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Car rental questions

Oakland, CA
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Car rental questions

My wife, adult son and I will rent a car for an 11 day stay in Crete in September, the first half in Sfinari on the west coast and the second near Elounda further east. We'd fly into and rent the car at Chania at about 5 p.m. on a weekday and return the car at Heraklion on a Saturday, probably at about 8 a.m. (though possibly earlier, as discussed below). We'll probably just rent a basic car that can hold three people. I'd appreciate any advice about the following:

1. First of all, are there any particular companies folks recommend in terms of price and reliability?

2. Should we expect to pay more for renting in Chania and dropping off in Heraklion? If so, any idea of the difference in prices, as opposed to returning it to Chania?

3. There is a chance we'd change our outbound flight from 10:30 a.m. to as early as 6:40 a.m.? Would this be crazy in terms of either driving from Elounda to Heraklion in the dark or the car rental agency simply not being open to receive our car so early?

4. For that matter, is planning to return it at 8 a.m. in Heraklion even too early, in terms of the agency not being open?

4. How much time should we expect the rental and drop-off processes to take?

5. If necessary, we could pursue other options, such as returning the car to Chania at the end of 11 days and flying from there, or returning it half-way through the trip to Chania (since we won't need it much for the second half) and simply arranging (I assume very expensive) private transit from there to our hotel near Elounda. I'd rather not pursue these options, but if they help anyone to give advice I thought I'd mention them.

Thanks for any help!

Edited: 10 July 2014, 21:29
Destination Expert
for Southern Norway, Cyclades
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1. Re: Car rental questions

I cannot answer all your questions, but tell you of my experience, which may be partly relevant. We rented a car from Anna Cars. The car was delivered at our hotel in Heraklion. On return we had an early flight from Heraklion. Return was agreed to be in the airport parking. "Just park the car and deliver the parking ticket and car keys at the parking reception". This was obviously normal practice for Anna Cars. They wanted cash payment on delivery. I had to go to the ATM to withdraw money. On the other hand they did not have my credit card and the possibilty to charge me anything extra. I dont know if they also operate in Chania, you might ask them. It was very easy to drive in Crete, dark or daylight. Roads are well marked and easy to find.

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2. Re: Car rental questions

I will give another plug for Anna. We had the car brought to our hotel in Chania Town & we dropped it off at the port in Heraklion. They were on time for both delivery & pickup & the car was exactly as stated. We paid cash on delivery as well. Highly recommended.


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3. Re: Car rental questions

I suggest going with a local Crete company rather than the big international chains. There are several local companies that are recommended on this forum (you can search by jumping to the Crete forum, and entering 'car rental' and 'car hire' in the Search box). Last summer, I contacted several local companies and went with Europeo cars (not to be confused with Eurocars). We were very happy with the car, service and price. They brought the car to our hotel when we arrived (signed a few forms and we were off) and met us at the Heraklion port for drop-off. Not the newest, shiniest models but clean, reliable, full insurance and considerably less expensive than the other offers at the time. We're returning to Crete this September and need a basic car for 2+ weeks. I contacted 4 or 5 of the local companies and will use Europeo cars again (best price by far for the car and dates we need). We're also picking car up in Chania and dropping off in Heraklion (no extra charge). Whichever company you go with, contact them by email and explain your specific needs; they may be able to accomodate the very early drop off. Have a great trip!

Dorset, United...
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4. Re: Car rental questions

As others have said, use a local company, not one of the international ones. Pay cash, then there is no risk of further funds being taken from your credit card.

Collection will take only a few minutes. They will meet you at the arrivals gate, walk you to the car park, fill in the hire form, take your cash, show you how to operate the car, and off you go.

Return at Heraklion is simple. Drop your companions and luggage in front of the terminal, drive to the car park across the road, park in the compound belonging to the hire company (they all have them), lock the car and leave the key with the person in the car park booth, and walk back across the road to the terminal.

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5. Re: Car rental questions

In May we had a good experience with a clean, low mileage car at Art Car Rentals. The friendly driver and car met us at the port near Chania at 6:00 Sunday morning and I signed the contract and paid cash with no credit card needed even for security, only a passport. We dropped off the car at our hotel in Heraklion on Wednesday evening, leaving the keys at the hotel desk, as we went on a ferry to Santorini the following morning. So we never saw a rental office. My recollection is that there was a 30E surcharge for dropping off at a different location than pickup.

There are free city parking lots within a 5 minutes walk of old town where we parked when, as almost always, there was no street parking down at the harbor.

Oakland, CA
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6. Re: Car rental questions

This is all great information, folks. Thanks very much!

7. Re: Car rental questions

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