Boost for holidays as car hire prices plummet

Prices have fallen at several of Europe’s most popular destinations  (Getty Images)
Prices have fallen at several of Europe’s most popular destinations (Getty Images)

The cost of car hire will be far lower in many popular tourist destinations in 2024, new data suggests.

Figures analysed by Which? show that the cost of hiring a car is now up to 47 per cent cheaper than during the same periods of last year.

Which? analysed data from over 3,000 week-long rentals from 13 popular airports including Palma, Faro, Larnaca and Orlando, and found that 11 of the airports had lower prices this Easter than they did in 2023. Nine of the airports had lower prices for the upcoming summer.

The biggest price falls came in the summer period, where rental in Rhodes, Greece was 38 per cent cheaper – a fall of £160 – and Alicante, Spain, where prices have fallen by 34 per cent (£116).

Over Easter, Funchal in Madeira saw the most noticeable drop in prices, with a 35 per cent drop from £412 in 2023 to £266 this year. Lanzarote saw a fall of 33 per cent, while Corfu saw the biggest percentage difference, with 47 per cent fall from £158 last year to £84 in 2024.

Prices did rise in some cases, with Rhodes seeing a £28 increase for Easter 2024, and Malaga, Nice and Malta seeing modest rises of between four and nine per cent for the summer 2024 period.

Which? credited the price falls to the easing of supply chain and manufacturing issues that had been affecting the car hire market since the pandemic.

“Now that many of those supply chain issues have eased, companies have finally been able to replenish their stocks,” said the consumer champion.

“At the same time, the brakes have been put on the used car market, meaning car hire companies are more likely to hold onto older stock for longer, rather than opting to resell. With an oversupply of vehicles comes cheaper prices for holidaymakers.”

Nevertheless, rental prices are still higher than they were pre-pandemic, with Easter prices up 51 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, and summer costs up by 53 per cent.

Naomi Leach, deputy editor of Which? Travel, urged consumers to book with reputable companies and be aware of the tactics some providers use.

“While it’s encouraging to see car rental prices finally starting to ease after the sky-high rates of the last few years, travellers should nonetheless be cautious if they’re quoted a rock-bottom price that sounds too good to be true.

“Even when prices are low, the worst companies might still employ dodgy tactics like adding on unfair fees or pressuring you to purchase extras that you don’t need. Book with a reputable company or use a trusted broker to ensure you’re getting a fair deal.”