Small car rentals in Spain are 116 per cent more expensive on average over five years

by Lorraine Williamson
small rental car
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MADRID – Almost everything is getting more expensive lately. Also the holiday. Where Spain used to be known as a cheap holiday destination, that has changed. Prices for food, accommodation, transport and car rental have risen sharply.

Those who do not want to drive to Spain often choose to fly in combination with renting a car at the destination. Others are already in Spain but want to take the ferry to Ibiza or Mallorca, for example, and explore the island in a rental car. That can be very practical, but the prices can vary considerably per season and location. Good preparation and a profound study of the rental car prices at your holiday destination can therefore save you a lot of money. 

Cost of small rental cars in Europe 

In a study, FerryGoGo looked specifically at popular European destinations and ports that are often visited by car and/or ferry. The data on the costs of a small rental car on location comes from EasyTerra. The study looked at the average price per day of a (small) rental car during the high season (June, July, August) over the past five years for 28 European cities. The main conclusion is that the costs of renting a small car in the cities surveyed have risen sharply, from an average of €48 per day in 2018 to €111 per day today. That is an average increase of no less than 132% over five years. 

A small rental car in Spain cost €102 per day last summer 

Last summer, a small rental car cost about €108 per day in the cities surveyed in France, €116 in Norway, €102 in Spain and €104 in England. In Dublin (Ireland) and Belfast (Northern Ireland) the cost is on average the most expensive at €173 per day and in Hamburg the cheapest at €68. The cities included in the study are often popular holiday destinations, islands and/or port cities, which in many cases also have ferry crossings. 

Causes of the sharp increase in rental car prices 

Another important conclusion is that car rental prices have risen sharply in recent years. This is the result of several causes. During the corona crisis, many companies had to drastically reduce their fleet. When a replenishment of the rental car fleet was necessary after the corona crisis, there was a chip shortage, which meant that new vehicles could not be delivered or not delivered on time. The fact that many people wanted to catch up on the holidays missed by corona also played a role. 

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Based on the available data, consumers can decide for themselves whether to use their transport, for example. Rent a bicycle or car on site as transport. Whether or not to take the car on a ferry, leave it at home, or rely entirely on public transport. 

Price development in Spain

FerryGoGo, a platform for ferry travel, looked in Spain at prices for renting a small car in the port cities of Bilbao, Palma, Ibiza, Santander, Barcelona, Valencia en Málaga. The biggest price rise for a car rental over five years was in Santander (165%), followed by Palma de Mallorca (141%), Ibiza (137%), Bilbao (122%), Barcelona (91%), Valencia (88%) and Málaga (73%). At the moment, the average daily price for a small rental car during the high season in Ibiza is the highest at €116.80. Málaga is at the bottom with €81.64 per day. In between are Santander (€112.86), Bilbao (€101.03), Palma de Mallorca (€110.07), Barcelona (€98,11) and Valencia (€91,89). 

Tips for booking a rental car next summer 

Before you book a flight, ferry or train, it certainly pays to compare the prices of a rental car at your destination. These tips help you to get the best price: 

  • Book on time, that can save a lot of costs
  • Book and compare with car rental comparison websites instead of directly with one rental company. 
  • See if you can get a discount via your credit card. For example, American Express has a partnership with Hertz. 
  • Reserve the rental car from the moment you need it once at your destination. Sometimes it is not necessary immediately upon arrival. 

In addition to being financially rewarding, using a rental car on-site can also be more environmentally friendly than, for example, bringing your car. Especially if you first travel by train to the location or departure port. 

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