What type of car do you need?
This will largely depend on how many of you are travelling, how often you are going to use the car and what outings you are planning to go on.
Do you want something that is small and good value just to get you around or are you after a slightly more spacious and comfortable car for a larger family? The size and style of the rental car you choose will determine the price of your car hire as well as the fuel charges, insurance, etc.
If you want to visit all the hidden places that Mallorca has to offer, including driving through “tight” towns, then you want something small and compact, however, if you are travelling with children and lots of luggage then a VW Polo may not be big enough.
Are you going to be using the car regularly or is it mainly for transport from the airport and for a few short journeys? If you are ‘stay by the pool’ kind of people, then you may not get much use out of a hire car. In this case, a Palma Airport Transfer might be for you.
If you like to be active and get to the know the island and everything that it has to offer, then a car is a fantastic investment, as there is so much to see and do. In the north, you have the beautiful coastal and mountain areas and Formentor, a firm favourite with the Royal family. In the South East, and more inland, are the pearl, leather and olive factories of Manacor. And for a feast of history and culture you can’t beat a visit to Palma with its magnificent cathedral and beautiful port.
Where to book your hire car
If you are travelling on a whim and it is all very last minute, you may decide to simply head to a car rental desk on your arrival at Palma airport. However, be aware that terms and conditions of the different hire companies can vary greatly and at this point you may not have the motivation or patience to compare and contrast between the different offers. In addition, you might be charged a much higher price than if booking online.
It is therefore wise to pre-book in advance, if at all possible. This can either be done directly with the car hire company or via a comparison site – the latter makes it easy for you to identify the cheapest option.
Using a comparison site
Using a comparison site is easy. You simply enter your car hire dates and instantly the site will gather quotes from different Palma Airport car rental suppliers with various vehicles available. These are then presented to you in a manner that is easy to process and digest. This can be done as late as the day before you travel. Don’t leave it too late though as it takes time to locate the right car and prepare it for rental. Also, do be aware that prices tend to increase the closer you get to your rental date.
The search results will show you everything available from a variety of car rental companies on your chosen dates. The range will be extensive – from small cars like a Fiat Panda to larger SUVs and minibuses. When the results have returned, the website will present the information with the highlights of each vehicle on the results page. Usually, this includes the cost of the car rental, a picture of the car, the type of car and various other information including:
Once you click on a specific car, it will take you through to a new page where you will be able to view more information.
Generally, on this page, you will see any additional features of the rental car including whether it is manual/automatic and if it has air conditioning. There will also be other useful information available such as the pick-up location of the vehicle, the fuel policy, mileage allowance and insurance as well as details of the supplier and the rating based on other customer feedback. You can often find more information on a third-party site than you can from the car rental company’s own site.
TIP – when searching for a car, bear in mind that while the picture may show a VW Golf, the car you are assigned will depend on availability. You will notice that it states “VW Golf or similar” at the top of the search results.
You can choose how you would like to see your results – you can filter the search results by car size, customer rating, cost, etc. Often these comparison websites are very intuitive and built with the end user in mind to make your booking as easy as possible.
Once you have examined all the search results, you will need to choose the offer that best suits you. While the cheapest may appear to be the best deal, this is not always the case as the price you will be quoted is not the final price that you will pay. There are a lot of other factors you need to be mindful of which we will look at in more detail below. The cost of insurance, fuel and additional charges can soon mount up, so the initial price quoted is never the actual true cost of the car.
For car rental comparison, you can use the “Search for Car Rental” box at the top of this page or use other comparison sites like skyscanner.net, travelsupermarket.com or dealchecker.co.uk.
Location of your car hire company
There are many car rental companies to choose from at Palma Airport. While many providers are based within the airport’s main terminal, some are a short bus ride away. Luckily these off-site car rental companies provide regular free shuttles. While the terminal-based companies may be more convenient, the off-site companies offer more reasonable terms.
