Car Hire – Alicante – GoldCar – Costs for allowing you take a car away with a “Full Tank”

February 7, 2014

And another visit to Spain, and once again taking car hire at Alicante.

We purchased the car hire online before travelling.  

When we arrived, we were charged for fuel (a high fee), but we accepted that. We knew that as our car hire was only for a few days (less than a week), if we returned the car back with a full tank, we would be getting a refund.  We duly returned the car with a full tank of fuel (even took a photo of the tank being full before handing back the car). We noticed that we only had a partial refund of the fuel (some 26 euros less than expected). We raised the issue direct with Gold Car, and they advised that this is a charge for allowing us to take a car away with a full tank of fuel.  We did not know anything about this, hidden in the T’s and C’s and marked on your car hire agreement in the right hand corner as FLEX FUEL (SDR). 

Whether you return the car with a empty tank, or a full tank, you will be charged this additional cost.  Perhaps this is something that needs to be checked out when choosing which car hire company to rent with.  It is not obvious when you initially book.

Car Hire Spain

December 26, 2013

A recent visit to Spain, and hiring a car at Alicante airport, left me with a bill for over £30 for car insurance top up for 3 days car hire which I did not know I agreed to.   I had purchased the car insurance top up before arriving, and through the car hire agent.  I booked through who have been invaluable during the many times I have used them.  I had used Firefly in Spain; we queued for about 2 hours to get our car.

When I signed the  car hire agreement, after saying I had already purchased the insurance, and had the document with me; I did not spot that they had added the top up insurance. The first I knew was when the charge appeared on my credit card.

It seems to be such a hard sell, I would recommend writing on the car hire agreement ” TOP UP, OR ADDITIONAL INSURANCES NOT REQUIRED” and therefore if any dispute in future, it might stand you in good stead.

I would also recommend purchasing the top up insurance before you arrive; as it will usually be less expensive.

If you are going to hire a car several times a year, an annual top up insurance may be the least expensive route.

Electricity Costs in Spain – Airconditioning…

November 27, 2012

Electricity costs in Spain can be more than the cost per unit here in the UK. With the necessity of air conditioning in rental properties (the demand is generally for properties with air conditioning), it leaves owners with high bills, and often with no or little control over these costs when other people are using their property.

Owners need to be proactive in educating clients on the high costs; and one of the ways to do this to make them aware of how it will hit them financially if they are not respectful with leaving air conditioning units on when they are in the property.

There is a ‘secondary’ electricity metre on the market. This has no impact on your primary electricity metre, and your electricity supplier will not know about the ‘secondary’ metre’. The metre is installed, and works on the basis of electricity cards, which have no real value, but are programmed to be for example 10 euros each.  You can buy them in a batch of 100 cards.

I supply 25 euros per week with each booking;  if customers want to leave the air conditioning on all day and night, then they have this choice and use  more electricity, and can purchase more cards. If they do not purchase more cards, the electricity in the property will  (can*) go out (as this is a secondary supply, there is not real cut-off of power by the electricity company).

* in some instances you can have things excluded from running through the secondary metre, such as a pool pump would not want to go off in the height of summer if customers do not pay for more cards.

Camposol Heating is one company that can supply this –



Testiomonial – Villa Picasa Florida

March 4, 2011

janary 2011
We was a week excelent time at Villa Picasa.
the house is like evething New. all is perfect.
all the  rooms all is very good.
We really enjoyed the house. 

Definitely recommend Villa Picasa to others big family.
I will back next year again.
Linda is very nice person, very professionally.
Thank you for the beautiful vacations that we spend

Mariano and Family

To View details and photos of Villa Picasa – Orlando – Florida, click here –

Testimonial – Villa Toscana Florida

March 4, 2011

February 2011

Hi there,

“A great holiday house with everything you needed and plenty of space-children especially loved the pool and jacuzzi!”

I will certainly keep your info for the future.

Thanks again

To view details and photos of Villa Toscana Florida – Please click here –

Disappointing Car Rentals – Europcar – Knock and Holiday Autos

January 14, 2011

Over the past 1o years, I have had numerous car rental agreements, mostly in Spain (probably in the region of 100 rentals).  I normally use a company called whose unprecedented superb customer service and accuracy means I return to use them most of the time. Not least they also get recommended to all of my customers, who generally need to book car hire.

Last week, I found myself using Holiday Autos as the broker for car rental at Knock Airport in Irealnd.

When I arrived on 7th Janaury, the local agent/car supplier was europcar.  The customer service was good (the lady was very friendly and enthusiastic). However the sales methods were not.  It was pointed out to me that the car is just below completely full, and if I return the car with the same level of fuel in it, the fuel charge that they had applied to my credit card of 60 euros would be refunded.  I could not help but feel cheated by this mechanism of “nearly full” tactic. Surely it is much easier to establish when a car if full of petrol, and the petrol nozel clicks… My thoughts were that more to the point, customers returning their cars, would find it more difficult to gauge the amount of fuel they were putting in, and would probably go for the easy option and completely fill the car up, resulting in Europcar benefiting from the difference between nearly full and completely full (about 1/8th of  a tank in my case).  I certainly ensured that I did not fill the car completely, and returned it with the same amount of petrol in.

