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Renting a car – A complete guide for beginners

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Your journey is booked, and the countdown has begun to your departure. Do you know how you will be travelling? Making a hire car reservation may be a great way to get to know new places, as well as getting around freely and flexibly for either business or leisure.

However, reserving a hire car may be a challenging task, particularly for anyone who is not familiar with the procedure. In this complete beginners´ guide, we will explain the most important parts to be taken into account before reserving a hire car in Portugal so that your journey is ideal and without any complications.

Read on to find out everything that you need to know prior to booking your hire car.

Renting a car or using public transport?

Renting a car is one of the most popular options for both tourists and business travellers. It's a great way to get to know the land of Camões and may be less expensive than travelling by taxi or by public transport.


Choose the type of car to hire

You can see that hiring a car is right for you, but with so many options to choose from, how do you select the one that's right for you?

Before you hire a car, it is important to take into account:

  • What is the purpose of your journey is;
  • The number of people travelling;
  • The amount of luggage to be carried;
  • The need for extra space (transport of surfboards, booster child seats, etc).

In cases of business travel, we recommend the hire of a more upmarket vehicle that is more comfortable. On the other hand, if you are travelling as a family, then a people carrier with 7 seats could be the best option so that you can travel with the children comfortably with sufficient space for the child seats and all the luggage you may need.


When traveling for business, hire an upmarket and comfortable vehicle

If you aim to travel around and get to know Portugal as a group, choose a minibus with 9 seats, but if you want to travel the length and breadth of the country in search of the best waves, choose to rent a Pickup that is ideal for carrying your surfboards, kayak, or diving equipment.

Save money by booking in advance

Booking a car in advance has more than one benefit. Firstly, you can get lower prices and a greater variety of vehicles to select from. In addition, you will ensure that the type of vehicle that you want for your travel is available.

A tip: If you are flying and plan to reserve a car on your arrival, remember to book somewhere that is convenient to you but away from the airport to avoid higher prices and the availability of fewer vehicles. For example, choose Drivalia which offers a free shuttle service to the nearest mobility store just 5 minutes from the airport that has lower rates.

Always read the terms and conditions of the hire contract

Before signing the car hire contract, it is important to read the terms and conditions carefully. You should make sure:

  • That damage cover is included;
  • That there are no mileage restrictions;
  • You check whether the vehicle needs to be returned with a full fuel tank;
  • That you can return the car to a branch different from the one that you collected it from, and whether there are any additional costs;
  • If you are allowed to travel to other countries and which other countries are permitted;
  • If the service that you contracted includes Via Verde.

Ensure that you fulfill all the eligibility conditions. Most companies have a minimum age for car hire (usually between 21 and 25) that may vary according to the type of vehicle hired and require drivers to hold a valid driver's license issued more than 1 or 3 years ago.

Always check the condition of the vehicle before you hire


You have made your reservation and are ready to set off but, before leaving, it is important that you check the general condition of the vehicle. Check:

  • Tire pressures;
  • Fuel level;
  • The lights;
  • That there is a reflective jacket and triangle;

The general condition of the vehicle (outside, inside, above, and below).
If you find any problems, inform the personnel on site and specify each of them. Ask for a copy of the document recording the damage found to ensure that you are only liable for any damage incurred during your use of the vehicle.

A tip: before driving away, make sure that you know the type of fuel for the vehicle that you selected, and also make sure that you know how to fill up the tank. Also, make sure that you have contact information for the car hire company to hand in case you need help or have any questions.

Everything's ready for departure!

With the right planning, hiring a vehicle can be a rewarding and unforgettable experience for any kind of traveller. Get the best rates by reserving your vehicle in advance, make sure that you are aware of both hiring and cancellation policies before you make your reservation.

Hiring a car can be a great way of enjoying your travel around Portugal with greater independence and flexibility. To avoid unpleasant surprises, it is important to check your trip needs to ensure you book the ideal vehicle and to choose a reliable and trustworthy company such as Drivalia.

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