Has anyone rented from Avis? They seem to have a good rate for when we will be renting but have not seen any remarks here about them.
Has anyone rented from Avis? They seem to have a good rate for when we will be renting but have not seen any remarks here about them.
Check the Tires – Rethink the Choice
Avis Antigua is staffed by people who are doing the best they can with what they have. The airport gets inundated with travelers quickly, because Saturday is “change over day” on the island so that’s when the tourists all show up to rent or return their cars.
Be patient. Check the tread on the rental they deliver. If they look worn and tired, request another car.
We rented a compact from Avis. It was well worn but clean. I noticed the tires looked tired but didn’t give it a lot of thought. Then I had two flats inside an hour. A local guy pulled over unasked and helped change the first. An Avis technician responded to my distress call within an hour and replaced the second. The roads are not maintained. Every time someone ties into the water main, the roadway is dug up but not resurfaced. Roads are narrow and in some parts of the island traffic is heavy.
BTW the free maps are totally inadequate. Picture yourself tearing an illustrated map from the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale. That’s what you get. The road signs are few and many are so weathered they are illegible. After a day of trying to navigate and changing flat tires, my wife said she’d prefer that we take taxis. That’s what we did.
When I returned the car, the Avis people were pleasant but insisted that I pay for half the value of one of the flat tires which they said was ruined as the result of hitting a pot hole. Where we come from that tire would have been ground up and spread around a playground long ago, but I was happy to get rid of the thing and I’ll talk to my insurance company about it. BTW half the price of the “half life” tire was about $40. Things are expensive in the Caribbean. Our taxi driver hit a pothole this week and broke a strut. That was a lot more expensive.
Local expats told me the way to navigate here is by stopping frequently, asking for directions and using landmarks (for example, the big yellow church, the medical school, and so on).
If you’re going to rent, a compact may not be a good choice. The roads are sometimes good but often not. Often crowded and people stop/park wherever it seems to suit them. That means you must stop and wait your turn to pass them. Be patient.
We know people who hired a taxi to take them where they wanted to for a week and it cost them $500. My rental would have cost less but the wear and tear and the getting lost, and driving narrow, unmarked and sometimes unpaved roads made even expensive taxi rides seem like a better deal. If you’re bound and determined to drive yourself, consider paying for a vehicle than can keep you comfortable and take the pounding. And yes, check the tires… all five of them (and make sure you’ve the jack and everything else you’ll need). Drive defensively.
We've rented from Avis twice and had no issues. We were two families traveling together and thus, both times we had a mid size and a mini-van. I found the best rate with them (I actually booked it though United Mileage Plus). I think the main thing you need to know (probably with any of the rental companies) is to inspect the vehicle when you get it, take pictures of any scrapes etc. I'd rent with them again.
I recently rented a car from Avis Antigua. It was a miserable and very nearly costly experience, from start to finish. When we arrived the Avis lady was not busy - however she was sulky and refused to answer any questions I asked and refused to make eye contact. This is quite typical in Antigua (I used to live there - but the island has improved a lot in this regard in recent years - not here though). Infact a friend of hers came in (a lady I know actually) - while she was serving us and the Avis lady was all laughs and smiles with her. So she wasn't having a bad day - she clearly doesn't like tourists. She is in the wrong job. I have travelled the world and never been treated like I was there. Its extraordinary to be so rude and horrible to clients. BE AWARE. the minimum you can get your excess down to is $1000 USD, by paying the extra waiver fee on arrival, of $10 USD a day. We waited about 25 minutes on the curb for the car to come around. I went back into the office twice to ask the Avis lady if the car was coming and both times she refused to answer me or make eye contact. She picked up the phone - had a conversation with someone about it - put down the phone and then continued to ignore me. When the car finally arrived it was very beaten up with bits broken, dents, scratches and things having fallen off. The Avis chap inspected it and gave me a paper to sign full of marks on the drawing of a car where there were dents. This is where I made a big mistake because I didn't check off each of the many scratches and dents myself. Having just got off a long flight with my young daughter - I wasn't switched on enough. When I returned the car six days later - having had no incidents with it what so ever - I was told that one of the dents in the boot was my fault and that it wasn't on the markings on the paper I had signed and I would be charged an amount up to the $1000 USD excess, depending on the cost of the damage. I stated my case and the Avis lady (a different one) said she would speak with her colleagues in the morning and get back to me. I had a worrying 3 days waiting to find out if I was going to be charged up to $1000 dollars for damage to the car which I had not caused. The car was so bad when I collected it that I had actually taken photos on my phone of various dents - but not the one they were accusing me of. If they charge clients for damage to the cars - then why don't they fix them up??? In hindsight I should have a) never have rented from AVIS b) if I had rented from Avis I should have turned down the car they gave me which was so beaten up c) I should have photographed every inch of the car and personally checked off every dent and scratch on the paper before signing off on it. I never received an apology from Avis. After 3 days I got an e mail saying the damage was minor and so they weren't going to charge me. In other words they continued to refuse to take responsibility for damage to the car which was clearly there when I got it - and which they must have recognised or they would have charged me. They still haven't closed off my account (i.e. the open credit card chit signed by me - which I was obliged to leave them when I collected the car). This is three weeks ago. In short - save yourself the stress, agrivation and unpleasant experience of dealing with people who have no concept of how to interact with a customer and save yourself the potential expense of being charged for damage you are not responsible for and DONT USE AVIS in Antigua.