Car rental companies located inside Palma Airport terminal:
Hertz, Sixt, Europcar, RecordGo, Enterprise, Thrifty, Avis, Budget, Goldcar, Rhodium,
Interent, Alamo, Keddy by Europcar
Off-site and require a shuttle ride:
OK, Hiper, Wiber, Dollar, Drivalia, Centauro
For those who don’t read the small print ordinarily, we strongly recommend that you do when hiring a car from Palma Airport. In fact, it is often advisable to read the terms before you agree to the booking. Once you pick up the car just double check anything you are unsure of. While some agents will speak very good English, there will be others that don’t speak it as well so make sure you double check. While we cover several points in more detail below, you may also wish to consider the following:
Fuel policies have changed a lot over the years when it comes to car rental at Palma Airport. Gone are the days when the price you paid for the car included a full tank of fuel. Now there are various fuel policies in place which differ from provider to provider.
Full to full
Full to full is the one you may be most familiar with if you have hired a rental car in the past. It is the policy that many companies used years ago and still use today. When you collect your rental from the pick-up point at PMI Airport, the vehicle will have a full tank of fuel.
You can use the car and not worry about the cost of the petrol/diesel as long as you give it back with a full tank. This is easy to do as there are several service stations as you approach the airport to allow you to fill the tank up. Don’t make the mistake of filling it up when you leave your resort if you are more than ten minutes away as it won’t be full by the time you deliver the car back.
Most Palma Airport car rental companies with a full to full policy will take the cost of a full tank off your credit card and hold it until you return the car with a full tank.
Pre-Purchase requires you to purchase a full tank of fuel at the time of collecting the rental car at Palma Airport. The price that you pay for a full tank differs according to the car that you are hiring and the cost of fuel at the time of picking up the car. Once you have paid for the tank of fuel, you are advised to return it as close to empty as possible as you will not receive a refund on any fuel left in the tank.
Pre-Purchase with refund
When you collect the rental car at Palma Airport, the fuel tank will be full, and you will pay for it. The cost of fuel is usually higher than the going rate. Once you return the car, any unused fuel will be calculated, and the cost refunded to your card.
Pre-Purchase with partial refund
Like the Pre-Purchase with refund, the partial refund is calculated minus an admin fee for refuelling. The cost is subject to change depending on the cost of fuel in Mallorca. The amount charged includes a re-fuelling charge which varies between providers.
Petrol stations near Palma de Mallorca Airport
Depending on your car rental fuel policy, you may need to return your car with a full tank. If that is the case, there is a Repsol petrol station on the airport grounds near to the exit of the airport. In this case, you will need to drive past your drop-off point to fill up your tank. Drive all the way past departures (upper level) and then take the first exit on the right and follow the road along.
There are other petrol stations near PMI Airport
When you hire a car at Palma Airport, a basic insurance is included in the price. Some rental agreements also include basic break-down cover.
For extra protection and peace of mind you can take out additional insurance as well as break-down cover. There are many different levels of insurance offered, so it is important to choose the one that is right for you.
When you collect your car, you will be required to present a credit card in the majority of cases. This credit card is then used to deduct an excess from your card. This can range from a few hundred euros to a few thousand. The money for the excess is not actually processed – it is just blocked from your card pending the return of the car. Once the car is returned without damage, the excess block is removed. If there are any problems with the car, money will either be deducted or the full amount taken.
If you want to avoid the possibility of having to foot the bill in the event of damage to your hire car, you can purchase additional insurance that will either partly or fully cover the cost of any repairs required. Break-down cover may also be included in this type of insurance package. It can be purchased through a third-party provider or directly with the car hire company. If you don’t have a credit card, some car rental companies insist on you taking out their additional cover. The price for the insurance can vary and is charged by the day. It can work out quite costly, but if you were to have an accident, you might not see your excess again.
