These days who is not trying to save money? This includes planning and budgeting for vacation. One of the larger expenses after airfare and hotel can be car hire, or as we say in the United States, car rental. As I am all for saving money, I urge people to forgo a car rental in the name of frugality. Except when I hear they are visiting Lanzarote. The eastern most of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote is a wonderful adventure waiting to happen to you. The island is not huge. Driving north to south will take you less than an hour. Driving east to west is only around 30 minutes. That said, the options to explore the island in all her beauty lies in car hire. Lanzarote is known for its volcanoes and its sweeping vistas and the best way to explore the beauty and other worldly landscape is with a car.
You can make do with taxis or certainly the island does have bus service, but taxis could end up costing the same (or more!) than a rental. And the bus system, while adequate, is not optimal for a vacationing person. Did you want to spend a portion of your vacation waiting on buses? Between the volcano park, the cactus garden, the museums, the various historical markers, the golf courses and the open air Sunday market in the old capital, you will have more than enough reasons to rent a car!
Driving in Lanzarote is no different than driving in any European city. Lanzarote, like all the Canaries, is considered part of Spain. So if you know how to drive in Europe, you know how to drive on Lanzarote. One aspect of the process was surprising to me the first time, Spain expects renters to get a bit more car hire insurance compared to the US. This does raise the fees for the rental, but I for one would rather be over insured than under. While Lanzarote is safe and the roads are well kept, the drivers can be erratic. Small accidents are not uncommon and it is better to pay a little more and have peace of mind.
Car rental in Lanzarote can vary in price. Luckily there are lots of choices for the bargain hunting tourist (that’s you and me). The two major local agencies are Cicar car hire and Centauro car hire. Both are mainstays on the Canaries. Cicar will probably be a bit cheaper. You can get an economy rental for a 5 day vacation for under $200. Centauro is well known all over Spain and if you are part of their membership club, the Gold Club, you can get get nice discounts on rentals. Otherwise you will spend an extra $30-$50 in renting from them. All the car hire companies run specials and it never hurts to ask for discounts, so when you book your reservation, whatever company you decide to use, don’t be shy in asking about discounts. That is one of the nice benefits of the weakened economy — companies are more willing to haggle than ever before.
You spent the money to fly to the beautiful island of Lanzarote. You booked a hotel that suits your needs. Why would you try to save money on a car rental when the car is going to help you fully enjoy this vacation? Do yourself and your family a favor, just budget the car hire fees into your travel plans. You won’t be sorry. Lanzarote is waiting for you to explore her secrets.