RUSure – Car Hire in Portgual

When you read travel message boards or browse through articles on newspapers such at the Guardian or Telegraph you will notice a pattern when it comes to car hire.

Many people are dissatisfied with their interactions with firms particularly concerning hidden fees and various add-ons which are sometimes not clearly laid out so can be quite a shock.

Let’s say you’re about to pick up your rental car in Portugal in a few weeks. What are the main things you need to know?

Firstly you’ll need to budget for the deposit.  A generous deposit needs to be paid either by cash or credit card when renting a car in Portugal particularly with something larger such as 7 seater car hire. The deposit is refunded on return of the vehicle.

Hitting the beaches of the Algarve?  Along with your bucket and spade, don’t forget the following if you need a car:

Passport (Passaporte)
Valid Visa Credit Card (Cartao de Credito)
Proof of address in Portugal (Hotel, apartment)
Valid driving licence
Photographic proof of identity.  If stopped by police, you will be required to show this to officers.

Tolls:

Since October 15th 2010, drivers are required to carry a temporary automatic toll device in their vehicle, in order to use certain motorways.  These motorways include the A4, A17, A25, A28, A29, A41 and A42.  There are plans to expand this legislation to cover other toll roads frequently used by those who travel by car.

Each toll device must be pre-loaded with a minimum of €50.  The toll device can be purchased from motorway service stations, CTT which is the post company in Portugal and Via Verde shops.  A security deposit of €27 must be paid to secure the device.  When leaving Portugal, the device should be returned to one of these outlets.  The deposit paid for the device and any unused credit is returned to you when you hand it back.

Reflective Jackets/Waistcoats:

Drivers are advised to wear reflective jackets or waistcoats while the driver and/or passenger leaves the vehicle.  It is best to carry the jacket in the passenger compartment of the vehicle instead of the boot, as this is a compulsory requirement for all Portuguese drivers.

Always check that a jacket has been supplied to you before leaving your car rental agent’s pick-up point.

Fines:

Found cheap car hire in Portugal? Doesn’t matter what kind of bargain you’ve stumbled upon, breaking the law will see you broke over here. On the spot fines must be paid in Euros.  Most police vehicles also come complete with portable ATM machines so there’s no excuse for not paying there and then.  A receipt displaying the maximum amount of the fine should also be obtained.

Avoid Getting Lippy:

There’s no point arguing.  Foreign motorists who refuse to pay the on-the spot fine are asked for a deposit to cover the maximum fine for the road traffic offence.  If a motorist refuses to do so, the police may take his driving licence or registration document. Failing this, they may also confiscate the vehicle.

Oh and, just so you know…

These are the standard legal speed limits:

In built-up areas: 31mph (50 km/h)

Outside built-up areas: 55 mph (90km/h) or 62 mph (100km/h)

Motorways: 74 mph (120 km/h)

The minimum speed on motorways is 31 mph (50 km/h) Those who have held a driving licence for under one year should not exceed 55 mph (90 km/h) or any speed limit.

 

RUSure Malaga

So you’ve got your stripy t-shirt, your jaunty black beret and an in depth knowledge of all that is cubist and surreal – great. Looks like you’re good to go walking in the footsteps of Malaga’s most famous son, Pablo Picasso.

But seriously, you don’t need any of these things to fully enjoy the legacy Pablo Picasso has left in Malaga.  All you really need is a healthy sense of curiosity and of course an eye for art or at least the unusual.  If you don’t have either of these, maybe it’s time to get back to reading about Formula One or Paella.

I arrived a little away from Malaga so used a car hire Murcia Airport website to make my way there. Let me set the scene. The artist we know today as Pablo Picasso was born 1881 into the plush, middle-class surroundings of a five-storey house in Malaga’s picturesque and historic old quarter. Today, it’s located in the Plaza de la Merced and you can even take a tour of the house for yourself. Ok, so he didn’t have the stereotypical humble beginnings, but let’s not hold this against him.

Picasso was a trailblazer and without him we wouldn’t have Malaga’s Fundacion Picasso, the headquarters of the Picasso Foundation worldwide – now an important research facility for art historians from around the world.  Right now it houses a wonderful temporary collection of Picasso’s work including beautiful ceramics, some of which are in fact more remarkable than his paintings (it depends what period we’re talking about though).

A hop skip and a jump away, you’ll come to the Museo Picasso Malaga, which can be found in the splendid surroundings of the 16th century Buenavista Palace, also located in the old quarter of the city.   Items donated by his daughter in law and grandson, Christian and Bernard Ruiz Picasso have helped make this one of the most fascinating museums in Spain and definitely not one to be missed by Picasso fans or art lovers of any kind.

The rooms of the museum are ordered chronologically so that visitors can easily find the period that they’re looking for.  The collection is comprehensive and includes paintings, ceramics, drawings, sculptures and prints that have been attractively displayed to show the full spectrum of Picasso’s progression from early sketches to mastering Cubism and Surrealism.

The Roaming Genius

Picasso was something of a wanderer.  After a childhood in Malaga, he moved to Barcelona and then Madrid, before finally settling in France.  Here he remained for the rest of his life.  Picasso experimented throughout his life with a great number of styles including collages and geometric patterns but he is probably best known for his contribution to Cubism – combining people and objects and reconstructing faces and bodies into flickering lines and shadows.

Want a souvenir?  Next to the museum, you’ll find a great little shop selling unusual gifts, a quiet café and a library. If you’ve got time, take a walk around the Foundation and museum buildings. Not much has changed since the time Picasso strolled these very streets, meaning you’ll get some great opportunities to take some nice ‘arty’ photos.

RUSure : Car Hire Do’s and Dont’s

Did you know that the most common disagreement between a renter and their car rental agent is over who caused that hairline scratch or nasty dent?

Stick to this golden rule and you should steer clear of having to argue “it wasn’t me”…

****Always inspect the car with an agent before driving away****

When you get to the car rental pick up desk, you should be handed a vehicle inspection form. You’ll be expected to sign this before the car leaves the lot. It is very important that you pay attention during the inspection to avoid being blamed for damage that you didn’t cause. Depending on who and where you are renting from, during the process, the rental agent may also take some digital photos of the car. As the saying goes, “the camera doesn’t lie” – this is a great time for you to take some photographs for your own records too.

How to photograph your rental car:

1. Ensure that there is good lighting or your camera has a good quality flash.

Using your mobile phone (or digital camera) begin by first taking a photograph of the vehicle’s right-hand side profile.

Next, photograph the left hand side. Once you are satisfied that you’ve captured a clear representation of both sides, you should then take a walk around to the front of the vehicle.

2. Standing at a reasonable distance from the bonnet of the car, take several photographs from various angles. Don’t be afraid to zoom in on any scratches or dents you notice. Pay particular attention to the lights and the bumper.

3. Next move on to the vehicle’s rear. Again take your time photographing the lights and bumpers, as well as the registration plate. These are common places for damage to occur. The area around the fuel cap is another area worth documenting.

4. Spend some time walking around both sides of the vehicle, photographing the areas around the door handles, as well as the actual doors for scratches and damage.

5. Don’t limit yourself to images of the exterior of the car. Be sure to photograph any tears or damage to the upholstery inside the car too.

Once you are happy that you’ve covered everything, sign the inspection form. Be careful not to delete any photos just in case you need them at a later stage.