TIP – Consider your insurance options: If your additional insurance is purchased directly with the car hire company, you will not have to pay anything in the event of the car being damaged. If you take out insurance with a third-party provider, the car hire company will charge any cost incurred for the repair of the car to your credit card and you will need to claim a refund from your insurance provider. While purchasing additional insurance with the rental company is an easy and convenient option, it is usually sold at vastly inflated prices and can hugely increase the overall price of your car hire. Third-party providers on the other hand, can offer the same type of insurance for very reasonable rates.
It is worth paying attention to the pick-up and drop-off time, to avoid being charged for an extra day. One day is calculated as a 24-hour period – anything beyond that will be charged as an additional day. So, if you pick up your car at 1.00pm on Monday and return it at 2.00pm on Tuesday, you will end up paying for 2 days. Therefore, to be on the safe side, try to arrange the drop-off time at least one hour earlier than the pick-up time.
There may be a charge for collecting your car at a certain time. You need to make sure that you check this out when you initially book the car. Most rental companies charge a fee for collecting after 11 p.m. and before a certain time in the morning. Some car rental companies do not offer an out of hours collection service. Therefore, if you are arriving on a late-night flight, your choice of rental could be somewhat restricted.
If you are arriving out of hours, please also be aware that the free shuttle buses may be less frequent. For that reason, you need to ensure that the rental company has your flight number and expected time of arrival.
There are lots of optional extras that you can choose to add to your car rental. Each of these features is usually charged by the day (a day is a 24-hour period).
Should your travel plans change, and you find yourself no longer in need to hire a car, most companies offer free cancellation up to 24 hours before you arrive. Many companies will accept the cancellation as long as it is made before your rental agreement commences (this is the time that you are paying for and not the time that you collect the car). It is worth checking the company’s cancellation policy before you book your car hire.
Picking up your Hire Car
To avoid any unnecessary delays, make sure that you have your identification, credit card and driving licence available and that you understand where the car will be collected from. If you are travelling from the UK, you will also need to obtain a code from the DVLA for driving abroad. This code is valid for 21 days and needs to be presented when you collect your car.
Check the car carefully on pick-up and get any existing damage noted in your contract. In addition to the bodywork, also check wheel hubs, underside of bumpers, edges of wing mirrors and windscreen. You don’t want to be liable for scratches that were done by someone else.
Check the boot to ensure that your hire car has a warning triangle and high viz jacket. If these are missing, get this noted, to avoid being charged for the items’ loss when you return the car.
Extending your Stay in Mallorca
If you wish to extend your stay and keep the car for longer then it is usually possible to extend your lease, as long as the car is not needed for another rental. However, you may be required to return to the rental office in Palma to sign more paperwork.
Returning your Hire Car
If you have hired your car with one of the providers near the airport, make sure you know exactly where your car needs to be dropped off and you allow a little bit of extra time for the shuttle ride back from the hire company to the airport.
When you return the rental car, this is effectively the end of your car hire and the end of your rental agreement. Although you have returned the car, it is highly likely that the rental company still have a large deposit blocked on your card for the excess. If you are expecting a refund for unused fuel, you need to ensure that you are going to get this back.
It is a good idea to make sure someone looks over the car. What if you drop the car back in the condition you collected it in and someone scratches it between you dropping it off and the car being inspected? You will also want to make sure that they take a note of the petrol.
If you have agreed to drop the car back out of hours, it may be that your car won’t be inspected until the morning. If anything happens to the car in this time, you will be liable for any damage.
TIP – While most rental companies are reputable and will return any monies owed to you, there have been horror stories about deposits not being returned or the fuel not being refunded. Take a picture of the fuel gauge and photos of the car if you are bringing it back out of hours, or if there is no-one around to inspect it.
Driving in Mallorca – things to consider before you set off
Once the formalities of the car hire process are out of the way, you are most likely keen to get on the road. However, it is worth considering a few last points before you set off.
