cell phone/car rental in Lisbon

Aug 22nd, 2010, 08:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 21
cell phone/car rental in Lisbon

Has anyone rented a cell phone for the duration of a trip to Portugal? We are spending 11 days in Portugal (including Madeira) and arrive/leave from the Lisbon airport. Wondering if cellphones are available to rent in airport upon arrival? If not, any other suggestions? Also, I've read on the forums that Economy Car Rental is reliable, reasonable & inclusive of necessary insurance protection. We'll be renting in Lisbon (city) and returning to Lisbon (airport). Any thoughts or additional information would be appreciated before I rent.
helissatina is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2010, 09:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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There is a kiosk in the Lisbon airport that will sell you a SIM card for an unlocked phone. I didn't think it was any great bargain. If you have any time in Lisbon at all I would just walk into one of the no name stores that sell all kinds of phones and buy one. Just ask for a SIM that will give you the best bang for your buck.
You will get an unlocked phone and SIM with minutes you can top up.

We have used Economy there and they placed us with Sixt. The car rental counters and cars are just a hop skip and a jump from the arrivals area. You just walk to your car.
Sher is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2010, 10:40 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
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Economy Car Rental is a booking portal. The reliability will come from the company they place you with.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2010, 05:21 AM
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I purchased a Voda phone at the airport on my first trip there and have used it since - just need to replenish the minutes. Believe it was 29 Euro. You'll pass by the Voda phone kiosk on your left as you walk to the rental cars.

I've used Avis on all my visits with success. Europecar is next to the Avis counter and always has a huge line waiting. I can generally walk right up to the counter and be finished in less than ten minutes. Suggest you at least check Avis online to see what kind of rate you can get and then compare with the Economy site.
CYESQ is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2010, 06:10 AM
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I have also used Economy Car Rentals and got placed with a very small company with banged up cars, I think it was something like Iberrent. But the advantages were that the guy met us at the airport and the car was waiting in the parking lot. And for the drop off, we were able to make arrangements that they would come to our Lisbon hotel to pick it up, so it was easy. And having a banged up car was a blessing, IMO, since I worried a lot less about scraping something on a tight turn in a narrow street.

The more difficult question for me is whether, if something had happened, Economy's touted "super CDW" would have been as great as it appears to be. There have been several threads on this, and I'm a little more enlightened than I used to be, but still somewhat confused.

I believe that, in order to waive the CDW and have your credit card cover you, you must reserve the car through a US company's online site. Otherwise, the CDW will be included in the rental price (maybe this is some European law or regulation?), which means your credit card won't cover you.

Along comes the "super CDW", which supposedly covers everything or almost everything, which is what Economy says they cover in their rental price. (I have rented with National in Lisbon at the last minute, and they always give the option of "CDW" or "super CDW" and I believe the "super CDW" is about 8.5 euros a day). Since I operate on the assumption that "if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is," I just wonder if anyone has experience with having to use Economy's coverage for a dent or anything like that.

Sher, you're our resident expert and have explained this to me before, I think. Sorry to repeat the questions.
lreynold1 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2010, 07:04 AM
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I have used Economy for a rental in Greece. At the time they had the best rate I could find and the car was provided by Avis.

At that time Economy's CDW worked like this... in the event of a claim the deductible of 1,500 would go on one's credit card. Economy's insurance company would then reimburse you. That's the theory anyway. Insurance companies have been know to not pay out on claims though. Luckily I dd not have to put this to the test.

ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 10:55 AM
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Laurie. Part of the problem with covered insurance is that you never know if it works well unless you have a claim.
I have never had a claim IN PORTUGAL. And the one time I had a claim it was not with Economy.
So really, who knows.
And it does work like Rob says. Or let's say it is supposed to work that way. We will never know until someone has to test it.
Sher is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 08:58 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
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If you own unlocked GSM phone then you can buy SIM card in Vodafone shop (@Lisbon airport T1 arrivals area) for 10 euro including 10 euro airtime. I bought 15 euro airtime and got 2.5 euro bonus. Coverage is great anywhere in Portugal; it's free to receive calls and costs 44 euro cents to call US and 22 cents to #s in Portugal. 50% off on Sundays. If you don't own the phone buy a cheap simple multi frequency one on eBay for 20-30 bucks; for example http://cgi.ebay.ca/NOKIA-6010-UNLOCK...item1e5df785e8. And don't forget to get narrow plug adapter. Plugs in Portugal are recessed and the fat universal fit all adapters don't fit.
hkto is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 10:01 AM
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Thanks Sher and Rob, I know you're right, that we will never really know how (and whether) it works like it's supposed to unless we have to test it. But at least I think I understand the theory better now. Wishing everyone safe and dent-free travels! Laurie
lreynold1 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 02:30 PM
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Maybe they will give me a dented car in Croatia and I will be less concerned!
Sher is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 07:44 AM
Original Poster
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Thanks all for your replies...still not really sure about the CDW or Super CDW, but have spoken with our credit card companies & they assure us that we will be covered by them, if need be, unless we actually purchase additional coverage through the European car rental company. I'll report when we return if we have any issues!
helissatina is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 08:21 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
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You can also try http://www.portugal-auto-rentals.com/; also a broker but they provide quotes from multiple companies so at least you know who are you the actual company that you'll be renting from (unlike Auto Europe or Economy).

I also called my CC before I left (I have gold card) and they told me exactly the opposite (their CDW coverage is only for North America because unlike US/Canada European rates include a form of CDW that customer can't decline it in order to claim from CC insurance).

In Portugal most rates are either: a)ALL INCLUDED (subject to an excess deductible by car class) or b)NO EXCESS SUPER CDW INCLUDED (SEM FRANQUIA in Portuguese). First option can be upgraded to the latter for a daily fee.
hkto is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 11:30 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Now that I basically understand all of this, I can say that hkto's experience is consistent with mine. The problem seems to be that you can't use your CC coverage unless you decline CDW on your rental, and in Portugal you can't decline the CDW (by law perhaps). And with Economy, CDW and super CDW are supposed to be part of the rate -- they make a big deal of that on their webiste, but as others have noted, promises are easy to make.

I have been told that the only way around this Catch-22 is to order your car for use in Portugal through a US company's US website, and then you can decline the CDW and use your CC.

And Sher, I hope you get a dented car, it really gives you a much more carefree attitude when it comes to where to park, which narrow streets to navigate, etc. I was quite happy with ours. L.
lreynold1 is offline  

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