Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Barcelona Car Rental -- Pickup and Dropoff Issues -- Need Advice

Barcelona Car Rental -- Pickup and Dropoff Issues -- Need Advice


Mar 19th, 2012, 07:46 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 3,189
Barcelona Car Rental -- Pickup and Dropoff Issues -- Need Advice

I'm picking up a rental car upon arrival at the Barcelona airport (BCN) for a drive through Costa Brava, and returning it back to BCN after three days. I got an all-inclusive rate of about $150 online, which I consider very good. However, I realized belatedly that the rental company (who I am reluctant to ID) also has an office within a couple of blocks of our lodgings in l'Eixample, which would be an extremely convenient drop-off point for me. So, I tried to change the drop-off point online, but was quoted a new rate that was almost twice the original. I don't think the new rate should be that high for the different drop-off spot, since the two locations are both in Barcelona. A new "dummy" rental request showed no difference in quoted rates for the two locations.

Here's where I need the advice of some more savvy travelers. Is it likely to assume that one can favorably negotiate a new dropoff in person without scrubbing out the original deal? Shall I make a new online reservation with them and cancel the old? Or shall I go through another rental company? In the event that I go with this last option, has anyone had such a great car rental experience recently that they could recommend it? I have read of one called Kemwell -- any information on it?

Thanks... Moltes gràcies!

Dave_Ohio is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 19th, 2012, 07:59 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,065
most car rental co's, even in the US, charge more to pick up or drop off in town if you rented at the airport.

that said, did you try a dummy rental doing what you describe?
mztery is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 19th, 2012, 08:10 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 9,362
Often the different locations are owned by different people. They can be franchises and thus the reason for the price difference. I don't think you will have much luck negotiating a change on site, but u could certainly give it a try
Airports charge a fee when u pick up the car there, but that is not your issue. I don't agree that car rentals are more when u pick up at the airport and drop off in the city.
Kemwell and it's sister organization Auto Europe offer good rates and u should certainly c what rate u can get with either of them. I would just shop around online and see what rate u can get.
yestravel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 19th, 2012, 09:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,541
I'd book a new reservation at the same rate for the drop destination that you want, as long as it is the same rate (or less) than your original rental.

I always rent through Kemwel and get good prices so, as you mentioned, do check with them.

If you can pick up at an off-airport location, the price is typically cheaper. Drop-off locations typically don't have a surcharge, you can return the car to anywhere within the country without a surcharge... unless your rental agency charges a one-way drop fee. Some of the large rental agencies (Hertz, Avis, etc.) have one-way drop fees within some countries.
joannyc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 19th, 2012, 11:04 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4,238
I'd rather have convenience at the end of my driving, than at the beginning. How about picking up the car at l'Eixample?

I tried a simulation at Hertz, but did not find a significant difference in picking up at one Barcelona location and dropping it off at another Barcelona location.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2012, 12:58 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,467
I have a similar issue, I booked through A mileage co for a booking with a large rental co. For some reason she couldn't get the drop off to show differently to the collection ( I am picking up downtown Barcelnona and want to drop off at the airport) the lady told me to just ask them when I pick up if I can drop off at BCN. However I think I am going to email them and see if it is possible to change it before then. If not it's no major deal as we are back in Barcelona at the end of our holiday so we could drop It off back downtown, it would just be more conveinient to go to the airport.
Smeagol is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2012, 01:23 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 7,271
Unless you are already familiar with driving in Barcelona, it can be easier and more convenient to by-pass the city streets and drop off the car as planned at the airport.
Eixample may have an easy to navigate checkboard pattern, but getting there from the NE can be a bit time-consuming especially during rush hour. The major arteries that lead into central Barcelona are often quite crowded, especially the C-31 leading to Pl Glories which will probably the gateway to Barcelona that your GPS will suggest.
And the drop-off location in Eixample will probably be in a public parking garage which are in Spain one of the narrowest things you can imagine.

The airport is not that far from the city that you'd waste a lot of time.

