Spain car hire

Trains and tour buses will get you from A to B just fine, but there is something romantic about the prospect of a foreign road trip. And renting a pair of wheels in Spain - thanks to the emergence of handy mobile apps and the abundance of online resources available at your fingertips - is now easier than ever before.

Spanish road etiquette

Before we get into the process of renting your vehicle, it's worth having a brief run through of the driving customs that predominate in Spain. It's an obvious point, but remember that the Spanish drive on the right side of the road - this is one faux pas you won't want to make. It's also handy to ensure you have some cash spare, because unlike in Britain, there are plenty of roads in Spain which require payment to drive on.

If you happen to be a nervous driver, it's also probably a good idea to avoid Spain's rather dubious high altitude roads, which are commonplace among the mountain range towards the north of the country. It's easy to get complacent having spent a lifetime driving on the UK's relatively safe motorways, but in the hills of Spain there are plenty of passages with sharp turns and blind spots - so make sure you exercise caution (for your own safety as well as that of your rented car).

Finding your car

Europcar are probably the leading vehicle rental service for holidaymakers in Europe, with a smattering of sites - including around 30 or so in Spain - spread out across the continent. The great thing about booking with Europcar is that they are geared specifically towards tourists, which means you should encounter little language barrier, and - whether you're looking for a family estate or a fun open-top runaround - make sure you find a car to suit all your needs.

If you're looking to widen the net, it's worth taking a look at Do You Spain - an online website which has helpfully logged a host of car rental companies from all across Spain in a handy database for your convenience. Just enter in the nearest city to the place you're staying and you'll be presented with a dozen or so offers complete with up to the minute price quotes.

Price guide

The cost of hiring a car abroad - particularly in an economy like Spain's - can oscilate wildly from week to week. If you're lucky, you might be able to grab a car for the day for less than £10, but it all depends on when and from where you choose to rent. Expect prices to be more expensive in major cities like Barcelona and Spain, where the demand is obviously higher. Rentals also tend to be cheaper when booked in advance ready to pick up from the airport you arrive at.

As a rule of thumb, you should be wary of the really cheap deals because it may mean that you will be left without insurance in the event of an accident, or protection against theft. The age old mantra of "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is" is always useful to remember while travelling abroad, as tourists are often easy prey for scam artists and unaccredited companies.

Remember to also factor in the cost of fuel, which - like in the UK - tends to be pretty expensive, as well as the additional payment required to drive on those aforementioned toll roads.

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