Remember, in Mallorca you drive on the right, as opposed to the UK and countries like Cyprus where you drive on the left. And while you may be a practised driver with many years of unblemished driving experience, you cannot account for other road users. As you will be driving on the other side of the road and on the other side of the car, it is important to get familiar with the car and the controls before you set out from Palma Airport. Drive carefully and be mindful that the opposite actions have to be taken. Here are a few tips to consider:
Mirrors – spend some time positioning the mirrors and making sure you have a clear view in both your rear mirror and your wing mirrors.
Motorways – when you leave Palma airport you come out of the car park, exit the airport and are pretty much straight on to the motorway. This can be intimidating – especially when it is your first driving experience abroad. Approach the entrance cautiously – there will be cars coming from a direction that you aren’t used to. Remember everything is the other way around if you are used to UK roads and what you know as the fast lane becomes the slow lane!
Be mindful of other drivers – Local drivers are much more confident than you and often in a hurry to get somewhere – especially taxi drivers. While you may be a cautious driver, this may not be the case for some of the other road users.
Pay attention to road signs – in Mallorca pretty much all roads will get you to where you want to go. Getting lost is hard but not impossible. If you miss a turning, there is usually another one heading in the same direction. Use a Sat Nav to enter your location but also pay attention to the many road signs that will give you a good indication that you are in the right area.
Petrol stations – Some Petrol/Gasoline filling stations require pre-payment before the pump will operate. Credit card payments are generally accepted. The following terms might come in useful:
“Gasolina” = Petrol, “Gasolina sin plomo” = Unleaded Petrol, “Gasoleo” = Diesel.
Emergencies – On the motorways, you will find emergency telephones linked to an SOS telephone network at intervals of 2km. The emergency telephone number is 112.
Road laws in Mallorca
Most road laws are generally the same as for other European countries, or at least very similar. Below are some reminders and some laws that might be different to what you would expect.
Spanish road laws should be adhered to strictly whilst driving in Mallorca. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you won’t be prosecuted because you are a visitor. Breaches of the road laws in Mallorca will be swiftly and heavily penalized by the Spanish authorities
Items and documents you are legally obliged to carry with you in the car
Intersections – priority
As a general rule, at intersections you have to give way to all vehicles approaching from your right-hand side, unless there are road signs specifying who has right of way.
Motorway slip roads
Be aware that slip roads on motorways are often shared by those entering and those leaving the motorway.
Speed Limits in Mallorca
In Mallorca and the rest of Spain, the speed is measured in km, not miles. When you see a sign saying 100, it is referring to km. Use your speedometer to check your speed. You don’t want a speeding ticket abroad.
|– Regular dual carriage ways, not all main roads are 100kph|
Driving under the influence
If you park in any of the above-mentioned areas, you will be towed away and you will have to pay a fine of around €150 to retrieve your car from the police pound.
It can happen even if you are on holiday – you return to your car and find a parking ticket on the windscreen. What now? Tempting as it may be, ignoring it is definitely not the best way forward. The fine will become more expensive the longer you wait and if you don’t pay at all, you can be pursued even if you live in the UK or another European country.
It pays to act quickly:
Within an hour of your parking time running out, you can get the parking fine waived by paying a small fee at one of the ticket machines nearby.
If it’s too late for that, the best thing you can do is to pay the fine before your car hire company becomes involved – otherwise you will be charged an additional administration fee by the hire company.
If you pay the fine within 20 days, it is halved.
How can I pay my parking fine?
You can pay the fine straight away at one of the banks listed on your parking ticket. If you prefer to pay online, you can do so via the local authority website.
You incurred a parking fine while your hire car was parked in a free public car park?
In some areas of Mallorca, hire cars can only be left in public car parks while they are actually rented out. This is to stop hire companies from leaving part of their fleet in public car parks and using up valuable parking spaces. Therefore it is the rental company‘s responsibility to display a document in the car that shows the vehicle is currently being hired. Should this document not be clearly visible, the vehicle can be issued with a parking fine. In this instance, simply pass the parking ticket on to your car hire company.
|Ceda el Paso||Give way|
|Curvas Peligrosas||Sharp or dangerous bends|
|Gasolina sin plomo||Unleaded petrol|
How to save money on car hire
Hiring a car can be a confusing and costly business, especially if you are not aware of some of the pitfalls you may encounter in the process. However, once you know what to watch out for, you can save a considerable amount of money. Below we have collated some tips and advice on how to make the experience as inexpensive and hassle-free as possible.
