Spain Most Popular Holiday Destination for Fly-Drive Travellers

Spain is the most popular destination for travellers to hire cars abroad, says a new international car hire infographics report, released by Avis, the US-based multi-national car rental company.

Topping the list of popular Spanish destinations are Malaga, Alicante, Mallorca, Barcelona, and Tenerife.

The report says that Spain accounted for around 14 percent of foreign car rentals in 2011, followed by France (12.6 percent), Italy (10.5 percent), and Portugal (4.1 percent).

Based on car rental, the UK is the most popular of the commonwealth countries as a destination for tourists, said the report. Car rental in the UK is most popular with visitors from the US, who account for around 28.5 percent of all car rentals by overseas visitors to the country, followed by visitors from France (9.2 percent), visitors from Germany (8.5 percent), visitors from Australia with 6.4 percent, and visitors from Canada who accounted for 5 percent. This breakdown was based on figures for 2011.

The report also highlighted favourite theme parks and attractions for British tourists, by using the number of Facebook check-ins, and the results suggest that the most favourite theme park is Disneyland in France, while Gardaland in Italy is second, followed by Pompeii, in Italy and Alton Towers in the UK.

Within the UK, favourite travel destinations for British travellers are London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. The favourite UK attractions for British residents are Alton Towers, Hyde Park, the London Eye, Thorpe park, and Leicester Square.

Avis Rent A Car System and its subsidiaries operate car rental brands from around 5,100 locations in 165 countries. The company is offering spring deals for car rentals, with prices commencing from £12 per day.

Hertz Expands Gold Plus Rewards Loyalty Programme

Hertz Global Holdings, a US-based car rental company offering services around the world, has announced the expansion of its Hertz Gold Plus Rewards programme.

The loyalty programme is currently being extended to Australia, New Zealand and Brazil as well as nine European countries, including the UK. The extended programme allows its members to redeem their points for rentals in the new countries.

Mark P Frissora, the company chairman and chief executive officer, said, ‘With the addition of Australia, New Zealand and Brazil to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, we have taken another step in expanding our customer loyalty program across the globe. We continue to make the programme faster, easier, more flexible and most importantly, a greater value to our Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members around the world.’

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members can benefit from a variety of rental terms and car types including the Prestige, Fun, Adrenaline, and Green Collections in Europe and America, the Family Collection in Europe, and specialty vehicles in Australia, Brazil and New Zealand.

The points may also be redeemed for a weekend rental in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, in addition to Australia, New Zealand, US, Canada, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

The company is currently offering a discount of 15 percent to 20 percent on its car rentals for summer travellers in the UK, on bookings made by June 15, 2012, for rentals to be completed by December 16, 2012.

The company has also recently announced that it is entering into agreements to expand its fleet of electric cars and vans, and to promote electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in UK.

Visitors to UK Advised To Book Car Rentals Early Before 2012 Olympics Commences

With the 2012 Olympic Games less than 100 days away, the UK based car rental comparison website, Carrentals.co.uk, has advised overseas visitors to book their rentals in the UK well in advance.

The company has stated that its website has registered a considerable increase in car rental bookings at important UK destinations around the 2012 Olympics venues and dates.

The website statistics indicate that six times more US visitors have booked their rentals in the UK between July 20 and August 12, 2012, than for the same period last year. Around 40 percent of US visitor rentals are from the Gatwick or Heathrow airports in London, emphasising the importance placed on being in close proximity to the London Games from day one.

The figures also indicate a particular spike in bookings for July 20 to 21, 2012, which is thought to be due to the increasing numbers of visitors to UK for the Games’ opening ceremony, to be held in London, on July 27, 2012. Most car rentals during this period are for 10 to 12 days, which infers that visitors are also intending to include a UK-based vacation before the Games begin.

The company managing director, Gareth Robinson, said, ‘Our figures show a clear increase in car rental bookings around the time of the Olympics and this is likely to increase further as we get closer to the games. The UK really is the place to be this summer with many Americans making the 2012 Olympics their summer holiday.

Train journeys can be expensive and are likely to be very busy during the games – possibly not ideal for families and larger groups. The option of renting a car gives more flexibility, especially when travelling to different events either in London or around the UK. Those booking early can make significant savings while having a wider choice of vehicles and essential extras such as child seats and sat navs.’

Wind up in the Windy City

2012 is a big year for Chicago with the G8 summit heading there in May. With so much to see and experience, it’s one of the must see travel destinations for 2012 and one you can’t afford to miss out on. International flights arrive daily into the city via its two airports: Midway International on the south of the city and O’Hare International on the northwest. No American trip is complete without having sampled life on the open road, so ensure you do your car hire comparison before you travel.

Located on the shore of Lake Michigan in the American Midwest, Chicago is one of America’s most iconic cities. The weather in the city is mostly iconic too, with the four seasons arriving just as you’d expect them too! If you plan a winter trip, it’s well worth packing extra jumpers for warmth against the snow, but if you head over in the summer, ensure you pack the sun-cream.

Lake Michigan dominates the city’s landscape and its sheer size is awe-inspiring. Hit the highways and take a ride out along the Great Lakes Circle tour, which is a dedicated route around the Great Lakes. The lake also provides some beautiful inland beaches which you’ll definitely not want to miss. If you want to stay in the city, then take a boat trip out onto the lake to take in the stunning skyline of Chicago rising high into the sky. Seeing the city from the lake shows off its architectural beauty perfectly and you’ll be able to gaze upon a skyline that includes the two tallest buildings in the United States. If you feel brave, compare the view from the lake to the view from above by travelling to the top of the Willis Tower, formerly Sears Tower, where you can head out onto the observation deck over 1300ft into the sky.

Life lakeside is rather laid back and there is a thriving community located on the lakeside neighbourhoods. Here you can sample some of the finest cuisine in the country, completely varied in taste. In amongst the little villages, you’ll be able to sample Mexican, Greek, Italian, Vietnamese and many more dishes from around the world. If that doesn’t set your world on fire, splash out and enjoy dinner at one of the city’s 23 Michelin starred restaurants, including the three Michelin star restaurant ‘ Alinea’.

Chicago has more than enough to fill your trip with. For the sports fan, any trip must include a visit to watch either the Chicago Bulls or the Chicago White Sox play. If music is more your scene, then the city has much to offer. All around the city, there are jazz and blues bars to relax in whilst you kick back with a glass of Effen Black Cherry Vodka. And if you want to get back to basics, then there’s the Garfield Park Conservatory which has the largest collection of tropical plants in the USA and the Adler Planetarium which will give some insight into gazing at the night’s sky.

Natalie Likness’ love of travel was introduced to her from an early age due to a trip abroad before she was even born! Having close family and making friends across the world, she has continued to travel ever since.