Many that book their holidays to Benidorm come on a package - with flight, transfers and hotel all included for peace of mind, but some go DIY, booking each step separately to allow for total flexibility. Flights and accommodation are fairly simple, but many then ponder on whether to hire a car or take a transfer bus/taxi to the resort. There are many factors to consider – once here will you actually use it, or will it remain parked up for the duration, costing money. If hotels offer parking it very rarely comes free and the blue pay & display zones in the resort have been extended. August is the busiest month of the year, as many Spanish drive here from Madrid, leaving available parking spaces few and far between – so think carefully.
If you do decide on car rental then there are many hurdles to navigate – fuel policy and excess damage charges being the important and potentially most costly factors. I looked at the most popular companies to check out their deposit requirements: Centauro, Record Go and Goldcar all take an excess fee of €950, Europcar slightly less at €700 but Avis the most at €1200 - these are for what is classified as a car within their small vehicle group. You are always offered the option to pay a daily premium to reduce this amount, often in the region of 15 – €20 per DAY, which can significantly increase the total cost.
However, one factor that you need to be aware of is that the excess fee will be blocked on your credit card until you return the vehicle. If you are planning on using your card while here, ensure that you have enough credit limit available before you leave - with the flights and hotel costs you may already be near your maximum.
Most are already aware of paying a premium if you are a young driver, but older drivers also face similar penalties. A recent investigation found that some companies refuse to hire to those over the age of 70 – or insist on them taking out compulsory costly insurance. Record Go is one company that requires over 70¨s to take out an “All Risk” insurance, adding an additional €140 to the cost of a small car. Centauro have a similar policy for over 75´s, adding up to €20 per day onto the rental cost. Edi – a local company, Goldcar, Europcar and Avis did not insist on any additional extras.
So what you need to decide on is whether you really going to go out on day trips to places not accessible by bus, or end up just relaxing on a sun lounger all day. The number 10 goes to Albir and Altea for a flat fee of €1.50 and the tram can get you to either Alicante or Denia.