Offers can vary between car hire companies – use a price comparison website.
Prices increase the closer you get to the start of your holiday. Book online and well in advance.
Shop around for insurance
Buying insurance directly from your car hire company is usually much more costly than booking it with a third-party provider.
Choose your fuel policy wisely
The full-to-full policy often works out cheapest overall, even though its initial price may be slightly higher.
Watch out for additional charges
Charges for an additional driver, a child seat, sat nav etc can soon mount up. Consider carefully which extras you need and whether there are alternative options.
Avoid being charged for an extra day
One day is calculated as a 24-hour period – anything beyond that will be charged as an additional day. Arrange the drop-off time at least one hour earlier than the pick-up time.
Consider your pick-up location
Picking up and dropping off directly at the airport will increase the price you pay – consider booking with a hire company near the airport or in the city centre.
Be sure you know what you are signing
Read the contract carefully before you sign it to ensure that no additional chargeable services e.g. a vehicle upgrade or a break-down service have been added to it without your knowledge.
Resist the hard-sell for insurance and upgrades
At the car hire desk, you might be met with aggressive sales tactics – resist purchasing upgrades you don’t want or insurance you don’t need.
Inspect the car at pick-up and drop-off
Check the car carefully on pick-up and get any existing damage noted in your paperwork.
On return of the vehicle, have it signed back in and get confirmation that it has been returned without any new damage.
Check credit card statements
Check your credit card statements to make sure that any refunds you were due (e.g. for unused petrol) are paid in full and that no extra charges have been slipped through.
Prices can vary between different car hire companies, so it is a good idea to look at a few different offers. Price comparison websites are usually a good place to start.
One of the easiest ways of saving money on car hire is by booking online and well in advance. Even if you don’t like to rush things, leaving it late to book your car hire can cost you dearly, especially if you are looking to rent a car during peak holiday season.
While hire prices increase drastically the closer you get to the start of your holiday, the choice of vehicles reduces considerably, and you might end up paying extortionate rates for a car you didn’t really want.
Worse still, if you don’t book online and arrange your car hire at the rental desk, you may be charged more than twice the price compared to an early online booking.
Insurance can be a very confusing topic when it comes to hire cars and can have a huge impact on the total price you end up paying.
Nearly all over the world, basic insurance (damage cover, theft cover and third-party cover) is already included in the price. However, in the event of an accident, you might need to make a contribution to the cost of repairs. This is called excess – the amount varies depending on the hire company, but it can add up to a pretty hefty sum. If you want to avoid the possibility of having to pay any excess, you can purchase additional insurance that will either partly or fully cover the cost in the event of damage to the car.
You can book this type of insurance directly with your car hire company or with a separate insurance provider. If the additional insurance is purchased directly with the car hire company, you do not have to pay anything in the event of the car being damaged. If you take out insurance with a third-party provider, the car hire company will charge any cost incurred for the repair of the car to your credit card and you will need to claim a refund from your insurance provider.
While purchasing additional insurance with the rental company is an easy and convenient option, it is usually sold at vastly inflated prices and can hugely increase the overall price of your car hire. Third-party providers on the other hand, can offer the same type of insurance for very reasonable rates.
There are usually various different fuel policies for you to choose from but beware – what looks good at first glance may not necessarily be the cheapest option! With some policies you pay for much more petrol than you need.
With the full to empty policy for example, you pay for a full tank of petrol (at inflated prices, as the hire company will charge more per litre than you would be paying at a petrol station) and you can return the vehicle empty. However, this is only worth your while if you are planning on doing a lot of driving and you are likely to use up all of the petrol in the car.
