Car Rental in Spain is Mainly Not the Same

In a nation like the United States, where icons like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart have spoiled us into thinking we can go anywhere we like and still get a quarter pounder with cheese – or find people wearing blue smocks – it can be easy to think that the world is all the same. Even the car rental game seems the same, because we can get off at any airport and choose between compact, mid-size, or full-size, and generally get what we want and expect. While we may not want to admit it, the rest of the world just does not operate according to our way of thinking.

Getting a car rental in Spain, for instance, may not be difficult, but it certainly is not the same as securing one in Cleveland. There are some subtle differences between a car rental agency in Europe and one in America. If you plan on traveling abroad, don’t expect everything to be exactly the same.

So what can I expect when I want a car rental in Spain?

For one thing, don’t expect a great selection of vehicles with automatic transmissions or air conditioning. A car rental place in Spain, or elsewhere in Europe, will usually have only a limited selection of vehicles with these customary American options. Plus, while a car rental place in the United States will charge you an insane fee for not filling the fuel tank before returning, this pales by comparison to what may happen in Europe. Not only will you pay a steeper price for returning to the car rental company on “E”, but you will have to pay for gas by the liter – and the cost could break the bank for you.

In fact, because of the steep gasoline prices in Europe, you may want to ask the car rental agency for a diesel-powered car, as this will be easier on your budget. This may not measure up the exotic dreams you had for your time in Europe, but your wallet will thank you for making the more conservative choice at the car rental agency.

Will I have problems actually renting a car?

That depends on what you mean. Some nations require an international driving license, and the car rental agencies in these countries are required to ask this of anyone renting a car. To be on the safe side, you might want to go to a place like the American Automobile Association to avoid an embarrassing scene at the car rental place in Spain. It’s up to you, of course, but “better safe than sorry” is a good way to go here.

Now, because Europe is such a popular tourist destination in the summer, you might be very disappointed when the car rental agent in Spain shakes her head and tells you that nothing is available. It is best to reserve your vehicle as far in advance as possible, especially if you hope to have any luck at the car rental places during the peak periods.

What else should I know?

While not necessary, you may want to opt for the insurance at the car rental place. The reason? Europeans are known to be more aggressive drivers than their American counterparts. This is not to say that they are worse drivers, but their aggressive maneuvers may take you off guard. And you don’t want to return to the car rental agency and have them charge your insurance company for your European driving lesson, do you? I didn’t think so.

So take these guidelines into account when securing a car rental in Europe, and they will provide for a much more enjoyable and hassle-free experience. And when you get there, say “Hi” to the Eiffel Tower for me.

Sun City – South Africa

Sun City is a luxury resort and casino that is situated in the North West Province of South Africa. This wonderful resort is located about 2 hour’s drive from Johannesburg near the city of Rustenburg. It is nestled between the Elands River and Pilanesberg. It borders the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.

Sun City was developed during the 70’s by the hotel magnate, Sol Kerzner as part of his Sun International group of properties. It was officially opened on the 7th of December 1979 and was located in the Bantustan of Bophuthatswana. South Africa’s government at the time declared Bophuthatswana an independent state although no other country recognised this. During the 70’s gambling and topless shows were banned in South Africa, but it was allowed in Bophuthatswana which ensured that Sun City became a very popular holiday and weekend away destination.

The United Nations imposed a cultural boycott on South Africa in condemnation of apartheid. Kerzner offered substantial financial incentives to performing artists to use Sun City as a venue. Many artists performed at the venue including the Beach Boys, Cher, Linda Ronstadt, Frank Sinatra, Status Quo, Rod Stewart and Elton John. Queen also performed here in 1984 which caused lots of criticism in the British music press.

This venue has hosted a heavyweight boxing championship fight between American Mike Weaver and South African Gerrie Coetzee as well as Miss South Africa, Miss South Africa Teen and Miss World pageants.

Sun City continues flourishing since Bophutatswana was re-incorporated into South Africa in 1994. The resort has four hotels including Sun City Hotel, Cascades Hotel, The Cabanas and The palace of the Lost City. The complex includes time-share facilities, which is a popular self-catering facility.

