What's the best way, booking in advance or looking through local companies?
I'm 23 and in the past I booked in advance and both times it didn't go well. Either they had loads of hidden fees which I had to pay after making a non-refundable payment or pick up from airport didn't turn up.
What does /trv/ do when renting abroad?
So far, I've boo0ked in advance to either pick up at the airport, or to pick up where ever in my trip I planned to start needing a car.
Never had any problems, other than a surprise insurance charge in Ireland, which is was in the contract that I should have read.
Protip -- Yes it is long, but read the contract.
How realistic is the Top Gear "Ima buy this shit car for nothing and just sell it/get rid of it at the end of the time here"
Obv makes more sense for doing longer road tripping as opposed to just hanging around a city, but I'm still curious.
Well there'd be a point in the duration of your stay where it'd be cheaper to buy a cheap car then to rent one. Obviously that point depends on the price of the used car you purchase but rentals are rarely cheap in first world countries so you wouldn't have to be using it for too long to justify buying.
The longest I've rented a car for was about a week in the US, I've never bought but I imagine buying a car in another country where you don't have an address could be a hassle, that said people do it all the time.
There are also companies all over the place that cater specifically to the cheap end of the market and backpackers; in the US I hired from a company called Rent-a-Wreck and I know there's one in Australia called Hire-a-Bomb which both rent out cheaper, older cars. An Aussie favourite is Wicked Campers that hire out old vans and cars for cheap, they come with bad-arse spray paint jobs with offensive slogans on them.
I do one of two things:
1. Rent at airport
2. Stay at hotel that has transfer service and shop for a rental the next day. Some countries have loads of cheap local rental places. About $27/day $160/week