Renting in Sicily with Nova Car Hire

 In Rental Cars, Travel Tips


Frustrated. That’s what I was as I tried to find an automatic car that was large enough for our family, small enough for European roads, and within our travel budget. Every site I checked didn’t specify manual or automatic in the details. I was at my wits end. I didn’t have hours to contact every car company directly to clarify that the car was automatic. I needed a simple solution.

Clarity came when a friend suggested Nova Car Hire. It was the easy answer to my car rental needs. Better yet, they were quoting me better rates than I got going directly through the rental car company, or other rental car consolidators like Expedia and Orbitz. The cars specified manual or automatic, petrol or diesel. It showed an estimate of how many passengers and bags could fit in the car, making the choice easy for our family. I could sort the features I wanted so I didn’t waste my time on a manual mini car if I needed an automatic economy. And this was all on the 2nd page after I had filled in my desired location and dates.


The third page gave me a slew of options like adding an additional driver, booster seat, child seat, or infant car seat. Satellite navigation was also available. Insurance is of course offered; what car company doesn’t have that option? The rates were reasonable if you needed it.

One thing that was different from other rental services was that I had to put down a deposit. It could be refunded, but only if I bought their cancellation policy. This policy also covered change fees if I needed to alter my reservation. If you want to avoid the cancellation policy charge, be very sure of your dates. The USD$14 might be worth it if you aren’t.

Nova Car Hire shows rentals from several leading car rental companies. Our final rental was through AutoEuropa, a company that ended up being fairly easy to work with, especially after a very eventful RyanAir flight to Sicily. Our car seats were ready when we landed, although not installed in the car. The toddler car seat and infant car seats weren’t the 5-point harnesses we were used to at home, but they snapped into the car safely, unlike first trip to China. The infant car seat was rear facing, which was a must with my then 5-month-old son traveling with us. As car seats in Sicily seemed optional for some children, I was just happy that the seats looked like they had been built within the past 3 years and were in good shape.


Our Peugot station wagon was clean, comfortable to drive, and got decent gas mileage. It was a bit larger than we would have liked, but my lack of manual transmission driving skills hindered my ability to get the car I really wanted- an Alfa Romeo, or the tiny Fiat that couldn’t fit our family and bags in, but could have been parked anywhere.

Choosing a rental car should never be that complicated and frustrating in today’s digital world. Sorting my options and finding everything I needed on one site meant I could move onto the next element of our trip (train tickets) quickly. Any company that wants to make my life easier is worth another look on a future trip. And this time I will know how to drive a manual transmission!


Want a few more tips and tales on what it was like to drive in Sicily? Check out the little video we made as I navigated the roads. 

Special thanks to Nova Car Hire for providing our with a discount on our auto rental while in Sicily. As always my opinions are my own; when they aren’t you will be the first to know.  

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Showing 4 comments
  • Karen Dawkins

    In France, we used technology for everything! I used a translator app to understand menus in French. We used a Paris metro app to navigate travel around the city. We used another app to figure out the dollar to euro conversion. Smart phones make international travel much easier.

  • Nicole @ Suitcase Stories

    Hi Keryn!

    This is a perfect post for us because we are going to do a self drive tour of Italy in August! Im going to look into this company and see how we go.

    Thanks for sharing, hopefully we too have success with car rental!

  • Catherine

    Unfortunately our experience of both Nova Car Hire and Auto Europa was nothing like yours. We hired ex Rome for a week in late May 2013. The car we were given was already damaged and dirty. The damage was noted on the rental agreement so we thought all would be fine. We returned the car in exactly the same state, it was inspected, and we signed the check-in document. We returned home a few weeks later to find that Auto Europa had fraudulently altered the documents after they had been signed and had then taken 600 euros from our credit card! We’ve been asking Nova Car Hire to sort it ever since and have got NOWHERE. NEVER EVER hire a car in Italy through Nova Car Hire or from Auto Europa.

    • Keryn @ Walking On Travels

      Wow Catherine, that is truly horrible! We had nothing but success in Sicily, and this was after RyanAir dropped us off in the wrong city! Very good to know about Rome as we are headed that way and will be renting a car to get out to the countryside.

Loreto, Mexico