Families face paying hundreds of pounds more to hire a car this summer after prices soared both abroad and in the UK.
In one popular European holiday destination, the cost of hiring a car for a week has more than doubled since before the pandemic.
And in London prices are triple what they were in 2019.
Experts said rental companies are boosting prices to cover Covid costs, such as extra cleaning.
And a rise in demand due to staycations has pushed up prices nearer home.
Firms are also trying to recoup lockdown losses.
On top of that, there are fewer cars available after the size of rental fleets during the pandemic was reduced.
The average cost of hiring a car for a week in Europe jumped by £144 to £500 between July 2019 and 2021, research by insurance firm iCarhireinsurance found
The average cost of hiring a car for a week in Europe jumped by £144 to £500 between July 2019 and 2021, research by insurance firm iCarhireinsurance found.
Travellers to Munich face even bigger rises, with the average bill more than doubling from £212 to £502.
And in Geneva holidaymakers are being charged an average of £206 more than in 2019.
The study looked at medium-sized vehicles with six rental firms in seven European cities.
Destinations in Europe have seen car hire prices rise by up to 137% – although holiday hotspot Faro in Portugal has only seen prices rise 1%
The smallest increase was in Faro, Portugal, where prices rose by £5.
But costs in Faro also varied widely depending on the firm, with Hertz charging £661 a week compared to just under £400 with Enterprise and Sixt, the research showed.
Crete was the most expensive place, with firms charging more than £600 a week.
In the UK, costs have risen by 84 per cent since this time last year, separate research by iCarhireinsurance found.
It now costs an average of £466 for a car for a week, up from £253 in July 2020.
The study of five rental firms across seven cities recorded the biggest jump in Manchester, where the average cost rose by 123 per cent or £264.
London was the most expensive at £576 a week, against £339 in 2020 and £183 in 2019. Gerry Keaney, of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, said: ‘Our members were hit hard by the pandemic.
‘Many firms needed to cut costs urgently, so some branches were shut, staff were furloughed, and fleets shrunk.’
He added: ‘Companies are also being cautious about building up their fleet size in the face of what is a very uncertain market in terms of travel restrictions.