Renting a Car Step-by-Step
Name: Brittany Vulich
Semester: Spring 2011
Program: Liberal Arts
School: University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee
Renting a car in Spain may be easier than you think. For one, the age requirement to rent a car is 21. Secondly, you can book online as late as the day before and still reserve the car you need. However, for all the automatic users out there, renting a car in Spain may be the easiest step. Driving a car in Spain could be a whole other issue.
Where: You will be renting a car from one of the car rentals at the airport or within the city (Hertz or the hotel Melía Salinas on Marítimo, for example). I used www.recordrentacar.com. The prices are really excellent. For 18 euro, I rented a 5 passenger Ford Escort with a huge trunk. Unlimited mileage is included in the price (just fuel up before returning it, of course.) Insurance is only 5 euro (worth it!)
Warning: the website is pretty faulty. I tried renting a car between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. and was denied on the basis that I needed to rent a car for at least one day. I entered 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. and was still denied. Once the website registered my information, I was told that I "only booked 13 hours in advance, please try again in 3 hours". Crazy. Stick with it though. You'll receive two e-mails. The first will advise you that your order is being processes and the second will have your confirmation number and info. All else fails, just call whichever company you want to rent from and book over the phone.
Who needs to be present: The person who reserved the car online is the one who needs come to the airport to pick up the car no matter if he or she is driving. Obviously, the drivers need to be present too. You can have up to 3 drivers per car.
What you need to bring: Passports. Bring your passport and your current address. European students, Erasmus, were able to show a driver's license. You don't need to print off your confirmation page, just write down your confirmation number.
Note: Record, and presumably every other car rental, only offers stick. Automatic, if available, will be at least double the price.
How to get there: To get to the airport, just hop on bus #1. From Plaza de España, the ride is about 20 minutes. You can pay the 1.25 euro or use your bus pass. The airport is divided in "incoming" and "outgoing" floors. Go to the "incoming" floor, the lower floor, to get to Record (next to gate E). You can return your car at anytime before your scheduled return time. There are attendants in the garage that will take the keys and car from you at the end of the day.
Why: Those amazingly pristine beaches that you see advertised on front of tour guides for Mallorca are only accessible by car. Buses will only take you to the more touristy beaches. In Palma de Mallorca, take bus #3 to Islletes (30 minutes) to enjoy a few hours of sun in a relatively tranquil playa (beach!) For a long day at the beach, take a car to the east coast. Unlike the mountainous west coast of Mallorca, the east is more rolling hills and white sandy beaches with lots of coves to discover.
Warning: Don't forget your water bottle! As obvious as it may seem, always have a bottle of water handy. Mallorca does not, I repeat, does not have public drinking water facilities. All drinking water comes from a bottle or purifier, if your home has one. Some Americans can drink a glass of the tap water and feel fine others feel sick to their stomach. Either way, the ultra calcified water tastes terrible so try to avoid it at all costs.
I hope this has helped to settle some questions on an alternative way to get around Mallorca other than by bus. Renting a car is a relatively cheap, easy, and quick way to get to some of the best places in Mallorca and see some great countryside. Not to mention you never know what great encounters you'll have along the way with your pit stops. Happy adventuring!
(We saw a sign for the "Drach Caves" and decided to veer off and take a look.)