Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Providenciales: Renting a Car

I started off hesitant about renting a car because of the "dangerous drivers" and having to drive on the wrong side of the road. But my friend Holly ended up giving me a nudge and I ended up booking a car. I rented from Avis because they seemed to have the cheapest rates, at least in the time period that I was booking. Hertz and Budget are two other well-known car rental companies with locations on the islands. You could also rent from Scooter Bob's or Grace Bay Car Rental or a bunch of other places. A little googling will point you in the right direction.

If you want to be guaranteed a right-hand-driver's-sided car, you should go with Grace Bay Car Rentals because their whole fleet is made up of cars that are meant to be driven on the left side of the road. Most other rental places have regular left-hand-driver's-side cars.

Why rent a car? If you love to snorkel, dine out, and venture to secluded beaches, you should rent a car. At Avis, it was around $35 per day. In comparison, a cab ride will be something like $20 per ride and sometimes they'll charge you per person. So if you're staying at an all-inclusive resort or you're just going to lounge on the closest beach, then a car is probably unnecessary.

A little bit of advice: I'd say, if you're arriving on the island at night time, just take a taxi to your hotel because you'll have a difficult enough time navigating the roads without having to also concentrate on driving on the left. Even if you land in the day time, if you're nervous about driving, I'd say take a taxi just to get a feel for the driving habits and book your rental for the next day. Another important piece of advice: NEVER leave valuables in the car and NEVER lock the car door because if someone's interested in looting your car, they won't have to break a window if it's unlocked and they won't have anything to steal if you don't leave anything in there.

Also note that there are no traffic lights on the island, just roundabouts. The roundabouts are easy enough to navigate, just yield to anyone coming around on your right side and always drive clockwise (which makes sense since you're driving on the left). And be wary of crazy drivers that don't stop, even at stop signs. Just drive cautiously, keep to the speed limits (usually 40 km/h or less) and pay attention.

Avis has a four locations on the island. The Grace Bay location was within walking distance of our hotel so we walked over and picked up our car. The woman who helped us was friendly and helpful and said that the manual transmission car I'd booked hadn't been returned yet so she gave me a free upgrade. I'd wanted the manual car because it guaranteed a right-side-driver's seat but I wasn't going to argue the free upgrade.
We saw tons of Celerios on the island. It's a cute and tiny car but there isn't much storage space.
Driving on the left side of the road wasn't as weird as I thought it would be. It took a bit of getting used to but eventually after a day or two, it was easy. Same thing with the roundabouts. I was nervous at first but pretty soon, it was just second nature.
We wanted to return our car to the airport, which was simple enough. Since we had an early morning flight, we just had to fill out the form (shown in the first photo) with the mileage and amount of gas, and give the keys to the ticket booth attendant.

Go forth and drive!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...