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Madrid Car Rental - Renting a Car in Madrid

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Many vacationers visiting Madrid, as well as business travelers, find that there are many advantages to renting a car. Madrid, unlike London, Berlin or Paris, is not known for its public transit. While there are buses, the light rail is limited and the street cars were removed a long time ago to make room for more automobiles. Additionally, under international agreement, persons with valid American driver’s licenses may drive in Spain, since the driving laws are similar in both countries. Both Americans and Spaniards drive on the right side of the road, and use very similar signs on their roads. It is advisable that any person renting a car be able to read Spanish, since almost all road signs in Spain are in Spanish and no other language. Drivers should also be advised that Spanish drivers are aggressive, similar to those found in New York or Los Angeles.

Renting a car in Madrid is almost as easy as renting one in any American city. Many American car rental companies have Madrid branches, and there are also many European and Spanish options to choose from. The vast majority of cars to rent are smaller models made by French, German and Japanese auto manufacturers, which are very popular in Spain. The international airport in Madrid represents all major car rental companies and has representatives who speak English and are familiar with the needs of American travelers. They accept major credit cards and traveler’s checks. Some will accept cash, although some form of identification and certification is necessary to ensure that the company knows who the car was rented to, and for how long. Most car rental contracts in Madrid are completely in Spanish, and so persons renting a car in Madrid should study up on their Spanish to make sure they can read and understand the contract.

Visitors arriving in Madrid by train should phone ahead, since many car rental services in Madrid can arrange to have the car ready at one of the major train stations. Several have local headquarters at or near the train station and permit tourists to simply walk over and begin the rental process. The rental process is generally very similar to that at the airport, and the usual identification, certification and papers will be involved. Some budget-centric car rental companies may require customers to take a cab or bus to their central headquarters before lending out a car, but most are either located near the train terminal or will be willing to pick up someone who needs to rent a car.

Persons who know they are going to be in Madrid on a certain date and at a certain time should reserve a car in advance. Not only does this mean that they can search through available car companies to pick out a car and a rate that they like, they can ensure that a car will be available and waiting for them when they arrive. Most car rental companies only need a credit card to confirm the reservation and hold the car, although many will still require that the borrower show a driver’s license when they arrive to pick up the vehicle.

Making a reservation online can also bring about savings, especially when made as part of a package deal. Many vacation packages in Madrid include a car rental, and often combining the car rental with the hotel and air fare can save hundreds of dollars when compared to buying them all individually. Travel agents and online bookings now routinely include a car in Madrid vacation packages, especially for those who want to explore the many areas near Madrid as well as the city itself. It is also possible to book the car separately, and in many cases one can rent a car via the Internet right from the hotel room.

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