There are also two international standard 18 hole golf courses. The first on is The Gary Player Country Club which is home to the prestigious Nedbank Gold Challenge and the second is the Lost City Golf Course which is noted for the 38 crocodiles in the water feature of the 13th hole. Both were designed by Gary Player.

In 2014, the movie Blended with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, premiered after being filmed mostly at the resort.

A brand new water slide was installed in 2016 and expanded accommodation choices to countryside like Cabanas Chalets was just completed. The new Chalets are located 750m from the Cabanas hotel, nestled beside the Letsatsie bush which is close to the Cultural Village of the resort.

The Valley of Waves re-opened after its annual winter maintenance with another heart stopping ride to try. The new water slide, White Water, sees visitors have the ultimate 17m plummet body slide adventure in a capsule. It sends riders sliding at 40mph (65km/h) before being swept upwards into a near-vertical loop. G-force pins the riders as they slide up, over and then down before crashing into the splashdown lane. It is not for the faint hearted…

Sun City also has the largest permanent maze in the Southern Hemisphere, The Maze of the Lost City. It was constructed from artificial stone and wood which creates the illusion of an ancient archaeological discovery. It covers half an acre. The maze is accessed via a 100m suspension bridge from the Entertainment Centre and offers the most spectacular views of the resort. At night time flaming torches light the paths along the chambers…

5 Ways to Choose Your Hotel

You are planning a holiday abroad for your family, and want everyone to have a good time. You surf the internet for hotel descriptions, but from the pictures that you see and what you read, all hotels project a perfect image of themselves. How can you tell which ones are better? You have never been there and know no one at your destination. At the same time, you don’t want a hotel room that will bust your budget. How do you choose?

Check Independent Hotel Ratings

Well, the first step you can take is to visit hotel search engines for guest ratings for hotels represented by the search engines. In addition to pre-negotiated rates with individual hotels, most agents ask for ratings and comments from previous guests. Reading their comments will give you a fair idea on what to expect from the hotels located in your destination. Be sure to read a few comments in order to get a fair overview. Certain incidences described may only be rare occurrences that may already have been corrected.

Hotel Chains and Facilities

Are they part of an international hotel chain? Most international chains have stringent standards that are adhered to as well as a standard theme across all chains. They may have similar facilities (health clubs, spas, business centers, etc) which are important to maintain the hotel’s high standards. Other things you can look out for include concierge, shuttle services to the city, airport transfers as well as good laundry services.

Location

Perhaps one of the most critical things when selecting a hotel is its location. Hotels that are near to shopping areas, train stations or the city center charge higher rates as compared to those located elsewhere. Analyze a map of the area before you book to determine the nearest shopping areas or access to trains which will give you much convenience in moving around. Also, check with the hotel if they have any large tour groups coming in at the same time. Hotels charge higher rates during high occupancy periods and do not have the flexibility of late check-outs. These are important aspects which, if overlooked, may affect your tour schedule as well as your impression of the hotel’s level of hospitality.

Rates and Discounts

Hotel rates are a huge factor when it comes to choosing a hotel. However, paying more does not necessarily mean that you will receive an equivalent level of service and standards. One of the ways to maximize on prices would be check if they are part of an alliance with flights or car rental companies, which offer discounts to customers of their allies. Sometimes, credit card companies offer their cardholders exclusive rates to special hotels which can be pretty attractive. Additionally, if it’s possible to use your frequent flyer points to redeem hotel discounts, this could help reduce hotel costs as well.

Boutique Hotels

Finally, apart from chain hotels, boutique hotels may are great alternatives for romantic getaways for couples or families seeking hotels of a more distinctive theme. Many boutique hotels have fewer rooms but offer more value added services such as spas within the bedroom, breakfasts in bed or even in-room massages. In the end, your choice of hotel really depends on what you want out of your holiday.

You may visit Hotels Search EU PTY LTD to find the most trusted hotels at top destinations across the world.

Car Rental Safety During Traveling

What do I need to do before I leave the rental lot?

