the fact that all cars in Norway have to have winter tires in the winter by law, most rental cars in other places have only year-round tires, so you might have some difficulties in snowy/icy areas.

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Thank You for Reading! This post is based solely on my honest opinion or personal experience. If you have a different opinion, feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below!

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