This week I’m “liveblogging” my trip to Ukraine. Unlike traditional reports, these posts will be shorter and more frequent.
My appointment with the art dealer was two hours south of Kyiv, which required a choice: Uber or rent a car. I chose to rent a car with Budget, which turned out to be a smart choice.
Renting A Car In Kyiv – My 2023 Experience With Budget
Kyiv Boryspil International Airport is currently closed to commercial traffic due to the ongoing war with Russia. It was the site of a prolific battle early in the war and the airspace over Ukraine is currently not safe enough to support commercial air travel.
Thus, when it came to renting a car I turned to city rental offices and was pleasantly surprised to find that Budget had an office in Kyiv. Not only were rental cars available, but they were cheap too: only $40/day for a small car with automatic transmission.
I took an Uber from my hotel to the car rental office, which was located on the west side of town, about 20 minutes from the center.
Pulling up, I found a pair of auto dealerships and a Harley Davidson motorcycle dealership but saw no Budget office. I went into the Skoda office where a kind woman also had no idea where Budget was, but asked if I had a telephone number. I did and she called the office for me.
Turns out the office was located above the Harley Davidson dealership. I was directed there where a man would meet me downstairs.
I found the right place and was brought upstairs to an office with Budget Rent A Car signs all over.
There, just like anywhere else in the world, I filled out the rental agreement and my credit card details and license were requested (a 1000USD hold was placed on my card).
There was an extra step: I had to sign an additional form pledging not to go into a conflict area and assuming punitive financial responsibility if I did.
After the paperwork formalities were complete, I was handed a blue folder with proof of registration and told to keep it safe.
Then, I was brought downstairs to the car…a Hyundai.
Even though my Capital One Venture X credit card includes rental car protection, I paid an extra $20 for full-coverage directly from Budget. Even so, we did an inspection around the car, which had already seen its fair share of wear and tear.
And then I was off for a two-hour drive down to a little village called Trushky.
Next: my drive south
It’s possible that your Capital One car coverage would not be valid in a “conflict zone”.
Wise to pay the extra $20 bucks.
Yeah, I’d make sure the insurance had no exclusions since I wouldn’t want to be out $30K or whatever if something destroyed it. Most regular insurances have a lot of escape clauses.
If something destroys it over there, $30k is probably the least of his concerns
When in Europe, I always pay for full protection. Good luck trying to fight an issue with a US credit card on something that happened in Europe. Not worth the hassle. Now, probably not the case in Ukraine, but watch out for traps that will bite you later on. I have been driving in the US for over 20 years and never ever got a ticket. One week driving in Italy turned into 8 traffic violations that showed up in my mailbox almost 6 months later. And Avis made sure to charge me 50 euros per violation just to send my name and address to the local place that issued the ticket. Yes, that was on the fine print of my contract. The tickets were much cheaper than what Avis charged me to simply get them sent to me. Paying those tickets is another story that is worth it own post. Be careful out there.
Ha. The City of Turin has been pursuing me for four years…it will not give up. I hate driving in Italy because of all those overactive cameras and the “Controllo elettronico della velocita” system on the highways.
@Matthew: all my tickets were from small cities in Italy and I don’t think they even understand that they are trying to get money from someone abroad. Actually, the rental car companies are probably together with them so the 50 Euros Avis charged my credit card to give my name and address to the small town send me the ticket probably goes a % to them. Some of the tickets I got were simply impossible to pay. First, they were all in Italian, second they asked me to mail a check from a Italian bank to them. How am I supposed to do that? I simply ignored them and never heard back. Now, watch out for big cities. They have the resources and money to go after you. A friend of mine got a collection company from the US knocking on his door trying to collect the money after he ignored all the mail requests.
I have driven in Europe and Italy many times and never received a ticket.
It is necessary to inform yourself beforehand about the limited traffic zones (ZLT) in most italian cities and simply not to exceed the speed limit. I never had a problem.
@Ricardo: I have spent summers in Italy almost every year in the last 10 years. All I can is that Italy is a very interesting place when it comes to traffic regulations. Places like Sicily have traffic cameras on highways but they don’t work. Yes, they are there just to scare tourists but the technology to make them work was never implemented. In Sardinia, they have signs about speed cameras but no cameras at all. Now, in places like Puglia and Amalfi Coast, they not only have speed cameras everywhere but they have the ZLT places. I never got a speedy ticket in Italy. All my tickets where for ZLT or parking violations. However, these are mostly traps for tourists. First, the ZLT signs are all in Italian and they are placed basically where you are already violating the rules. They don’t make them very clear before you get into the trap. If you are local, you know the rules but when you are not, there is so much you can do when you are on a one way street and suddenly see a sign you cannot go forward between 2pm and 4pm. Well, good luck with that. As for parking, same traps. I parked in a public parking next to many other cars. I took the time to ask some locals if I had understood correctly the rules for parking there. They confirmed I was right. I never got any ticket on my windshield but received a ticket on the mail 6 months after. How do you even try to have a conversation with someone to understand what exactly you did wrong? In big cities I basically don’t rent a car there but in small places you have no option.