The first thing that became apparent to us when looking at the prospect of renting a car in Mexico was that there is a lot of misinformation. Normally we take a look at online forums and travel review sites to get a feel for how things work and often we take all these reviews with some caution. Even with this in mind, we were a bit apprehensive having seen many confusing or negative posts.
The first thing that caught our attention was seeing how affordable the car rates are. We are talking $14 USD for a weeks rental including taxes. This does not cover the required insurance fees, but for those with premium credit cards car rental insurance is a normal perk and so one can waive the otherwise mandatory insurance fee. The process has worked very well whenever we have had to file a claim.
The reservation we made was with Hertz on two occasions now in Mexico and it has gone splendidly both times. We arrived to the airport, got the luggage and located the rental desk immediately on the right. Having shown the reservation everything was processed as it is anywhere else around the world. It gave us pause wondering where all the negative and confusing reviews were coming from online. There was no line, agents were well informed and there was nothing to suggest this was anything other than a typical car rental pickup.
One thing we witnessed did however provide insight into what may be a cause of this confusion. We observed American travelers practicing their less than fluent Spanish with the rental agents, saying “Si” to a whole variety of add ons and the other things they offer at the counter check out. We had the feeling that the person renting the car did not fully comprehend what they were saying yes to and many of the reviews confirm it, people online saying they were forced to accept all sorts of ‘hidden fees’ for the rental upon pickup. Funny enough though we encountered no such ‘fees’ we just said no to the ten add ons and services they offered.
We filled our own gas, paid tolls in cash and declined any of the roadside assistance and insurance because we have that with the credit card. Everything worked like a charm and the rental as we said was literally $14 USD for a week! Traffic is quite massive, but honestly as normal as anyone would find in a major city like Mumbai, Cairo, Beijing or Jakarta for those who’ve driven there.
When we returned everything went smoothly and the car inspection was processed immediately. For those unsure we would advise that as long as you are renting with an internationally known name: Hertz, Thrifty, Dollar etc and you have a good insurance (through your credit card, or if you don’t just getting a good local one) you shouldn’t have any complications or extra fees. Many people with good credit card coverage sometimes feel they have to capitulate and get the local insurance, you really don’t, if your card offers coverage it offers coverage and you can decline it.
We have to say that renting a car in Mexico is really a great deal. Roads are modern and kept up wonderfully, traffic is hectic in Mexico city, but outside the possibilities of the open road and the freedom to explore that a rental car brings are endless.