Hello everyone, this is my first post here. I've been a fan of RS for years and am going to Spain and Portugal in 2 weeks for a 12-day tour with my husband. I've read the Spain and Portugal guides as well as Rick's articles on car rental red tape, etc. But I still have a few questions I"m hoping someone can shed some light on for me.
We're planning to rent a car to drive from Seville's Santa Justa train station to the Algarve region of Portugal, and then around the Algarve region for a few days--returning it in Seville before heading back to Madrid. Unfortunately, we need an automatic, so I know we'll pay more. We're getting the IDP and I confirmed with my Amex card that I have CDW coverage, so I'll just need liability.
I can book through AAA, looks like the cheapest automatic is aroudn $44 a day with Dollar (the American rental company). Has anyone used Dollar over there, or should I stick with another brand? The AAA rate was cheaper than anything I found on Kayak, with other companies. I'm finding it impossible to compare companies' policies, like which charge you for different things. I've read to stay away from "Gold Car" (never heard of them) but any other opinions on companies?
Should I tell the rental people that we're planning to drive to Portugal and back? It's a short trip and I'm worried they'll charge us some fee for crossing the border. Should I just keep mum, or will that void the liability insurance I"ll get from them? On that note, should we say that just one of us will drive? In all honesty, my husband will probably do all the driving anyway because he likes driving. So I'd hate to pay a fee if I don't even end up driving. In the US, we usually say just one driver and take our chances, but I don't know if there's some ridiculous fee if God forbid we get in an accident or pulled over and I happen to be driving. My insurance covers all passengers.
This is maybe a question for the Portugal forum but it's worth a shot...any advice for the tolls on the Portuguese roads? I've read they're electronic and I can get some sort of card, or maybe the rental car will have them? I guess that's an argument for telling the rental company we're going to Portugal, because a) it could be proven through the tolls and b) they might be able to give us the sensor thing. RS in his Portugal book said that if you don't have a sensor, you have 5 days to find a post office or something and pay the tolls. That seems silly, I'd rather just have a sensor like we do in the US (EZ Pass).
Well, that's pretty much it. Thank you so much!