You’re in a big hurry now that you’re got the car, but take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with this new car.

Check the car for interior or exterior damage.

Find the lights, radio, wipers, turn signals, cruise control and side mirror controls before you leave the lot.

Set the seat and the mirrors to a level where you are comfortable.

It’s also a good idea to study the map and find the route to your destination before you begin driving.

Insurance is a good thing to already own

Taking a risk might be good with poker or with your stocks, but when it comes to renting a car, do you really want to forgo insurance? Sure car rental insurance is complicated (even the counter agents don’t know everything), but it is an unwise decision to drive without a safety net. Your cheap car rentals might not be as cheap as you think they are if you option to buy the car rental agency’s insurance.

The best way to answer your questions about car rental insurance is to check with your credit card company, personal and auto insurance carrier, and the rental car company itself. Be advised that you should not feel pressured to buy the rental company’s insurance. Why pay for something you might already have? Take the time to check your own existing policy first. Note that there could be certain restrictions to your own policy and that certain rental vehicles might not be covered. If you’re thinking about renting that Jaguar, you might want to reconsider if your own policy won’t cover such a high-end vehicle.

It is unfortunate to note that rental cars are moving targets for theft. However, most rental companies have recently stopped labeling their rental vehicles with their corporate logos. It is a good idea to ensure there are no logos or stickers on your particular rental car. If there is one, you could ask for their immediate removal.

Here are some safety tips: 

  • Always be wary of pulling over, especially if it is dark or if you are unfamiliar with the territory.
  • Never exit your car until you are sure that the situation is safe.
  • Keep all your luggage in the trunk. Do not draw attention to the fact that you are a visitor.
  • Stay on the the main roads and stick to your planned route.

The Grand Teton Mountain Range

I am sixty years old, which qualifies me to give advice to young adults. I said that to get your attention, but a lot of folks my age and older have been there and done that and can be a valuable source of knowledge to those in the twenties and thirties. My advice centers on understanding that at a young age, under most circumstances, your most valuable commodity is time.

There is so much you can do with time, unless you are limited by poor health or insufficient wealth. Assuming that you do not yet suffer from the former, the chances are greater that you are afflicted by the latter. That is why you are likely investing your time and money into educating yourself, in competing for a better job, or in cobbling together more jobs. You marry and have children, a blessing, but also a condemnation of you to work until you are my age. Before these things take hold of you completely, right now, decide to experience wild America. Go see the west!

You need a target. I suggest The Grand Teton Mountain Range in Wyoming. Organize your favorite people and suggest that all of you should invest time into getting into great shape by hiking, biking, and climbing. Find the local trails, campsites, and nature’s beauty that you can see and enjoy with borrowed or used gear so that you can learn your level of commitment and decide on which gear you will buy. But, while you get yourself into great shape and while you bring your friends up to the thrill of adventure, set your sights on the Tetons.

Your greatest expense will likely be flying to Jackson Hole. Coordinate your first trip with your friends and try to get a great air fare for late Spring or early Fall. The Tetons are north of Jackson Hole. Jackson Lake Lodge is the best place to take in the panoramic view. It is expensive to stay there, but you can go there for free and have a great lunch with a view for a reasonable price. Once that view gets your heart pumping, follow your plan to hike and camp along one of the ten major trails that lead into the range. You will never forget this!

Likely, you will be fired up to take on the rest of wild western America while you are still young. Yellowstone is north of the Tetons. Southern Utah red rock country simply must be experienced. Yosemite in California, Denali in Alaska, and hundreds of other hiking locales beckon. You must start young, be in shape, have a plan, and just do it or you will squander your time and be sixty-years-old, compelled to only look at these adventures from your hotel.

Take precautions: Don’t do unsafe things in wild America. Be careful with fire, respectful of weather, mind your footing, keep a good source of communications, a reliable means to filter water, travel light, bring bear spray, and rope to put your food in a tree away from a camp at night. Travel in a group of at least four people. Other than that, get your happy face on and use your valuable time to get to the marrow of life. Go wild!