With the refund or partial refund policy you pay for any petrol that is in the tank on pick-up (at inflated prices – see above!) and the car hire company agrees to refund the money for the amount of petrol left in the car when you drop it off. As it is impossible to measure exactly how much petrol is in the car, you may end up paying for more than is actually in there and being refunded for less.
The full to full policy often works out cheapest overall, even though its initial price may be slightly higher. With this option, the car is picked up and returned with a full tank of petrol, which allows you to pay local pump prices for no more than the amount of fuel than you actually use.
Additional charges can be incurred for a multitude of things when hiring a car and can double or treble the total amount you end up paying. This could be adding an additional driver, a pick-up or drop-off outside the company’s office hours, hiring equipment like satnav or a child seat, to name but a few. It is therefore worth considering carefully whether these extras are needed or whether there are any alternative options. Check with your airline whether they will allow you to bring your own child seat free of charge. Use google maps on your phone or download a free app such as HERE WeGo, which gives access to offline maps for more than 100 countries.
It is worth paying close attention to the pick-up and drop-off time, to avoid being charged for an extra day. One day is calculated as a 24-hour period – anything beyond that will be charged as an additional day. So, if you pick up your car at 1.00pm on Monday and return it at 2.00pm on Tuesday, you will end up paying for 2 days. Therefore, to be on the safe side, try to arrange the drop-off time at least one hour earlier than the pick-up time.
The pick-up location can have a considerable impact on the price of your car hire. You are paying for speed and convenience – picking up and dropping off directly at the airport will increase the price you pay!
If you want to save yourself a bit of money, consider booking with a hire company near the airport – these can usually be reached via a free shuttle bus – or in the city centre.
Read the contract carefully before you sign it. Some hire companies have been known to add extra services to your contract without discussing this with you, e.g. a vehicle upgrade or a break-down service, which will incur additional charges. If you sign the contract without noticing, you will end up having to pay for these services, even if you had not requested them.
At the car hire desk, you might be met with aggressive sales tactics to purchase additional insurance or to upgrade your vehicle. Be on your guard and don’t be manipulated into spending additional money on things you may neither want nor need. If you have purchased excess insurance with a third-party provider, you will not need to buy additional excess cover with your car rental provider, even if they try to tell you otherwise. If these policies are bought at the car hire desk, they can cost more than the hire price itself.
Should you be offered an upgrade on your vehicle for a “small surcharge”, watch out: is the additional sum quoted a total of € 15 or €15 per day? In case of the latter, the small surcharge of € 15 will suddenly amount to an additional € 105 for a week’s car rental!
Check the car carefully on pick-up and get any existing damage noted in your paperwork. In addition to the bodywork, also check wheel hubs, underside of bumpers, edges of wing mirrors and windscreen. Take photographs of any existing damage to be used as evidence if needed.
Check the boot to ensure that your hire car has a warning triangle, high viz jacket and other items that may be legally required in the country you are in (check what is needed before you set off on holiday). If anything is missing, get this noted, to avoid being charged for the item’s loss when you return the car.
On return of the vehicle, try to have it signed back in and ask the person checking the car to confirm that it has been returned without any new damage. Should this not be possible, take photographs to use as proof, should you be accused of having caused new damage to the car.
You could be forgiven for thinking that you have safely circumnavigated all the potential pitfalls of car hire once the vehicle has been returned, however, there is one last thing you should keep in mind!
Check your credit card statements to make sure that any refunds you were due (e.g. for unused petrol) are paid in full and that no extra charges have been slipped through. Car hire companies have been known to charge you for accidental damage to the car (which was only discovered after you had returned the car!), amongst other things. You can challenge such charges and ask to be sent evidence of the damage and an explanation of how the repair cost has been calculated. This should normally happen before your credit card is debited but unfortunately this is not always the case.
We hope that the above information will be helpful to you in preparing for your holiday and that your car hire and driving experience in Mallorca will run smoothly from beginning to end. Enjoy the island and everything it has to offer – happy exploring!