It's hard to overestimate the usefulness of car rental companies when traveling abroad, especially when your destination is such a diverse and interesting country as Spain. With many large cities located all across the Iberian Peninsula and countless small gems to discover in between, Spain has so many attractions to offer that it's impossible to fit everything into a single vacation. Nevertheless, by renting a car you increase your chances of seeing many interesting places and visiting more sites that make this country one of the main tourist destinations in Europe. Moreover, considering the periodic strikes the unions organize due to the economic recession, public transportation may serve as an unreliable option to get around, since you may end up having your train or bus cancelled the last moment. In this light addressing car rental companies seems like a very good choice when traveling to Spain. But you should learn the local peculiarities first in order to avoid unpleasant surprises during your vacation.
Car rental business in Spain
Finding a car rental in Spain won't be much of a problem both when you arrive and when you plan your trip. There are all the major European and international car rental companies such as Budget, Herz or Avis present on the market as well as a variety of smaller local companies, some of which may even serve only a particular region. The range of cars available for rent is also quite diverse with an apparent domination of entry and budget level cars, which tourists like so much. However, finding an executive or even luxury class ride won't be a problem, especially when renting in such large cities as Madrid or Barcelona. The rates may also vary, especially during the summer season when the flow of tourists is the highest while the supply is very limited.
Tip 1: Book you car early
Early booking should be strongly considered when traveling to Spain. Because of the economic recession the majority of car rental companies don't have the financial ability to renew or expand their fleet. That's why the supply of cars is generally limited, which is becomes apparent during the high season when it's virtually impossible to rent a car and the rates can go twice as high as during the low season. So the first thing to do when planning your trip if your flights are already confirmed is booking a car in advance. There's no such thing as "too early" when renting a car in Spain, otherwise you may end up having no cars to choose from at all or simply paying the double price.
Tip 2: Be careful in order not to be ripped off
Unfortunately, car rental companies in Spain are known for unpleasant practices that will rip off most tourists. First of all, they may impose CDW and Theft Protection as mandatory, some companies stating that it's already included in the price, while it's not. This is the most widespread form of hidden cost among Spanish car rentals. Be on a lookout for full/empty tank policies both on pickup and return, since they may vary from company to company and result in substantial extra payments. The price for a full tank can also differ from the one you would get at the gas station, up to 50% actually. So before you sign any contract or book a car online make sure to read all the conditions carefully and ask the company if something seems a bit strange to you. Being cautious is the best way to avoid being ripped off.