Car rental in Yerevan, Armenia – car hire at Yerevan Airport (Zvartnots International Airport), companies and agencies include Ace, Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Sixt, Thrifty?What car to rent – 4×4 – 4wd – SUV – or standard saloon car (or hatchback or other 2wd)? Some observations based on information from various sources (without having actually been to the country yet) …
- Road conditions in Armenia are not great but not terrible either? A 2wd will do the job in most cases, after all lots of Armenians happily drive 2wd vehicles?
- Off the main roads, conditions are poor – gravel roads, potholes, etc. A 4wd is more robust for those conditions.
- Some of the tourist sights off the beaten track are more accessible if you have a 4wd (mountain monasteries and churches for example).
- Winter weather conditions – snow and ice – would make a 4wd more desirable at that time of year (snowy and below freezing from November or December until February or March depending on where you are).
- A 4wd is more expensive to rent, and more expensive on gas than a similar size 2wd.
- A Lada Niva is usually the cheapest 4wd option, and is fairly basic. Most (or all) rental versions don’t have air-conditioning. More comfortable and more expensive 4wd options are also available (with a/c).
- Air-conditioning is highly desirable during the hot Armenian summers.
So for a week in Armenia, in summer, and to save money, I choose to find the smallest air-conditioned 2wd vehicle available. Some other car rental questions for Armenia …
- A credit card is usually or always needed to rent a car. A debit card often won’t be sufficient, even if you can use it as a Visa or Mastercard when shopping.
- All cars seemed to have unlimited km included, or at least, I didn’t see any with a limitation, but check anyway.
- Additional drivers almost always have to be named (assume they do unless you have specific information that says otherwise) otherwise the car could be uninsured. Usually costs $5-$10 per day per additional driver.
- Third Party, Fire, and Theft Insurance is usually included in rental cost, but double check, especially if renting from a smaller local company.
- Collision Damage Waiver is usually included in rental cost but there is likely to be an excess payable no matter what, usually around $100-$500. Sometimes can be waived by paying an additional $5-$10 per day. But watch out for unusually high excesses or high fees to waive them (quite possibly buried in some small print somewhere, or not added until the last page of your online booking expedition).
- Personal belongings are unlikely to be covered by rental car insurance – you’ll need your own insurance policy for that. And lock stuff up out of sight or take it with you when leaving the car anyway.
- Check carefully for what is not covered by insurance, for example windscreen, tyre, or wheel damage.
- Driving age restrictions vary with a minimum age of at least 21, and usually a minimum of 25. Sometimes a younger person can rent or drive if an underage driver surcharge is paid.
- Driving licence restrictions vary, you should have held a licence for a minimum period of 1-3 years depending on the company, and if it’s not in a Roman alphabet, get an International Driving Permit (IDP) and check with the company that your own country licence is acceptable (having an IDP doesn’t always guarantee that it is).
- Driving a rental car into the disputed territory or region of Nagorno-Kharabakh seems to be fine with most or all rental car agencies, but double check (and you probably need a separate visa yourself).
- Driving into Georgia seems to be fine with most (but not all) agencies if requested, and there is likely to be an additional fee (seems to be about $10 per rental period, or per day if you’re unlucky).
- Driving into Turkey or Azerbaijan is unlikely to be permitted, and anyway, land border with those countries are closed.
- Driving into Iran … who knows. Not checked, no obvious information seen about yes or no but assume no unless you get specific information that’s different.
- Driving into other countries … assume no unless you get specific information to the contrary (the most likely option is Russia via Georgia).
- Losing the car keys will probably cost you $50-$100 (or more if it’s an expensive car).
As for which company and where?
Renting at the airport is usually more expensive than from a downtown location for the same company, no matter where you go (and then of course I find a website that proves me wrong – sites using the cartrawler booking engine gave cheaper prices at the airport than at downtown or north Yerevan locations, but that might reflect differnt suppliers, groups, cars, etc). There is the convenience factor of going straight from plane to rental car, but if spending a day or two in the capital city of Yerevan is on the itinerary, a rental car is unnecessary until going further afield. So for a week in Armenia, rent a car on the second or third day from downtown Yerevan, drop it off downtown or at the airport depending on flight schedule (if an early morning flight then handing back the rental car the day before makes more sense).
One example of a large difference in price depending on location (using a cartrawler engine search) is a Suzuki Jimny with a/c (or similar) for 5 days – $388 from Yerevan Downtown or Yerevan North, but $241 at Yerevan Airport. Different price no doubt reflects different supplier, and the actual vehicles are likely to be different (maybe there’s a typo in there somewhere – one is with a/c and the other isn’t, or something).