Otherwise I would just e-mail the rental car company and ask if they can change the drop off location to Eixample.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2012, 07:40 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 3,189
Well, I am truly impressed with, and grateful for, everyone's responses. Thanks so much!

To address the issue of dropoffs again, I requested a number of online quotes and found no difference between Barcelona airport and city. However, the good rate that I originally booked in January was no longer offered.

Cowboy's and Smeagol's replies got me to thinking that perhaps I really don't want to drive through the city on a weekday. So I'm sticking with the original reservation (which is a good deal), and will simply drop the car off at the airport. The money saved by not changing or making a new reservation will more than cover the cost of a taxi back into the city.

I will raise a glass of cava to you all in Barcelona!
Dave_Ohio is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2012, 12:44 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
You might want to check with Auto Europe (www.autoeurope.com) or Kemwel regarding your rental car. Both offer great discounts and are located in Portland, Maine.

As Cowboy 1968 says, unless you are familiar with the city and traffic, it can be a headache returning the car to some of the locations in the city (narrow, one way streets). We generally use the Avis downtown location at Corcega, 293/295 for pickup and always drop off at the airport.

The price differences are minor when compared to the taxes and fees for picking up at the airport, but sometimes it's far better to pickup at the airport to avoid the heavy traffic and unfamiliar roads. The traffic around Barcelona can be very heavy at times.
Robert2533 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2012, 01:31 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,522
Traffic in and around BCN can be more than heavy at times. You have made a good choice as to pick up/drop off. We had a rental in the city and it was more than a pain. Public transportation is good, safe and cheap..Never again. I'm surprised we didn't learn a lesson in LIS.
amer_can is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 22nd, 2012, 10:23 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 7,437
I think you are probably paying 20-40 euros extra to pick up at the airport. I would first price a pick up downtown. If it's a good enough deal, scrap the first one and adjust it to your liking. Typically, the pick-up fee isn't translated to dropping off at the airport.
Publius is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 22nd, 2012, 10:44 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
I just checked Auto Europe. There is a price difference in picking up at one location (downtown) and dropping off at another location (airport), a one-way rental, versus picking up and dropping off at the same location. Based on a Volkswagen Golf, the rental price difference is around $40 USD, not including any discounts currently offered at the airport locations.

The current airport surcharge is about €48, while the Railstation surcharge is approximately €20. There should be no surcharge if picking up at one of the downtown agencies.
Robert2533 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 12th, 2012, 01:40 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 3,189
For what it's worth, here's what actually happened with our car rental:

We went with the original deal from Auto Europe (an online broker), which was a Ford Focus C-Max diesel (nice car, btw) from Hertz for $141US for three days. (ONE SHOULD NOTE that sometimes online brokers do not identify the car rental company, thus compelling renters to go from counter to counter inquiring about their car. If the company is not listed on your voucher, contact the broker for that info.)

When picking the car up at the airport I added full insurance coverage. Together with the airport taxes, etc., this effectively brought my rate to $300. I rationalized this as the cost of my peace of mind (see below). Both the pick-up and return processes were extremely easy. BCN was easy to get into and out of, and there is a service station right on the way just before the T1 car rental return.

Over the three days we logged about 600 km, and paid about €47 for fuel. The extra insurance justified itself when I caught and scratched a front fender panel while negotiating a curve on a steep, narrow street in Cadaques. No questions were asked.

A suggestion that I would add is to make sure you have a detailed road map or good GPS for the region that you plan to visit. Hertz supplied enough info to get on and off the superhighways. However, neither their map nor those in several guidebooks would have been very helpful in navigating to some of the interesting small hill towns in Costa Brava.

That's my story, and I'm sticking with it!
Dave_Ohio is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 12th, 2012, 01:50 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 9,362
Glad everything worked out even with the scratch. With Auto Europe rentals on the voucher under "Pick-up Information" it will list the Rental Company as well as where you are picking up the car. In any case, good reminder to ensure that you know who the rental car agent is when using a consolidator such as Auto Europe or Kemwell.
yestravel is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:49 PM.