Shirley Wenger is a professional journalist and editor who has been working in the publishing industry for more than 15 years. She is an award-winning...Read more

When flying to Lisbon airport, many visitors are looking at spending a few days in the city, but many others are look to head to the beaches outside the city, or to head off on a road trip inland to Porto or to the coast to the ever popular Algarve, or the equally beautiful but less crowded Costa Vicentina.

Before you travel, it is good to know that Lisbon is a very busy airport with over 14 million visitors per year. That is why we always advise customers to book their onward transport before they get to the airport. If not, you will end up in queues at the airport, particularly at the busy holiday times, like Easter and the summer peak season, but Lisbon attracts visitors all year round. The airport itself has two terminals and the car rental desks are located near security in both terminals. It is well serviced by car rental providers including Avis, Benerent, Budget, Cael, Enterprise, Europcar, Geurin, Hertz, Sadorent, Sixt, Thrifty and Turisprime. The advantage of so many car rental providers is that you as a customer can get a great deal on car rental Lisbon airport, as there is a very healthy level of competition.

Having reviewed all the providers in Lisbon airport, we can see that all companies provide free cancellation (up to 2 days before), but always check your booking to be sure.  The current deals in place offer a guaranteed new tesla car accessories or a guaranteed model, but the special offers are constantly being updated, so keep an eye out for the free GPS, free additional driver or free car upgrade offers that are also available from Lisbon airport.

There are a few other points on your booking which you need to take in to account. The level of excess on cars vary hugely. I didn’t find any bookings which offered a Zero excess, but that’s not to say that it won´t be available at various times as a special offer. The excesses in place vary from €900 on a Seat Ibiza, to €1600 on a mini, to €3690 on an SUV or a jeep. That is a huge difference, and remember, this money is put on hold on your credit card for the duration of your car rental, so if you need funds available on your credit card for your holiday, then this is something to be reviewed carefully before you book. Alternatively, you can pay to reduce the excess by taking out a full insurance. This is always done directly at the rental desk in your pick up location. Prices in Lisbon start at about €10 per day for this insurance.

If you are planning on doing a road trip in Portugal starting from Lisbon airport, then another consideration is the mileage policy on your rental car.  The majority of cars come with an unlimited mileage policy, but while reviewing the various offers, I did note that a few of the cars come with a “limited mileage” policy, which means, if you go over the allowed miles agreed, you will be subject to a fine. Also, if you want to drive from Portugal into Spain, for example, some rental providers have included this cross-border travel in the standard price, but I see that a few companies charge for this privilege, so please check this before you book, or at the very least when you are at the car rental desk.

Happy booking, happy driving and happy holiday!

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Shirley Wenger is a professional journalist and editor who has been working in the publishing industry for more than 15 years. She is an award-winning writer and her work has been featured in various publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Time Magazine.

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