Car rental information below is valid for July 2012, and based on searches with a 5 day rental period. Currency conversions applied at the rate of about AMD 380 to USD $1 (use AMD 400 to USD 1 if you want to try to get approximate estimates by calculating in your head). Add $10 to the daily rates below to get a price for 1-2 days, subtract $5 to get a price for 7 days (it won’t be exact but near enough). All cars listed usually represent a group, not a specific model, and are manual transmission (automatic transmission is available but usually a higher group car – more expensive).
- ACE Car Rental and Tourism Agency – Yerevan address is 8/1 Abovyan Street in the center, tel +374-10-544905, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Website www.acectrental.com forwards to www.europcar.am which seems to be for Europcar.
- AR Tour Rent – seems expensive, for example Toyota Corolla $100 per day (with a/c, 2008 model). Only 4 cars available? website www.artourrent.am.
- Avanguard Car Rental Yerevan – older cars for similar prices as newer cars from other agencies, but some luxury models available (Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover, etc). Hyundai Elantra $59/day (with a/c, 2000 model?), Chevrolet Aveo $80/day (with a/c, automatic). Toyota Prado $80/day (4wd, with a/c, automatic, age not seen). Booking page not secure (no https). Tel +374-10-500809? Location 7/3 Mesrop Mashtots Ave, central, near Blue Mosque? Website www.avanguard.am. Saw one negative comment in a travel forum.
- Avis – tried a search at www.avis.com, location Yerevan, AM. Received a “Sorry! No Avis locations are available in address provided” message. Ok, so much for that. There might be a website at www.avis.am but it wasn’t available when checked (which looks a bit suspicious).
- Car and Van Rent a Car – Kia Spectra with a/c or VAZ 2121 Niva (Lada Niva?) without a/c for $43 per day (5-7 days). Cars seem to be 1-5 years old. Tel +374-10-529292, or +374-98-559292 (24 hrs), location 50a Mashtoc Ave (Mesrop Mashtots Ave?), Yerevan – central, near the Opera House, email email@example.com, website at www.caravan.am (and www.carrental.am forwards to the same address). Opening hours Mo-Fr 0900-1900, closed Sa, Su.
- Dollar Rent a Car – website www.dollar.com, has the same information as Thrifty.
- Euro East Tour Company (EET) – cheaper, but older, cars for rent. Cheapest were Kia Pride (2004, with a/c) $45/day, Opel Vectra (2004, with a/c) $45/day, Suzuki Vitara (1993!, no a/c) $50/day, Mitsubishi Pajero (2000, with a/c) $65/day. Contact tel and address not found, email firstname.lastname@example.org(?), website www.eet.am. Not easy to find car hire details – click on “Services EET” then there’s a Rent-a-car link. Given the lack of information online, and clumsy website, decided not to bother. Anyway, for almost the same price, can get a much newer car (ok a bit more basic, and without a/c for the small cars, but I’d rather look at an old car first before considering renting it).
- Europcar – Yerevan address is 8/1 Abovyan Street (their Google map location seems to be different though), tel +374-10-544905 (opening hours 1000-1800 Mo-Sa, 1100-1700 Su), or at Yerevan Airport (24 hrs, maybe just to meet and take you to their office, website info wasn’t clear, but tel was the same as city office), website www.europcar.com, cheapest option was a Lada Niva 1.7 4wd for about $65 per day (no a/c). Smallest or cheapest 2wd option was a Ford Focus 2.0 for about $75 per day (with a/c). Although, there was something odd with the prices – the total was about $325 whether a 5, 6 or 7 day period was entered. Tried www.europcar.am also, but got the same results. And annoyingly, the results are presented in a default currency which seems to depend on either where you are or the location you say you live in, with no obvious way to change currencies. Too much confusion, too expensive, give up, try a different company.
- Hertz part I – Kia Picanto group B MDMR (with a/c) $45 per day, unlimited km. Lada Niva (no a/c) $60 per day. Government tax of 20% is included (or VAT?) in online prices. Locations at Zvartnots Airport, and 7 Abovyan street, downtown Yerevan (central) – opening hours Mo-Fr 1000-1900, Sa 1100-1700, Su closed, tel +374-10-543311. Additional driver $6 per day (up to maximum of $36 per rental). Minimum age 25 years. Driving licence held minimum 1 year. IDP recommended for anyone not living in Armenia. Insurance excess $400 for all groups? Driving into Georgia permitted if an additional fee of $48. Driving into Nagorno Karabakh permitted. Driving anywhere else outside Armenian borders is not permitted. Airport rentals cost an additional $30 approximately? They will collect and deliver within Yerevan for an additional $15, or more if outside of Yerevan?
