6 tips for car rental at Faro Airport (FAO), Portugal

Similar popularity with car renters as Barcelona airport, Faro airport is brilliant choice to start a rental car road trip around Portugal and Spain. Faro is also an optimal starting point to see Portugal‘s countryside as well as driving your rental car to marine cities and feeling as a local.

But like with all airports in South Europe and car rental locations there are points that you might considers when hiring a car for your holidays. These tips are even more helpful to be aware of if you travel with a family of small children. With intention your car rental at Faro Airport will be a smooth transaction here are the most basic tips for you.

1. Inspect the car before the pick-up and after drop-off

Be sure that all the car rental details are explained to you. Picking up a car with minor scratches can make you a nightmare at the drop-off, because the rental company will try to blame you for them. Be sure to check the car and record all unusual findings into the pick-up papers. Check the warning lights before pickup when you start the car. Do not take a car that could break down in the middle of the road.

Also when you bring the car back to the Faro Airport rental office, be sure to make the handover of the car. You  would not like leaving the car not inspected. The car rental office still has the possibility to use your credit card money, if it discovers a scratch or anything damaged on the car. If you just go into the car rental office and hand over the keys, you will not be sure if the company will take any extra money from you. Take photos to prove there was no extra damage from your side.

2. Know the location of the rental car pick-up office

Faro Airport only has one terminal, so it should not be difficult to find the terminal car rental office. The problem is that if you booked a cheap variation of the rental car.

Confusing road signs and signals at the airport. Takes a long time to find the car rental offices or event the shuttle bus that takes you to the car rental office outside Faro airport. The distance of an “airport rental office” from Faro airport can be even an hour long drive with the free shuttle.

3. Expect long waiting times in summer at Faro Airport

In the summer when you arrive from Faro airport to the rental office for your car, the sun can be hot. The speed of the queue into the car rental office will be slower than you expect. In Faro, car rental companies are mostly booked in summer. So expect to get a car downgrade if the car class you have reserved is not available anymore. Do not wonder if you get a Fiat Punto with no air conditioning, but immediately escalate the issue to the rental car office on the spot.

4. Know your car rental insurance before pick-up

The car rental office will try to sell you the extra insurance for the excess feee eventhough you already had bought the excess fee waiver online. Try to negotiate that you do not need the car rental office’s extra insurance and do not pay the insurance bond. Also be careful at car’s extras that would be included from your car rental company and be charged extra. A GPS extra feature to the rental car can cost up to 10 EUR per day, so you may buy a normal paper map at a gas station instead. Be sure that the excess amount is valid also in Spain, if you will take the car abroad.

5. Check the fuel and mark the status of it

Into the car pick-up papers. Do not pay for fuel upfront.

faro airport rent-a-car
Pic-up of your rental car at Faro airport can be easier than you think

6. The driving around Faro and Portugal

It can be an adrenaline experience to drive into a Portugal city. Watch out for moped and motorbike drivers because their driving will not be quickly predictable. Also do not be sure your road is clear if you got green light. Always look around and drive slow, because you would not like to threat your life of rental car damages.

Takeaways for a stress free car rental

People who had rented a car at Faro airport have had many misfortunate events that you should know about and be careful to avoid them: investigate ahead where the pickup of the rental company office is. Prepare to wait long time in a queue. At Faro airport there are many plane arrivals every hour so you will not be the only customer of the car rental company. Expect 30 min to 45 min waiting times. There will usually be only one clerk in the office dealing with a long line of customers despite you have ordered everything online already and they should be prepared in advanced. Take time to check the car with a rental company staff member at pickup even if you are in a hurry for your exploration of Portugal or even your dinner at the hotel. Check the exterior of the car for scratches and have the engine turned on to check the oil, fuel, warning lights, and weird motor or transmission noises. Also the GPS device might not work at all or it is set to Russian language. The car might also not be clean. Check the car’s mileage at pickup. Note everything in the papers for the car. Pushy staff in the pick up office who try to squeeze more money from you for car upgrades of the car hire offer. The model you ordered online will not be the same at pickup. You could get Dacia instead of Renault Megane or VW Golf instead of Audi A3, or instead of BMW 3 you will be handed over a nice Citroen C4. Although you will see “your” model outside the window of the car rental office as available for rent. The fuel tank can be a little less than full and this will not be noted in the papers. You will have to return the car with full tank and drop off. When you will try to contact the car rental agency in Airport it will be almost impossible to reach them through the phone after half an hour. Extra bill from the car rental agency after your journey, which will be unclear to you. Talk to the staff at pickup and at drop off to ensure what to expect. In Faro you might expect to be robbed as a tourist in a rental car! A typical situation is that robbers work on scooters: at traffic lights he whould knife your tyre and you would pull over to the side of the street. There will be another person wanting to help you. After the tyre is fixed your belongings from the car will be gone. Dropoff location of your car rental can be at different terminal of the Airport and this seems very confusing to tourists who want to park their car at the original pickup location.  Do not let this mishap punish you for a delay fee charge for returning the car too late. With these in mind you will mitigate the risk of anything going wrong during your holiday car rental in Portugal and Spain if you cross the nearby provisional border.