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Barcona rental cars - what kind?

Renting a car (stick shift) equipped with GPS from Barcelona Hertz dropping it off in Paris (Orly airport) with as much insurance as I can get for piece of mind in a few days in Barcelona - 4 of us, 4 pieces of luggage & 2 backpacks driving in Spain/France/Monaco/Italy. In US we own a GM Grand Prix, 2 Ford Explorer SUV's, and my wife is driving the entire European trip as back in the day she drove a Ford Fiesta (stick shift):

  • Yes I realize I should take train instead of car because of speed of train, gas for car, hassle of car, foreign drivers, us having no experience driving in a foreign country, large drop off fee in other country, tolls, Intl. Drivers license, small roads, relative small size of foreign car to US cars, limited parking, speed traps, cost of GPS, cost of SUPER car insurance, breaking into cars, we have actual US Andrews Federal Credit Card Pin and Chip credit card, as backup have printed good maps of routes, aggressiveness of foreign drivers, ticketing for going into historic sites etc.

Hertz is saying my car type will be:

ECONOMY CAR MANUAL AIR B OPEL CORSA OR SIMILAR

My question is, will it be big enough for the 4 of us and our luggage and backpacks (we are all average height or on the short size) and if not can you recommend a size type and car brands we should upgrade to thru Hertz and what kind of car (what country is most likely to manufacture car - like what brand) are we likely to get, and can you compare to an equivelant US manufactured or even typical foreign car found in US? My thinking is we would get a French, Italian, or German manufactured car but curious on typical car manufacturers and car types?

Posted by
33 posts

I have a couple typos in this: title should read Barcelona, and we have backup google maps printed out.

Posted by
9110 posts

A Corsa won't start to cut it, nor will a sedan, most likely. Most multi-agency search engines show people and luggage capacity, but they're usually over-stated for junk room.

Consider a minivan. It doesn't matter who makes it or where it's made.

Note that all you're promised is a type/class of vehicle. It'd be a fluke if you actually received what was depicted.

Put the car in the driver's name or the insurance will not be valid.

You could get the same insurance for twenty-five bucks if you enrolled in the AmExp program and put it on their card.

Posted by
1294 posts

You have named two major cities, neither of which you have need to use a car to enjoy visiting. So are you planning on picking up the car as you exit Barcelona and then as you enter Paris?

Have you considered using the excellent train systems to reach your destinations and then renting a car for a day in order to complete any desired local driving?

I read your statement, buy am pushing back as the inconvenience factor adds STRESS, especially with so many people generating the need for a larger vehicle and increasing the probability of theft. Where will you store your luggage while stopping to visit your destinations? Rental cars can be a magnate for theft.

Regardless, hope you enjoy your trip and also take a small handheld compass.

Posted by
11978 posts

Some thoughts:

  1. Make sure the car is big enough. A compact is more than enough for two people with one carry-on each (except a Smart car, which has no room for bags at all). When you say "4 of us and our luggage and backpacks", I'm hearing more than one piece of luggage each. If that's the case, it's good advice to look for a minivan. I normally rent a diesel standard transmission compact for two with a single carry-on each. When I had three kids in tow, we leased a Renault Scenic II (standard transmission, diesel) - a seven passenger, station wagon type car. It was a perfect fit for five of us with one-carry on each. If we were larger or had more luggage we would have been cramped.

  2. Watch picking up in one country and dropping in another, drop charges can be expensive. Sometimes you have to, but I'd at least consider options for either picking up and dropping a rental in Spain, then crossing the border and picking up/dropping a different rental in France, or figuring how to pick up in France, driving your entire time, and dropping in France.

  3. Check out American Express's deal on car rental insurance. It depends on what state you're from but we got full CDW on a 21 day rental out of Barcelona for a one-time charge of $25 - saved hundreds off what the rental company would have charged.