That's some great info, thanks!
that being said, next month I will be staying at St James Club in a villa for a week. I plan on renting a car for the whole week from the airport, that way I can stop on my own to a food market (is there one between airport and St James?) and stock up with basic items. I do NOT want to wait around the airport forever and go through any issues, so my question is, would it be better for me just to take a cab to the resort, and then rent from St James at the resort? That way I could possibly save a couple of days of car rental and just rent when Im ready to tour the island, but if I had a car from the airport, Im saving taxi fair, along with being able to shop, meaning I will already have my items when I check into the resort? Yalls' thoughts?
Hi there, my suggestion would be to speak to the St James club people and ask them if they would be happy to arrange this for you, who they would use and costs. They may be able to help you with transport from the airport. Also ask them to advise what a taxi should cost so you don't get ripped off. The BA crew stay at St James Club - so if you are on a BA flight - you may be able to arrange with the hotel to hitch a ride with the crew. My main advise would be a) AVOID Avis and b) check off every mark on any car you are given personally and make sure its on the form they ask you to sign and TAKE COPIOUS photos. c) don't accept a car if its full of dents and scratches. Otherwise - have a fab holiday at one of the most beautiful places on earth!
Wow! I just haven't had those kinds of issues. I think I've rented from just about every company there is on the island when I have family come to visit, and Avis has always been great. But personnel do come and go, and it sounds like a couple of the previous posters had encounters with really unpleasant people.
My advice----and I've been renting cars a few times per year for over 3 decades when family and friends come-----is to go on price. None of these companies is better than any other-----and I've had horrific cars and great cars from all (as recently as January we had a Hertz car that was so bad----full of dents etc which doesn't bother me but the 3 flat tyres in 2 days sure did------that I phoned Hertz and they were at my house, which is on a far end of the island, at 6:30 a.m. the next morning with a lovely new car).
Pricing is almost ALWAYS cheaper on a per diem basis the longer your rental. To rent a car for a just a couple of days at your resort might cost a bomb (could come to nearly U.S.$100 per day; don't forget you need a U.S.$20 driver's license no matter how short your rental). So first, I would use a travel website like Travelocity, Expedia, or whatever; and arrange your car while still in the U.S. going with the cheapest. (advance payment is not required).
In your case, because you are at a villa, I think it's nearly essential that you have a car for your grocery shopping-----yes you can do this on your way from the airport to St. James. That being said, I will admit it's my bias that people should rent cars------there is so much to see in Antigua, and having a car will make your time there so much richer. ("So many beaches, so little time!!!!!")
That being said, cab fares to the various resorts from the airport are on the AntiguaNice website. So you can do some math on that part of your question.....but I still think you will be happier with a car for your whole holiday.
Will you have to wait around forever at the airport whilst the car is fetched? Maybe, maybe not. Luck of the draw on that one. It's not like the U.S. where one fills out the paperwork and then schlepps off to parking space number 301 to get the car. They bring the car around and then you check it, and sign off on its condition as a previous poster discussed. This is generally fairly quick but it's the Caribbean so no guarantees.
A couple of other things------one poster mentioned that he or she didn't like leaving an open credit card chit-----but every company requires this. Secondly, if your spouse will also be driving, read the fine print carefully (on the travel-web-sites)-----some of the cars that appear cheapest carry surcharges of as much as U.S.$10/day for a second driver. Thirdly I live on what is arguably the worst road on the island, and I own a cheap Kia. One does NOT need a comfy vehicle or a 4-wheel drive vehicle, assuming you are OK just driving something cheap that gets you around. The roads aren't all that bad.
Signage is terrible, as are the maps. Consider it a challenge and part of the fun! The island is only so big (how lost can you get?) and is very safe. People are friendly and helpful. I think your holiday will be so much enhanced by having the means to get around and see the island.
We have used them - and weren't that impressed.
As another poster said, the lady on the desk seemed very disinterested in dealing with us, we waited ages for the car to be brought, and when it did come it was a wreck which we had to return the next day to exchange for another one.
We rented from an independent company on our previous visit, who offered a choice between a new car, or an older one at a hefty discount - we took the older one they offerd and it was in much better nick than the 2 provided by Avis.
Shop around - and I agree - being able to explore this beautiful island on your own is something not to be missed.
All good advice.
The dents and scratches only matters when the company tries to charge you for ones you are not responsible for.
You are right about the open chit - all companies require this. But all companies don't try to charge you for dents that were there when you got the car and all companies don't leave the chit still open 3 weeks after you have returned and counting. With a very high $1000 US - it can lead to a worrying experience.
Very interesting posts and I find myself caught up in the subject because my wife and I have Avis reservations for a seven day visit to ANU in July, pick-up and return to airport. However, it was recommended to me that because this is our first visit to ANU it might be a good idea to take local transportation to our hotel and have a car delivered the next day. I kind of like that idea. Indeed, Avis was the most reasonable of the rental agencies, about $37.00 US a day including taxes and fees for a compact. In speaking to the hotel, If I have them arrange a car the cost starts at $55.00 per day. My thought is if I talk to Avis at the airport about delivering the car will the price still be the same as stated on the rental confirmation. Does anyone know? I am aware of additional costs for local license and a second driver. I do not intend to change rental companies at this time but I am sympathetic to those of you who have experienced frustration and lack of good service from Avis Antigua. If one is a frequent traveler the chances of unpleasantness affecting some aspect of an otherwise great vacation is always there. Each time there is none we should count ourselves lucky.
Just check off every last scratch and dent on the paper that they ask you to sign when you collect the car - rather than trusting their professionalism and TAKE photos. I spoke to Amex when I got back and they told me that the photos would help in the case of a dispute in showing what a poor state the car was in when I received it. If its in a bad state - then ask for another car. All the last thing you feel like after a long flight - but well worth the effort. Have a fab holiday and don't let these experiences spoil it for you - just learn from our mistakes. Antigua is a beautiful and magical place and I am sure you will have a wonderful holiday.