- Hertz part II – another Hertz Armenia website appears to be www.hertz.am. It looks much the same as the main Hertz website and the location is the same, but the contact number is +374-96-584818 (is a mobile?). Another phone number seen somewhere else is +374-10-584818 which looks confusing. But they have a cheap Lada 21074 2wd for $33 per day (no a/c), or a Kia Picanto for $42 per day (but no a/c – Hertz part I website says the same car does have a/c). A Lada Niva (no a/c) is $48 per day. A Suzuki Jimny (with a/c) is $64 per day. But … the booking page asking for personal details and credit card number is not secure (no https) so that’s put me off.
- Honk Car Rental (might be represented by another company in Armenia, not clear who though) – Renault Twingo (no a/c) $40 per day, Suzuki Jimny 4wd (with a/c) $46 per day (but Jeremy Clarkson would probably say it’s not really a proper 4wd), Renault Safrane $56 per day. Minimum age 23 years. Driving licence held minimum 1 year. Young driver (21 or 22 years old, below 21 can’t rent at all) surcharge $5 (not clear if per rental or per day, assume per day). Additional driver $5 per day. Insurance excess about $400, can be waived if $25 per day extra paid … according to some information, but conflicting information says excess is about $3000 (!) which can be reduced to $600 if an additional $17 paid per day (!), or perhaps $0 if an additional $20 per day paid. So, back to the non-a/c Lada Niva perhaps … from somewhere else. Website www.honkcarrental.com. All figures converted approximately from Euro prices.
- Hyur Service – same as Car and Van (caravan) car rental? Same vehicles, prices but different location. Address 96 Nalbandyan st (near Sakharov Square), tel 374-10-546040, email email@example.com, website www.hyurservice.com.
- Noyan Tour Armenian Tour Agency – cheaper cars, but older. Huanghai Landscape $56/day (4wd? not clear if 2wd or 4wd, with a/c, 2008), Huanghai Aurora $56/day (4wd? not clear if 2wd or 4wd, with a/c, 2008). Location 21a Sayat Nova St, Yerevan (near city center), tel +374-10-542909, email firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.noyantour.com.
- SacVoyage Travel – tel +374-60-440077, website www.sacvoyage.am. Older cars for similar prices as newer ones at other agencies. Toyota Vitz $47 per day (2wd, with a/c, automatic, 2001 model). Toyota Prado $119 per day (4wd, 2008 model, automatic).
- Sixt – at airport(?) and/or 2 city locations, prices are the same whether airport or Yerevan city locations chosen. Cheapest 2wd was a Peugeot 206 Sedan (CDMN) for about $49 per day, no a/c (information not obvious) (price changed to $43 when trying booking a bit later!), or Chevrolet Aveo (manual) with a/c for $56 per day (changed to $51 when trying booking a bit later!). Cheapest 4wd was a Suzuki Vitara SUV (CFMR) for about $75 per day (with a/c). No Lada Nivas found. Airport location open 24hrs, tel +374-60-373366? Or has a meet and greet service? Downtown location Tumanyan St (central Yerevan)? Tel +374-10-234760 (or also +374-10-593153?). Opening hours Mo-Fr 0915-1830, Sa 0945-1645, Su closed, 24 hr return, 24 hr pickup on request and with additional charge. North Yerevan location 42 Acharyan St, tel +374-10-615599, opening times Mo-Fr 0915-1830, Sa 0945-1645, Su closed. Website www.sixt.com (website www.sixt.am forwards to the main Sixt site). Minimum driver age 21 years, but all renters need driving licence for minimum 2 years. Insurance excess seemed low at AMD 50,000 (about $121).
- Thrifty part I – cheapest 2wd was a Nissan Tiida for $80 per day (with a/c). Cheapest 4wd was a Suzuki Grand Vitara for $100 per day (with a/c). Location given as Marriott Hotel, Amiryan 1 (central, near Republic Square), tel +374-10-599995, (meet someone at Yerevan Airport, take Marriott taxi and pay half the taxi fare) website www.thrifty.com. Minimum age 25 years, driving licence held minimum 1 year, vehicles cannot be driven outside Armenia.