  4. If you're going more than 17 days. Consider leasing. There is no pick-up or drop-off charge anywhere in France (since the French companies Peugot and Renault are the ones that do the leases), and probably only a modest charge in Barcelona. I find leasing is often the best choice when you need a bigger car (rental prices go up fast when you get out of the compact category) and full CDW is included in the price. We leased out of Amsterdam and dropped in Rome, both drop off charges were reasonable - much better than renting would have been.

Posted by
33 posts

Yes I will be traveling to many cities by car starting in Barcelona and Ending in Paris - Again I understand all this about I should take the TRAIN but AGAIN I want to drive.

There are 4 of us (husband, wife, 17 year old boy), 9 year old girl we are all avg to small in size. Total luggage - 4 pieces (3 23-inch suitcases, and 1 24-inch suitcase, and 2 backpacks which can easily be thrown over 1 shoulder). For comparison we rented a door Nissan versa last year in Disney world with same amount of luggage and it worked fine and I view that as a smaller car. Can u give me an idea what "class" size I should get (renting from Hertz Barcelona). You are starting to scare me it isnt going to be big enough and I leave in 1 day - help. Don't worry about cost, and read my original details. Any last minute help would be appreciated!!!

AGAIN - IM NOT TAKING TRAINS!!!

Posted by
1294 posts

Ok, enjoy the drive.
Some tips. Make sure your belongings are out of sight. We prefer hatchbacks for the cover they provide to belongings. However, we have also used a single bed size dark sheet to cover luggage.
We park outside of tourist zones and walk/bus/subway to the sights. This allows us to scout out parking opportunities, usually find more parking spots and often are cheaper. Plus avoids tourist traffic and narrow streets. We strive to avoid having to get out of the car and reach back in to get stuff from other bags. It simply avoids advertising stuff remains in the car. Always make sure someone stays in the car at gas stations with the doors closed. Sadly thieves have grown really bold w snatch and run tactics at fueling stations. Take photos of the interior and exterior of the vehicle before leaving the lot and upon the return. We take a drive around the blocks of where we pick up the car to insure everything is operating to our satisfaction. Better to lose a little time doing this than later. Double check for rear lights, including brake lights and turn signals are operating. We almost learned the hard way about having a brake light out, but the police appeared surprised and pleased to see i offered an IDP w my passport that he simply showed me the issue and let me go. We do travel w a small compass and have used it several times, especially in big cities, to orient ourselves when lost. Finally, pack a picnic lunch and randomly choose a place to pull off onto a small road and drive to a spot where you would never preplan on seeing. Be safe and make some great memories!

Posted by
9110 posts

Size can be overcome. If you get something too small, walk back in and switch it out. The price will be the same as if you originally booked that size. Keep in mind that there's a difference between plutzing around Orlando and driving half the length of the continent.

Posted by
33 posts

I ended up upgrading to an equivelant to a Kia Sportage small SUV which will fit everything. The only question I have now is when I do manage to find a parking spot am I going to fit, and I wonder if I am going to have trouble on narrow roads.

Posted by
16883 posts

I don't think narrow roads will be much of an issue; not like those narrow English country roads with hedges and walls where the shoulder should be, although some French roads are bordered with plane trees. You'll have tighter squeezes for on-street parking, but always ask your hotel for advice.

Posted by
18 posts

You will be fine parking the car. That size SUV is a good choice for your family. Have a fabulous time. We brought our own GPS loaded with European maps and it saved our marriage. If you don't have one, buy one over there. It will be a god-send!

Posted by
5648 posts

Compared to your Explorers, your Kia may feel like a Smart car! As stated earlier, keeping your luggage and other possessions out of sight will help prevent someone wanting to break in and steal them. If you get into a tight place, fold in your side-view mirrors, have your passengers get out and direct the driver so you don;t damage your rental SUV or anyone else's property.

As for train versus car, sometimes you just gotta have your own wheels. As long as you pay for it, you get to decide how you travel! Buen viaje/Bon voyage!