Car rental in IndiaWhere to pick up
Popular car rental cities in India
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Car Rental in India: a huge country of extreme diversity
India is a country of extreme diversity, and every region you visit has something new and unique to offer. While inner city roads will try your patience and driving skills, there’s so much of India to see that it would be a shame to be dependent on public transportation. Make the most of your visit by booking a rental car today.
India is a huge country, meaning that weather conditions also vary depending on the region you’re planning to visit. As a general rule, however, the dry season, from October to March, is the best time to plan your travels.
The two official languages of India at the national level are Hindi and English, but there are numerous further languages that are official at the state level, including Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. Not all Indians speak English, so consider picking up phrases and basic knowledge of the major language of the area where you’ll be spending most of your time.
The currency is the Indian rupee. Currency exchange is widely available in major tourist destinations. In cities that receive less tourist traffic, currency exchange is most available in banks, though you may find that travel agencies will offer a more competitive exchange rate. Note that you should exchange your remaining rupees back into your domestic currency before you clear security for your return flight.
Automobile hire is available in numerous Indian cities, particularly in major tourist centers of New Delhi and Mumbai, as well as in up and coming cities, such as Bangalore. As a general rule, you are likely to find the cheapest car rental options at these cities’ international airports.
Many nationalities can now travel to India via an e-Tourist Visa, which you apply for online at least four days before your scheduled arrival and which allows you to stay for up to 60 days. The fee for the e-Visa depends on your nationality. Double check regulations well in advance of your trip, as some nationalities must apply for a visa before they arrive.
Driving in India
Driving in India is not for the faint at heart. City roads are crammed with people, whether in cars or not, traffic conditions often turn to congestion for no apparent reason, and other vehicles on the road change their paths often and without warning. It is absolutely necessary to drive defensively, particularly in Indian cities! With that said, driving will make your travels throughout India much more independent and intimate, and if you don’t feel comfortable driving yourself, hiring a driver is a viable and often inexpensive option - particularly if you’re willing to haggle.
- Traffic follows the left-hand side of the road.
- Speed limits range from 40 to 60 km/h (25 to 37 mph) in cities throughout India, with special zones set dramatically lower.
- On the few major expressways of India, speed limits range between 100 and 120 km/h (62 and 75 mph).
- Traffic is generally bad in Indian cities during the day, particularly during rush hours.
- You will need an international driver’s permit in addition to your domestic driver’s license in order to drive and rent a car in India.
- There are numerous toll roads in India, particularly expressways in and between major cities.
- The minimum driving age in India is 18 years old, though you will likely have to be at least 25 years of age in order to rent a car.
- Indian drivers honk their horns often, so feel free to participate in the cacophony, particularly to alert drivers of your position whenever you feel worried that they’re unaware of your presence.
- Waze is a very helpful app for Android smartphone users navigating the roads in India.
Cheap Car Rental in India
Automobile hire in India typically starts at around $35 a day. Here are some of the best deals in India:
- Hyundai I10 or similar (mini class) – $43/day
- Ford Figo or similar (economy class) – $45/day
- Toyota Etios or similar (compact class) – $57/day
- Honda Amaze or similar (intermediate class) – $58/day
- Suzuki Ciaz or similar (standard class) – $63/day
Note that prices vary depending on the availability of each specific car and the season in which you rent. For the most accurate offers, use the search bar above.
Tips for Renting a Car Inexpensively in India
You can save an average of $8 by renting at airports rather than in downtown locations.
Rental options are typically cheaper if you book your car one to six months in advance of your arrival date.
Avis is the cheapest international car rental agency in India, though local or more regional car agencies can often beat Avis’s price, such as Instant Cabs in Bangalore.
If you book your car for more than a two week period, you can also often save at least $7 per day!