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Review of ""

published 12/07/2001 | tartantribe
Member since : 09/07/2001
Reviews : 51
Members who trust : 40
About me :
Pro Competitive prices from an excellent website
Cons Online processing may occasionally fail
very helpful

"Driving into the sunset"

After successfully booking my package holiday and my travel insurance online, it made sense to complete the trio by renting a car through an online agent. There are any number of sites competing to offer all types of car rental with a wide disparity in prices, but all I needed was something basic and cheap for a week in Lanzarote. claims to be the world's largest leisure car rental site. You can link via, or to the sites own home page. Recommended by Which? Webtraders, and winner of a whole host of accolades, the site is extremely simple and well-laid out. At the time I booked, the home page indicated a £5 discount for booking online, which encouraged me to at least investigate their rates.

After choosing my basic destination from an extensive drop-down menu, I was then able to give specific details as to my requirements. You are not required to register or give any personal details at this point, aprat from the age of the driver. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I could either arrange car pick-up at the airport in Arrecife upon my arrival, or collect at my resort. As we already had transport from the airport as part of our holiday package, I selected to collect the car in Playa Blanca the day after our arrival. As far I could see, this made no difference to the price in this instance. The times for collection seemed flexible, with the minimum rental period being 3 days.
I was presented with several rental options, the cheapest listed at £56 per week, plus the £5 discount for booking online- a weekly rental rate for £51 for a 3 door Ford Ka or Corsa, or "similar". Bargain, I thought!
My partner cautioned me that it would probably turn out to be "not available", but when I processed the booking, it was available. Unfortunately as is too often the case, the card details would not go through online and I had to phone the agent. However, there was no problem with making a booking this way, and I still received the £5 online discount, which pleased me.

There is a "small print" section with a lot of detail, and which should be read before booking. I did scrutinise it carefully, being suspicious that there were some hidden extras. The price included unlimited mileage, 3rd party insurance, collision damage waiver, theft waiver and insurance excess. There was also a list of things not included in the price, such as personal accident insurance and petrol. In some cases, there may be a delivery charge if you cannot collect the car. It seemed straightforward to me, but I would recommend that if you aren't sure about anything, check with the agent before booking. If you are under 21 or over 65, have had a driving license for less than 2 years, or have any endorsements on your license, you are required to phone to book. There is a "call me" service so that agent can get back to you.
For an extra £5, HolidayAutos offers optional cancellation insurance, which may be worth taking if you are booking a more expensive rental. Personally, I chose not to bother with it.

After HolidayAutos receives payment details, they send a voucher with details of the rental agreement, and the address of the car rental agency at your chosen destination. You will need your voucher when you pick up the car, so don't forget to bring it. If booking last minute, make sure you stress this to the agent- we received our voucher in plenty of time. It is also worth bearing in mind that during your holiday you will be dealing with the local rental company, and not an actual branch of "HolidayAutos". The site does have a complaints facility and promises to address any problems within 21 days, which may not help too much if you have a real hassle at your destination.

We had no problems whatsoever, and despite my fears, there were no extras upon pick-up apart from a fuel deposit for the car which had a full tank of petrol. There was no refund given if petrol was left over, which meant that we drove around as much as possible to use it up! I gather from the website that this is not necessarily the policy in every rental destination, and refunds are usually given. In our case, the deposit worked out to be about £20 -slightly more than we would have paid had we gone to pumps ourselves, but still cheaper than it would have been in Britain. It is worth bearing in mind that depending on your destination you may end up paying over the odds for this first tank of petrol. We found it handy to not have to worry about finding a petrol station, as the tank saw us through the duration of our stay.
The car itself was a basic 3dr Corsa, and was a bit banged up. It was fine for our purposes, easy enough to drive, and we put 600 kilometres on it. . There was no additional charge for having it collected by the agent at the hotel at the end of the week.

The website offers rental in a great range of destinations throughout the world. A sample of the various rates for other countries include:
Spain- £94 per week for a basic 3dr car, £270 per week for a Jeep.
USA- Florida- £154 per week for a Chevy Metro
Mexico- Cancun- £234 per week for a Volkwagon Beetle
New Zealand- £184 per week for a Ford Fiesta.

Special offers, discounts and late deals are available. The prices will obviously depend somewhat on your destination and the time of year, as well as what type of car you book. A Best Price guarantee is offered based on pre-paid rental prices on a "like for like" basis.
The site allows you to look at some of the car types. Bear in mind that the rental will not necessarily resemble the picture, just in case you have your heart set on cruising across America in a red pick-up truck.

The site also offers good weekend deals in a range of countries across Europe- examples include Barcelona- £65 for a Nissan Micra for 3 days, or £89 for a 5dr Fiat Punto for 3 days in Italy, as well as £65 for a Ford Ka in Britain, 3 days.
Not only that, but HolidayAutos offer a range of "prestige rentals". For a mere £4899 per week, you could be whizzing around the countryside in a Ferrari 310 Modena. Or how about making the right impression on that hot date by arriving in a Porsche Boxter, available for £239 per day.

There is a plethora of other good information available on the site, including travel health news, i.e what shots you need, routeplanners and maps, weather reports, a good daily currency converter, general destination information, details on how to apply for or renew your passport, and other driving advice.

I can't say I did much comparision between this site and others, but I doubted very much I was going to beat £51 a week. Some checking after the fact confirms this. I'd recommend the site for the competitive prices alone, but also for its superlative and informative online rental search facility.

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Comments on this review

  • ampuk2000 published 06/01/2004
    Seems a good deal. However, I think they work out not quite as competitive when you want a slightly larger car for a longer duration. Anway good review.
  • Alison3 published 17/11/2002
    A big apoplogy to you as I have misled you. It was actually autos abroad we have rented from. This is due to me just not looking properly. I saw the ad in the paper and just assumed wrongly that it was Holiday Autos. Coming to write an op I realised my mistake, so will have to do it on Autos abroad, who I see haven't had good ops written about them til now that is. Sorry :)
  • Alison3 published 16/11/2002
    I've just found your op on holiday, because I was looking to write an op on them having just returned from Andalucia and booking a car with them for the 3rd time. I did it on the phone from an advert in the paper and got a £12 discount because we were flying with Easyjet. They are an excellent company to deal with. We have had good experiences each time dealing with the local companies and each time we have crashed the car, and they have been very helpful. We only had to pay the £70 excess charge each time. An Excellent op. I would be convinced to use them from this op if I hadn't already used them.
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Listed on Ciao since: 12/07/2001