Driving on toll roads with a rental car - how does it work?

In the Netherlands, we pay road tax for the maintenance of our road network. In many other countries, however, you pay tolls to use certain roads. How is this regulated for your rental car? We'll explain!

The difference between paying toll and using a toll vignette

There are two ways to pay for using the road network. You pay toll once to be allowed to use a specific road or route. A toll vignette is bought in advance and allows you to use the road network for a certain period of time.

A toll vignette is included for the country where you pick up the car

A toll vignette is always included for the country where the car is registered. So are you renting a car in Austria? Then the toll vignette has already been arranged by the local car rental company and is included in the rental price. However, if you take the rental car across the border to another country where a toll vignette is required, such as Switzerland, then you will need to arrange this again yourself. Please note that in these cases you often have to apply for a border crossing as well. 

Tolls can be paid in cash or electronically

Are there toll roads at your holiday destination? Then you pay the toll when you drive on that road. Each country has its own toll system. When you pass a toll booth you can usually pay in cash or by credit card. Sometimes you can only pay the toll electronically by means of a toll booth. This box registers every time you drive on a toll road and you will receive the bill at the end of your rental period. If the local car rental company offers a toll box, this will be stated in the specific terms and conditions of your chosen car. Good to know: you pay a fee for renting the box when you pick up the car, the actual toll costs will be charged to your credit card later. 

How do I arrange a toll vignette for my rental car when driving in another country?

To apply for a toll vignette online you need the vehicle's registration number. Since you only know the license plate number when you pick up the car, it is not possible to apply for the toll vignette online in advance. Fortunately, many vignettes can also be purchased at the ANWB. You can also often buy a toll vignette at gas stations along the highway. Note: before you cross the border you must already have a valid vignette. You risk a fine if you first drive into the country and then buy a vignette. So make sure you know the rules of your holiday country in advance. For all practical information about toll roads at your destination, go to the ANWB Country information page.