I did notice that there was a sign in the the little Europcar kiosk stating.. “you may be charged 75 euros if you return the car dirty”. It seems  a little excessive to me..

I was the only person using the car, and I simply drove from the airport to my wedding venue. No food had been consumed or litter placed in the car, so the car was as spotless when I returned it. There were not even any muddy footprints on the drivers carpet (as the temperatures were freezing, so there was no soft mud on shoes)!

I return home to find that a value of £29.68 was debited to my credit card on 8th January (before I returned the car). There was no mention of this value on the agreement/invoice.

With Europcar, you have to check the car when you accept it. Check it for scratches, bumps etc. And you have to return it without any bumps/scratches.

If you use there is no excess or fees for getting a scratch on your car, so there is no need ot check it on acceptance.

Sierra Nevada Spain – Skiing

January 5, 2011

Just returned from skiing in the Sierra Nevada Spain (Granada ); with excellent snow conditions. Plenty of snow, lots of fluffy (non icy) runs, and beautiful sunshine.

Sierra Nevada is serviced by flights to Malaga (1.5 hours).

There is a selection of accomodation at the resort itself, or in the main village at the bottom of the ski mountain (with a preferable location being just 5 miles from the centre of Granada).  To see accomodation, click here:-

The roads upto the ski resort are excellent. And Parking is 5 euros if you park in the overspill car park just 10 minutes walk.

Managing Holiday Rentals for UK Owners – Impact of Poor Euro Conversion Rates

November 2, 2010

With the euro conversion ranging between 1.05 and 1.1 to the £ in the last few weeks, it makes poor reading for UK owners who restrict their marketing of their second homes to a UK audience.  With British holiday makers watching carefully the “zones” in which they choose to holiday.. ” whether a bottle of wine will cost them £10 or £15″ does make a difference.  With the low cost airlines lending themselves nicely to cheap travel around Europe, owners need to take advantage, and think of better ways to enhance their opportunities when considering other factors affecting the demand.

The need for the British owner with a property within the ‘Euro Zone’ to sustain rentals is more important now as they see their property running costs in euros cost them more in £’s.

All is not bad.. and owners should be looking to penetrate the ‘European Market’ (as in French, German, Dutch, Belgique and so on… clients).  Clients in these countries are getting an absolute bargain with the very favourable exchange rate euro to £1  (if your property rental pricing is in £’s).

Providing the owner (or agent acting on their behalf) has good T’s and C’s protecting all parties, there is no reason (and often the client in the euro zone will want) to pay upfront for the total cost of the property rental, ensuring they get the best price, determined by the rate in force at which the payment crystallises. All parties concerned are therefore winners; the euro zone client gets a very favourable rate, and the owner can convert at that current rate back to £’s immediately securing the required sterling value, and get potentially earlier bookings.

For owners not accepting euros as a method of payment,  it is seriously impeding their opportunities. Especially in today’s converging markets ,with many banks offering free transfers between sterling and euro and vice versa; Halifax UK to Halifax Hispania (newly Lloyds International) is one offering this service.

Linda French

Less Hassle, Less Money

October 1, 2010

Everyone wants to start their holiday, arrive on time, no hassle, and not have to worry about flights delays, getting lost and arriving late.  Equally local key holders do not want to put their life on hold, hanging around for families to arrive at 6pm, when they might not arrive until 10pm.

The answer is simple, which is cost effective.  I have over 90% of my owners now operating a small key safe located at the properties.   A win-win situation for all three parties; owners, key holders, and clients.  The owners don’t have to pay meet and greet fees to their key holders; the key holders are not hanging around waiting for families to arrive, and families can arrive at their leisure, not having to worry about being late and calling someone on arrival.

The keys don’t remain in the key safe indefinitely. The key holders simply put the key in the safe on the day of arrival when they put the welcome packs in the property.  The families are given the key safe code before arriving.

We are dealing with private holiday accommodation, and it is exactly that. We need to move away from the “holiday package, holiday reps” style.   We are not trying to add value in this respect, instead offer complete privacy, no interruptions, and have a local team on the scene only if needed.

Testimonial – Villa Macenas – Almeria

August 2, 2010

Hi Linda,

“Our stay at villa Macena was fantastic, relaxing and exactly what we were looking for.  Rooms were large and comfortable and furnishings were beautiful
The house swimming pool was great and children enjoyed having it all day long.
The club pool was fantastic and staff was so nice and kindly, we watched the world cup final game there and it was a fantastic atmosphere with a relaxing view.
Mojacar is a small city with all necessary shops and restaurants, old town is beautiful. We rent a car for the duration of the stay and visited the other cities in the area, we much appreciated fish restaurants at Carboneras”.

Hope you will find this feedback helpful, please find attached my bank details.
Thank you for your business, we will recommend this adress and will come back for sure.

Best regards

To see Villa Macenas – Click here –