- Thrifty part II – there is a website at www.rentcar.am (and www.thrifty.am forwards to it) which says Thrifty Car Rental (DollarThrifty or ThriftyDollar? Operated by Beau Monde Service in Yerevan?), but has different prices, has a Lada Niva, and different terms and conditions. A Lada Niva 4wd (no a/c) costs $56 per day, Nissan Tiida 2wd (with a/c) for $73 per day. Minimum age is 21 years, driving licence held a minimum of 3 years, driving outside Armenia might be possible (not clear in terms and conditions). Contact details and location as for Thrifty, additional tel number +374-10-599964, mobile +374-77-599995. Saw some good reviews in travel forums (might have been just one person).
- Tourorent – cars 2-10 years old, Hyundai Tucson about $90/day (with a/c, 4wd? 2007 model), no online booking seen, website www.tourorent.am.
- Zoom Car Rental – website www.zoomrentalcars.com. Looks like Honk Car Rental with a different name, and another Car Rental Republic website. But no results returned for the same dates as entered with Honk.
Other car rental websites that appeared in search results (I tend to be extra suspicious when looking at a website where one might be handing over credit card details and personal information).
- www.argusrentals.com – another cartrawler.com website with Mondial excess cover insurance for $8 per day. Total price is $5 higher than getrentalcar.com.
- www.car4rental.com – finds rentals from Payless Car Rental, Dollar, Thrifty, Hertz, Europcar. Prices seem to be about the same as, or higher than, direct from rental companies. Except for Payless – Armenia is not in their destination list (which makes it look odd that car4rental could find cars available from Payless).
- www.cartrawler.com – searches Alamo, Avis, Dollar, Enterprise, Europcar, National, Payless, Budget, Sixt, Fox, Thrifty for best deals internationally, and offers Mondial excess insurance for $8 per day.
- www.economycarrentals.com – couldn’t find an obvious company name of who the rental agent is in Armenia, or who operates the website, so gave up. Was more expensive than other options anyway.
- www.getrentalcar.com – another cartrawler.com website, prices slightly cheaper than direct (about $5 per day for small cars)? Renault Twingo $41/day (no a/c, airport), Suzuki Jimny $48/day (with a/c, airport), could be from Hertz. Doesn’t say which supplier on booking page but next page gives address which can be used to search for supplier office. Offers excess insurance waiver for $8 per day (same for all classes, from Mondial). Prices changed significantly (lower) when retry a day later for some locations – Peugeot 206 $40 per day (no a/c, Yerevan North, Downtown), Proton Saga $48 per day (with a/c, manual Yerevan North, Downtown) – appear to be from Sixt.
- www.visitarm.com – lists car selections from several firms, including Hertz, Thrifty, Tourorent, and their own vehicles (which include luxury options – Bentley, Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes G500 and others). Booking form seems to be just an enquiry form (I didn’t try, it didn’t have secure https anyway), and prices appear to be the same as from the company websites, but not a bad place to start comparing. Then go to the actual company website to make your booking.
- www.yerevanairportcarrental.com – Yerevan Airport Car Rental searches for car rentals from Dollar, Europcar, Hertz, Honk, Sixt, Thrifty, Zoom. Prices seem to be the same as going direct through the company websites, but Zoom and Honk seem to be some sort of portal for a local agent (unknown who). All results that I got suggested adding a significant surcharge to waive the CDW insurance excess, which was a frighteningly large figure, and larger than what was given on the actual company website. Sometimes conflicting information seen about terms and conditions, for example for Hertz, they drivers younger than 25 years can drive class A vehicles if an underage surcharge of $15 per day is paid, but Hertz says minimum 25 years for all classes. Appears to have a particularly close relationship with Honk Car Rental and Zoom Rent-a-Car (all 3 websites seem to be run by Car Rental Republic). You can also search for the same car rentals at www.carrentalrepublic.com. Or at www.atlaschoice.com (not clear if it’s related or not). The extra insurance cover is provided by DriveEasy Motoring, who say they are “a specialist provider of vehicle rental excess cover“, and their address is given as c/- Car Rental Republic Ltd. So it’s back to them again. Which feels like going around in circles and is too complicated to figure out. Anyway the funny looking insurance waiver charges put me off, so I’ll go back to trying with a rental car company directly.
Other rental accessories
- Car with driver – possible at some or most locations. The driver is usually cheaper than the car, about $10 per day (plus food and accommodation if necessary).
- GPS navigation systems – about $5 to $10 per day. Some companies have a maximum per rental (perhaps $20-$30).
- Child seats, baby seats, booster seats – about $5-$10 per day, perhaps a maximum of $20-$30 per rental from some companies.
Interesting things read about renting a car in Armenia
- One company helpfully said that all their cars ”have left rudder control” and “function by liquid fuel.” Good to know!?