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 rental. 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:
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.
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.
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.
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. I saw a particularly rude couple on a Holyhead to Dublin ferry route run into problems due to bad manners recently when arguing a fee.
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.