Car rental user experience
Andalusia is one of the most interesting provinces in Spain, traveling by car by it turned out to be a reasonable decision. By car, you can drive around several cities and select on the spot in which one it makes sense to stay overnight (for example, we did not book accommodation in advance). If you plan to stay a couple of days on the Spanish coast, then keep in mind that expensive resorts are located to the east of Gibraltar – Malaga, and Marbella, and to the west a cheaper, but no less beautiful Cadiz. But all the most interesting in Andalusia (Seville, Cordoba and the “white cities”) is in the depths of the mainland, and in August it can be excruciatingly hot, so if the main purpose of your trip is sightseeing, do not repeat my mistake and choose another month. For a beach holiday, we went from Andalusia to the Portuguese province of the Algarve. The main advantage of the Portuguese part of the Atlantic coast compared to the Spanish one is that rest there is cheaper, minus – the water is almost always colder than in neighboring Spain. The road of Cadiz-Albufeira will take only a couple of hours, at rush hour it’s reasonable to go along toll roads, and the rest of the time it’s quite possible to use free ones, nothing like our traffic jams there anyway.
Auto or moto trip is our favorite travel format. Only by personal transport, you get complete freedom of movement, and it is so wonderful to not depend on the routes and timetables of buses and have many opportunities for improvisation and spontaneous decisions during the trip.
When we go on a road trip, as a rule, we outline the general direction and the main points on it, but always try to also see something interesting along the way – to get off the road, make an unplanned stop, and sometimes even change the route.
The first car we went on a trip to Europe was a trailer (a house on wheels) – my friends and I wanted to go somewhere for the New Year holidays but caught on quite late and it turned out that all the hotels for normal money were no longer available, so it’s in my head a crazy idea came to combine the hotel and transport together and as a result, this trip became one of the most unforgettable!
Sometimes, a car for us is just a means of moving from one point to another, but there are some routes that are just made for auto travel. For example, we received great pleasure and a lot of impressions from trips along the Cote d’Azur of France and along the Portuguese coast.
Well, in addition to a beautiful and interesting route, the car itself can create a separate impression – so, say, I don’t even remember what kind of car we rented in France, but trips to Portugal and the United States in convertibles, as well as to the Indonesian Islands on a motorcycle in memory for a lifetime.
When traveling in Asia, I like to rent a car. Yes, the most popular transport here is a scooter, but it is also the most dangerous. Road traffic is not at all the same as in Europe or Russia, but it is much better to lose a little bit of time due to denser traffic and less maneuverability on narrow roads than to go on vacation with ragged knees and not swim in the ocean.
Walking here is basically not accepted, but with your own transport, you can make a route to interesting sights and not be tied to an excursion group. In addition, a car is your own mobile home, where you can put up bathing suits with towels, warm clothes for going up to the mountains, and a light dress for a party on the beach: this way you can travel around a whole day without a lot of trips to the hotel.
Well, in island states, for example, in Indonesia or in the Philippines, where ferry services between the islands are well established, you can go very far from tourist areas with your own car and see absolutely wild places and unforgettable landscapes. One day, my friends and I traveled for three weeks to three islands, visited a dozen wild beaches, climbed two volcanoes and watched three waterfalls. At the same time, on each island, we easily found hotels equidistant from the main attractions and could vary our route based on momentary desires.
Traveling through the center of France from Paris to Dijon, we rented a Ford Focus for a company of three people. Taking a small car in France is a definite plus – you can always find a parking place. Well, the main advantage of traveling in your own car is the ability to call in all the small and non-tourist destinations on the way to the destination.
A funny story happened when we needed to fuel the Focus. In the accompanying documents in English, there were no records about the type of fuel (or were, but in small print), and no one knew French. As a result, we wondered for a very long time why the “gun” is not included in the gas tank. The comical situation continued until the compassionate Frenchman explained that we tried to refuel the car with gasoline.
In general, I advise you to pre-book a car through the Internet, not to save on insurance and be sure to understand all the options of the order. For example, you can not overpay the company money if you fill up a full tank yourself before returning the car.
I have a funny story connected with driving a rented car in Europe:
My parents and I traveled to Spain. Arriving in Valencia, stayed in a small family hotel near the airport. Budget hotels in Europe at the entrance to the city or right next to the airport are a good way to save. After all, if you rent a car, you don’t have to stop in the city center, overpaying for a room. All the sights from you are ten to fifteen minutes away. Among other pleasant bonuses, the hotel offered free parking.
- Take it! – we decided and paid immediately for several days. At the hotel we were met by the owner himself, he pointed with his hand to the parking lot. Before entering the “free” parking there was a sign: Welcome! The first two hours of parking are free.”
- How so? – we asked disappointedly at the reception. – They promised us free parking, but here it is. After all, they can find us!
“Don’t worry,” the hotel owner smiled. – No one will find you, and you will not pay a cent for parking. Go up to the room and don’t think about anything. Two hours later, I looked out of the window. The owner of the hotel approached our car, took off a cardboard counter – the clock that is given out with the rented car, so that the driver would set the parking start time – and turned the hands two hours ahead, starting another free period.