Our Seat Ibiza
When planning a trip to Spain (Santa Susanna), the question of rental cars arose.
The apartment was in Susanna, the plane flew to Girona, plus we wanted to go to France, Andorra, go around Spain itself. So renting a car seemed a logical decision. Analyzing websites and reviews, the biggest problem, we understood, would be poor knowledge of English and complete lack of any other languages, including Spanish on our part. All rental terms, even on sites offering a Russian-language interface for ordering, at best were in English, at worst in Spanish. Given the possible legal issues that we could encounter, we decided to hope for the best and get the car anyway.
We were lucky. Using other people's experience, we found a English-speaking broker. Service was exceptional. Here’s what we got:
1. A detailed explanation of the legal nuances of rental cars. For us it was more important than money.
2. A car that met our requirements completely: no more than 300 euros for 13 days. We ordered economy class (Ford Ka), but ultimately received a five-door Seat Ibiza. Maybe it was the same class, but our son did not have to twisted and fold into the back seat, which was nice. A value analysis to other companies showed that this was simply plum.
3. Cash deposit. It was our special request that the manager fulfilled by arrangement with the rental company. We didn’t need a deposit for the apartment, so that left money available for the car deposit.
4. The deposit seemed a little much - 560 euros, but since the car was returned with a full tank and without damaged, it didn’t matter.
5. The 300 euro total included full insurance. Happily that was unnecessary, despite the heavy rain on an insane Pyrenees’ serpentine stretch of road, where flying into nowhere it was quite easy.
Analyzing the later order, convinced of the benefits of this decision. Even the local office did not give such good terms (just over 22 euros per day with full insurance).
Who was the real winner?
1. Freedom of movement - I think needs no additional explanation.
2. Money. A taxi from Girona to Santa Susanna is 50 euros. That is 100 euros of the 300 immediately. Travel to Barcelona, Andorra, Perpignan (France), and to the coast can be done, of course, on public transport, but a detailed calculation shows that the car obviously paid off, despite the additional expense of gasoline and toll roads.
What went wrong? Failed with the type of car. An Ibiza is a good car, but for the city.
1. A Ford Mondeo wagon with a 1.8l engine and a fully loaded trunk did great on a similar trip in the Caucasus. But the Ibiza with the 1.4 engine was too weak for the mountains, even with an empty trunk, alas, we hardly got out of second gear. While on the highway, the Ibiza behaves well, and was quite economical.
2. Terribly inconvenient front end for serpentine road. Very difficult to see the rear view on the left. I had to constantly twist and turn..
Problems with parking - a classic element of the European travel genre. We got our initiation in Perpignan, where an unfortunate choice of parking spaces led to an unromantic stroll to the evacuation site, and a 100 euro fine. We started parking smarter, and paid for parking lots. (Incidentally, the French have a strange idea of distances. Whenever we asked how far something was, including police, underestimated distances by a factor of 3 to 4. Had we known, we’d have taken taxis.
Conclusions and future considerations:
1. Be attentive about the choice of car. Have an approximate travel plan and if there are mountains in that plan, take a more expensive, but more powerful car.
2. Do not save money on parking.
No other minuses about the rental car, and the two big plusses were more than enough to compensate.