Driving in Slovenia – Lesson learned
A relatively minor hiccup on September 12, 2014, while driving into Slovenia in our rental car, brought us back to reality.
We had debated taking this road trip because we were absolutely loving the sun in southern Croatia. In the end we decided that this could be our only opportunity to get to Ljubljana, plus we had been talking about visiting Slovenia since the idea of this trip was born. So, we rented a car and headed north. (Read about our short stay in Ljubljana here: A charming and mysterious surprise – Ljubljana). When we picked up the rental car at Split airport, we had asked the agent about regulations for driving cross-border (into Slovenia and Italy) and about the international driver’s license (some rental agencies will ask for this). We did require a ‘green card’ which we paid for with the car (€3/day), but the international licence was not required.
We didn’t think to ask about permits for driving in other countries. This proved costly for us as just after we crossed into Slovenia, we were pulled over by the Polizia and handed a €165 fine for failing to display a vignette (permit to drive in the country) in our window. Apparently you could pick them up for €15 at any gas station near the border, the nearest being one kilometer back. The officer wasn’t budging. She held my passport and drivers license until we paid the fine, on the spot. I know it might not seem like a lot in the long run, but that $230 could have gone a long way for us in SE Asia.
Normally when we rent a car, we always decline the insurance as one of our credit cards will have the required coverage. A little research would have told us that in Croatia, you can in fact decline the agency’s coverage BUT they will put a hold on your credit card for the value of the car. In our case, that would have been €10,000 or about $14,000. No thank you. We purchased the agency’s insurance for an additional €14/day.
I was furious about the whole situation, but it really was our own fault. We were going through a spell of ‘just winging it’ and it finally caught up to us. It was time to regroup and get back to thoroughly researching our destinations and carefully planning our travel.
- The vignette can be purchased for €15 at petrol stations before crossing into Slovenia.
- Slovenia is not the only country requiring a vignette. Others include Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Switzerland
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jess + trickett