The 15 best tips to hire a car in Spain

We have more than 10 years of experience on car hire in Spain. You will be surprised by our tips.

1. Reserve in advance.

Spain is one of the most important tourist destinations par excellence. Car hire prices usually increase when high seasons approach: Easter Week and Summer time. Tourists come to Spain, prices rise as demand is growing, less cars are available, and the remaining ones are much more expensive. And if you plan to travel to Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca) or Canary Islands (Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma) be aware that there is a chance you will not find an available car.

Here is the tip: make your booking in advance, the sooner the better, to be sure you get a car and save some money. You can make your booking in January and pick the car up in July, with no extra charges involved.

2. Make several bookings at the same time

We recommend to book in advance but, what if you are not sure about the dates of your trip? Most of the car hire companies allow to book and pay just a small amount in advance and cancellations are usually free.

Here is the tip: if you don't know yet the dates of your trip, the car model, the destination... Make several bookings at the same time, and later, cancel those that you don't need.

3. Change the dates of your bookings if you are not travelling

If you decide not to hire a car at the last moment, change the dates of your bookings instead of cancelling. Why? Because changing the dates of your bookings is free. However, if you cancel a prepaid booking, they may charge you up to 100% of the price.

Here is the tip: if you are going to cancel your booking less than 24h in advance, change the dates of your booking. And then, cancel the booking. To make this work, read the Terms and Conditions of the car hire company and check the cancellations regulations and dates.

4. Add an additional driver if you don't have a credit card

Most of the car hire companies request a credit card payment. If you don't have any, you won't be able to pick your car up.

Here is the tip: add one of your friends with credit card as an additional or main driver. As long as your friend signs the contract in person, the car hire company won't complain.

5. Get married

There's an additional driver extra charge because car hire companies have to pay for each driver's insurance. Some countries don't consider the spouse to be an additional driver.

Here is the tip: Just get married and hire a car in the car hire office. It isn't the most romantic reason to get married, but you will save some money.

6. Don't drive if you are younger than 25 years old

If you are younger than 25 years old, or held a driving license for less than four years, some companies will charge you an extra charge, so it won't be cheap.

Here is the tip: if you don't want to pay an extra charge, all drivers must be more than 25 years old and held a valid driving license for at least four years.

7. Purchase a comprehensive coverage with no deductibles

Most of the car rental companies will block some money in your credit card to cover the car rental company’s possible damages or charges as traffic fines, special cleanings... That amount of money depends on the category of the car and the country you are driving in, but it may reach up to 1,000 GBP.

Here is the tip: Purchase a comprehensive coverage with no deductibles. Check that it really is "with no deductibles". This way less money will be charged in your credit card afterwards.

8. Purchase a full/full policy

Each car rental company have a different fuel policy. The most used are:

  • Full/full: means the cars are picked up with the tank full of fuel and needs to be returned full as well.
  • Full/empty: You pay for the fuel at the pick up time and return the car tank as empty as possible.
  • Pre-purchased: You pay for a full tank of fuel when you pick your car up, and you drop it off at your convenience. Besides all this, to pay the car rental company for the fuel is more expensive than refuelling at the petrol station.

Here is the tip: purchase with a full/full policy. You won't have to pay in advance for the fuel, nor for the refuelling fee, and you will be able to choose the petrol station.

9. Don't give in to the pressure

The car rental assistants earn a commission depending on the additional extras or better insurances you purchase at the counter.

Here is the tip: don't give in to the pressure. You have already compared the prices of all available cars, and you already know pros and cons of the insurances and extras. Be patient and keep your reservation as it is.

10. Purchase the car for a few more days

Most of the car rental companies charge the same price for a three days car rental than a two days car rental. It's more difficult for the company to manage the fleet and have the documents ready for you, than extending the time of your reservation. Besides, if you get late to the dropping off time, it will be very expensive.

Here is the tip: if you want to save money, make your reservation in advance instead of reducing your reservation dates. If you think you may get late to return the car, just rent it for a day more for a little more money.

11. Be brave, but only in the low season

We offer the best prices and additional discounts in our webpage. Even so, car rental companies' fleet is almost stopped in low season since there's no demand. They usually offer good on line deals, but not always.

Here is the tip: if you don't really need the car rental, and the price we show doesn't suit you, go to the airport and try to negotiate directly with the car rental assistant. Maybe you can get a discount or a better car for the same price.

12. Take pictures of the car at the pick up time

Having a car accident while driving is more common than you may think, even if you are an excellent driver. And not only accidents, but car panel, window, mirrors or even tyres damages... All these small damages will be charged in your account. If the car is already damaged but the car rental assistant doesn't have it on record, you will have to pay for it.

Here is the tip: check thoroughly the car when picking the car up. Take pictures of the car and check also that the car rental assistant writes everything down on the car documentation.

13. Take pictures of the car at the drop off time

After dropping the car off, a car rental assistant will check the car condition and he/she will compare it with the condition the car was supposedly delivered. If the car was already damaged but the car rental assistant doesn't have it on record, you will have to pay for it. But there can always be some damages that aren't yours... The most common charge is the special cleaning, if they think you left the car dirty.

Here is the tip: drop the car off with enough time to thoroughly check it along with the car rental assistant. Take pictures of the car at the drop off time and make sure that everything is written down on the car documents.

14. Check the charges after dropping the car off

After dropping the car off, the car rental companies can still hold your deposit or charge extra charges even after several weeks. The most usual charges are: traffic fines, motorway receipts, parking or blue zones fines, service charges, special cleanings or damages in the car. The problem is that they don't usually send you the documentary evidences that prove you are responsible of those offences.

Here is the tip: check all charges in your credit card after dropping the car off, for at least a month after. Request all documentary evidences and file a complaint if you don't agree.

15. How to file a complaint

Many people end up filling an official complaint against the car rental company. It's a long and boring process, and you have to fill in many documents and forms, which might be difficult to understand. If you are a foreigner is even more difficult since the documents are in Spanish and in the other co-official language of each Autonomous Community. It's a difficult process, especially if you don't speak Spanish or if you live in other Autonomous Community.

Here is the tip: If you have any complaint, file an official complaint. It's your right. There are two ways of filing a complaint in Spain: either filling in an official complaint form, or going to Juntas Arbitrales de Transporte from each Autonomous Community. You have to correctly fill in the documents: if you don't understand them, persevere and talk to the customer service of your car rental company. If you request a complaint form, demand the official complaint form, the car rental company form is useless.

15+1 Choose the right car hire company to travel abroad

The car hire price is really interesting, and you are planning a really nice road trip through Europe. However, if you are planning to cross several European borders during your trip, you must know that the different car hire companies have many different rules about it. Some of them wouldn't even allow you to leave Spain; others will allow you to travel to some countries only, and paying for an additional insurance... Which one should you choose?

  • Enterprise and Alamo allow you to travel for free to Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar, and to the rest of European countries, but being necessary to buy an additional insurance.
  • Firefly allow you to travel to Portugal, France, Andorra and Gibraltar, but paying an additional surcharge.
  • Goldcar and Rhodium allow you to go to just some countries, paying an extra fee.

Here is the tip: call to the office where you are going to pick the car up and make sure they will allow you to travel where you want to go. Then, book the car through MyTripCar in order to get the best price and have all the info available at just one click.