Car rental in French overseas departments and territories


Top 3 tips for renting a car in French overseas departments and territories, French Guiana and Reunion Island

Would you like to rent a car in the French overseas departments and territories?

It's crucial to heed a few tips to ensure a smooth, carefree rental experience.

One of the best tips in car rental is to make the vehicle deposit online via the Swikly app.

It's an ingenious solution that allows you to preserve your credit card limit while guaranteeing the security of your deposit.

For example, if you want to rent a car with a debit card when you need a credit card. You'll be able to make your deposit with the swikly application, with no impact on your ceiling, and you'll only be debited in the event of a claim.

With just a few clicks, you can block a specific amount on your card, freeing up your spending capacity for other travel needs.

Plan ahead and compare options

Before you travel to the French overseas departments and territories, take the time to plan your car rental in advance. Look for local rental agencies like Jumbo Car, consult websites and online comparators like liligo and read customer reviews to get an idea of their reputation.

By booking in advance, you'll have more choice of vehicles, better deals and avoid disappointment due to lack of availability during busy tourist periods.

Choosing the right vehicle

It's important to select the type of vehicle that best suits your travel needs (nature, city, relaxation or adventure...).

If you're planning to drive mainly in town, a small economy car might suffice. On the other hand, if you're planning to explore more remote/secret areas or take winding roads, consider an SUV or 4×4. Choose according to the number of passengers, the amount of luggage and the road conditions you'll encounter.

The French Overseas Departments and Territories (DOM-TOM) abound with natural treasures such as the Chutes du Carbets, the Presqu'Île de la Caravelle and the Isles of Salut, as well as rich cultures and adventures. One of the best ways to explore them at your own pace is to rent a car. Whether you're planning to visit Martinique, Guadeloupe, Reunion, French Guiana or other exotic destinations, this guide will provide you with essential tips for renting a car in the French overseas departments and territories.

How do I rent a car in the French overseas departments and territories?

The French Overseas Departments and Territories (DOM-TOM) abound with natural treasures such as the Chutes du Carbets, the Presqu'Île de la Caravelle and the Isles of Salut, as well as rich cultures and adventures. One of the best ways to explore them at your own pace is to rent a car. Whether you're planning to visit Martinique, Guadeloupe, Reunion, French Guiana or other exotic destinations, this guide will provide you with essential tips for renting a car in the French overseas departments and territories.

Prior research

Before flying off to your favorite destination in Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion or French Guiana, it's a good idea to research local car rental agencies online. Check out rental agency websites, read customer reviews and compare rates including options. Avoid reserving a car directly at the rental agency, as costs will be higher.

Documents required to rent a car

Make sure you have all the documents you need to rent a car.
In general, you will need :

  • Driver's license (valid for at least 1 year)
  • Proof of at least 21 years of age (valid identity card);
  • A credit card in the same name as the licensee for the security deposit.
  • A credit card for the deposit or the swikly app to make a deposit without touching your ceiling

Please note that on the day you collect your vehicle for your adventure in the French overseas departments and territories, you will need to credit your bank account with a minimum amount in order to validate the compulsory security deposit, which is made by bank transfer (depending on your available funds). CB, VISA, EUROCARD and AMEX cards are generally accepted.

What type of insurance should I choose when renting a car?

Before finalizing your car rental, find out about the insurance options available.

Basic insurance is usually included, but you may want to consider additional insurance for total peace of mind. Make sure you understand the conditions of coverage in the event of an accident or damage to the vehicle.

Rules of the road in French overseas departments and territories, French Guiana and Reunion Island

Rest assured, the French highway code is similar to that of the Antilles, French Guiana and Reunion. The only thing that will change is the frame and the road.

However, traffic regulations, speed limits and road features may differ from what you're used to, so it's important to drive carefully and obey the rules.

Fuel in the French West Indies, French Guiana and Réunion

Check the rental company's fuel policy. Some rental companies will provide you with a full tank of fuel, and you'll have to return the vehicle with a full tank as well.

Others may ask you to return the car with the same fuel level as at the start of the rental.

In the French West Indies, French Guiana and Réunion, all service stations have the same
prices throughout the department. No need to look for the most competitive service station.

Checking the rental vehicle before and after rental

Before taking possession of the vehicle, carry out a thorough inspection to note any pre-existing damage. Take photos and videos if necessary. At the end of the rental, do the same to make sure you won't be held responsible for damage you didn't cause.

What should I look out for when booking my rental car?

Available vehicle types

Make sure the rental agency offers a range of vehicles to suit your needs. If you're planning to travel with your family, an SUV or minivan might be more appropriate. If you're planning to drive on rough roads, a 4×4 may be necessary. Some agencies offer a vehicle from the same range as the one you choose online, so keep your eyes peeled.

Unlimited or limited mileage

Make sure you know the mileage policy. Some agencies offer unlimited mileage, which can be advantageous if you plan to travel long distances. Others may have mileage restrictions, which could result in additional charges if you exceed the limit.

Additional charges

Read the rental conditions carefully to identify any additional charges. This could include extra driver fees, airport fees, young driver fees, fees for crossing certain borders, etc.

Cancellation policy

Make sure you understand the rental agency's cancellation policy in case your plans change. Some rental companies may charge a cancellation fee, while others offer more flexible conditions.

Conditions of collection and return

Find out about pick-up and drop-off times and locations. Make sure you understand the policies for late returns. Check whether there is a free shuttle service to the agency near the airport.

Customer reviews

Look for customer reviews of the rental agency you're considering. This can give you an idea of the quality of the service, the cleanliness of the vehicles and the transparency of the rental conditions.

Which car to rent in Reunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique or French Guiana?

Your choice of car rental will depend on the specifics of each destination, your travel needs and your planned itinerary. Here are a few suggestions for each destination:

Car rental in Reunion Island : Due to its winding and sometimes rugged roads, it may be wise to rent an SUV, crossover or even a 4×4 if you plan to venture into more remote areas. For example, if you want to visit Saint Gilles, Le cirques de Cilaos and many others... These types of vehicles will offer a more comfortable and safe ride, as well as a greater ability to explore the island's more remote corners.

Car rental in Guadeloupe A small economy car may be appropriate if you plan mainly to get around towns and tourist areas such as Le Gosier, Sainte-Anne or Pointe-à-Pitre. If you want to explore further and access more secluded beaches like Grande-Anse, an SUV or crossover may be a better option for coping with some of the winding, mountainous roads.

Car rental in Martinique As in Guadeloupe, a small economy car is ideal for urban travel and sightseeing: especially in cities like Fort-de-France or Le Lamentin. However, if you intend to take a road trip and venture into mountainous areas, consider an SUV for a more comfortable drive.

Car rental in French Guiana : Because of the dense jungle and variable road conditions, a 4×4 may be recommended for exploring certain parts of French Guiana, especially towards Cayenne, or if you wish to visit the bagnes, the Hmong village... If you are staying mainly in urban areas, an economy car may suffice.


Renting a car in the French overseas departments and territories, Reunion or French Guiana, can be an excellent way to discover the wonders of these unique territories. By doing your research beforehand, booking in advance, using Swikly to make the deposit and respecting local driving rules, you can enjoy your trip in complete freedom. Remember to stay safe on the road and make the most of this unforgettable adventure.

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