Caldas De Monchique, Algarve, Portugal! Tel: 01983 852555 Mobile: 07817 270 343

QUINTA DA MIMOSA - ALGARVE

Car Hire & Flights

CAR HIRE: It pays to shop around for the best car hire deals as charges really do vary a lot. Also, it nearly always pays to book in advance of arriving at the airport as it will nearly alway be less expensive and you are assured your car will be available. Over the years we have used many different car hire companies at Faro so have a lot of experience. Generally all the cars are good quality and often quite new. Unless your airline is offering a genuine promotion, the big international car rental companies are quite a lot more expensive than the smaller local businesses. The big companies are based at the eastern (arrivals) end of the airport and some will involve a short shuttle bus ride to their depot. The majority of the smaller companies operate from an office on the airport car park number 4 which is at the western (departures) end of the terminal, past the short stay public car parks. Most of these keep their cars in this car park which is very convenient but they will pass on the €15 per car fee the airport charges them for using the facility. One or two of the smaller company's will save you this charge by meeting you in car park 4 with their mini bus and taking you to their own depot only a few hundred yards outside the airport. Whichever car rental supplier you use, please watch out for hidden extras.

OUT OF HOURS: Most of the smaller suppliers charge between €20 and €30 if you collect your car outside their office hours and again if you return it out of hours.

FUEL: Always use one with a "fair fuel" policy, either full to full or one that lets you return the car with the same amount of fuel it had when you collected it. But, do not return it with any less than you started with or they will charge you dearly for the shortfall. Definitely avoid collect full, return empty offers. These sound easy, but they are nearly always a very expensive option.

CROSS BORDER FEES: If you want to take your car into spain many hirers will charge you a hefty supplement to ensure you are insured for this. If you only want to go there for the experience, consider the passenger ferry from Vila Real de San Antonio as an inexpensive and novel alternative to taking the car.

UNLIMITED MILEAGE: A few rental companies charge extra if you exceed a certain number of kilometres which can be expensive. Always choose one that allows unlimited mileage.

MOTORWAY TOLLS: Queuing to pay motorway tolls can be a nightmare. Your rental company will offer to hire you a transponder that simplifies payments. Check the cost and take this option or avoid using the motorway!

EXCESS: Virtually all car rental companies charge an excess fee or deposit of €900 to €3000 depending on the vehicle. This has to be pre-approved on a credit card and guarantees against any losses not covered by the car's collision insurance. When you return the car some hirers will go over it with a fine tooth comb, looking for the smallest scratch, dent or chipped glass that wasn't on it when you collected it. So, when you pick up your car, make sure you have a good look around it and point out any marks not already declared by the renters. You can pay extra to protect against losing this deposit, but it can be expensive and may have exclusions. By far, the most comprehensive excess protection is given by www.insurance4carhire.com who charge £3.99 per day or £39.99 for as many rentals as you may do in one year and even covers filling with the wrong fuel, damage to tyres, windows and delayed flights.

WHERE TO FIND THE BEST DEALS?
For the past couple of years we have found it hard to beat the offers from www.enjoycarhire.com
especially if they have a current promotional code (we may have one so email us). They represent several local suppliers and only use ones with a fair fuel policy. After entering your holiday info on their website you will be offered an assortment of available cars (cheapest first). When you find a suitable vehicle, check the symbols for seating capacity, number of doors, on airport or shuttle bus etc. Then be sure to click the 'More info' for your car which will open a pop up panel which shows all the possible extras such as out of hours fees and times, the cost of toll transducers, cross border fees etc., all of which can vary by car. When you choose a car, the next screen will offer you the option of excess protection which is quite good and better than doing it at the airport, but it is not so comprehensive as www.insurance4carhire.com offer. It is also worth remembering that two smaller cars are normally a lot cheaper than one big car. It may also be worth checking www.autoeurope.co.uk

One of the easiest car rental company's to use is oddly named ZITAUTO. It is a pity that they may no longer the cheapest, but they really are so nice to deal with and their prices and extras are clearly shown on their price list. So long as you return your car with about the same amount of fuel as it had when you collected it, they won't be searching for the tiniest car park scratch that was not there before. To get a quote, email your travel times to zitauto@mail.telepac.pt  visit their website www.zitautorentacar.co.uk or see their price list at bottom of this page.

FLIGHTS: Faro is the nearest airport. Currently, Easyjet, www.easyjet.com  consistently have the lowest fares and these days they are giving a good service. Like most of the low cost airlines everything is charged as extras, but one advantage with Easyjet is that they have no weight limit on your hand baggage (which is free) so long as you can lift it yourself and it does not exceed 56 x 45 x 25cm including handles and wheels. Also, if you pay an additional £10.99 to £15.99 for their Extra legroom or Upfront seats, you can have a second smaller cabin bag. Not only may this save you needing expensive extra hold baggage but you also get a quicker, dedicated check in, seat allocation and speedy boarding all included!

We still recommend you shop around as prices do vary so much and don't ignore British Airways as they sometimes come up with good deals if you take car hire from them, because if you book using their basic fares, then add car hire, you normally get hold baggage added free. Flights during school holidays are normally much more expensive, so it may even be worth considering flying into alternative airports such as Lisbon which is often a lot cheaper. During a recent half-term, flights to Porto were less than one third of the cost of Faro flights. These airports may be a lot further away than Faro, but the roads are good and there are some very interesting areas you can pass through on the trip to the villa, such as Sintra, Mafra, Fatima or the big cities where you may even want to stay a day or two en-route to Monchique. Some useful websites are: www.easyjet.com www.thomsonfly.com  www.flytap.com  www.flymonarch.com  www.ryanair.com  www.ba.com  www.flybe.com 

AIRPORT PARKING, take a look at www.skyparksecure.com as they often offer good discounts, even on Meet & Greet which is very convenient way to travel! If you are travelling from Gatwick, the AHP off airport car park is very secure and nice to use, plus once you have used them they give good genuine discounts for any future visits (or try code LAP9 now).

AIRPORT LOUNGES are worth considering if your group is not too big and you have to be at the airport to check in a long time ahead of your flights. They are comfortable with nice sofas and seating, quiet and usually with good views over the runway. Best of all, they provide free food and drink! The cost of a coffee and sandwiches at Costa will likely pay a good part towards your lounge admission, especially if you book in advance for the lowest prices.

HOLIDAY INSURANCE really is essential. Again, shopping around may save you money. Also some banks offer travel insurance as part of your account, which can sometimes be a good deal. Whatever you decide, make sure you declare any pre-existing medical conditions to the insurers. They all have departments that specialise in wriggling out of it if they can find the slightest reason not to pay your claim. Make sure you read their small print too, as some have clauses saying that you must use public hospitals and ambulance services as opposed to the private ones that are available. The European Health Insurance Card (replacing the old E111 form) is a good safeguard as it gives you access to state hospitals on the same terms as the local people enjoy. Not that you want to try it, but it is nice to know that one of the Algarve's main hospitals is only about ten minutes drive from Quinta da Mimosa, on the main road into Portimao.

Zitauto prices 2017

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