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Collecting and Returning Your Car to Miami International Airport - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Hints and Tips

When you arrive after an International, or Domestic flight, you will pass through the Baggage Claim area, and exit the main Arrivals area into a very busy thoroughfare.
Unlike Orlando International Airport, there is only one baggage reclaim, so it should not take you too long. A road circles the inner hub of the airport, on a continuous loop, and cars, shuttles, taxis and coaches tend to hurtle around this at speed. If you have children you will need to take particular care here, as this is the area you need to find in order to pick up a hotel shuttle or a car hire shuttle.

Miami International Airport does not have any rental car return or collection locations inside the terminal facilities. In order to pick up your car you must take a courtesy shuttle bus to the depots, which are all located outside the airport, off Le Jeune Avenue. They are mostly in the same area though. Take care as you leave the baggage area, keep track of the children, and your luggage, as the road is fast and very busy. Cross over from the main terminal, with your luggage trolleys, and wait on the opposite side of the road where you will see signs for all the major car rental companies, as well as hotel shuttle bus pick up points.

A good tip is to keep all your luggage on your trolley until the shuttle bus arrives, as the actual parking area for these buses is quite long, and if you are like us, wherever you unload the cases will be the opposite end to where the buses stop. If you keep you luggage on the trolley you can simply push it to wherever the bus stops, and the driver will help you on with the suitcases. Isn’t it strange that whatever car hire company you are with, it is always the other shuttle buses that turn up first, and, just as you are giving up hope, along comes yours!

Once on board the buses you will be transported speedily to the various car depots, where you will be able to collect your car. Thankfully these buses are air conditioned, so you will appreciate the cool air inside, as Miami can be very hot, and sometimes very sticky! Now sit back and relax as you start the next exciting part of your holiday in Miami.

When you get to the car rental depot, go straight to the desk – there may be a queue here. We suggest that before you accept the car and drive off with it, you inspect it for any scratches, dents, etc., and ensure that it is in full working order e.g. seat belts, headlights, indicators etc. Report any problems now, and get them to note down any scratches etc. on your rental agreement.

If you find the boot (trunk) is too small, ask to look at another car in the same category – don’t just pay to upgrade as it’s expensive, and you may find little difference. Different cars in the same category will have different sized boots.

If you are unhappy with the car once you have driven it away, you normally have 24 hours to exchange the car for one in a similar category. However, you cannot just exchange your 7 seater minivan for that racy little two-seater convertible with the open top, and leave the kids at the Dollar check-in desk for a fortnight!

However, do telephone them, ASAP, and let them know you are bringing it back – you can pick up a car from other locations, but obviously Miami International Airport has more to choose from. If you are travelling north to Orlando, then Orlando International Airport has the largest selection available. It makes sense to try and get the right car before you leave the airport, as it will save you a lot of time and effort later.

Returning your car

If you are like us, and seem to return with masses of baggage, then a tip we find very useful is to arrive at the airport a little early and park your car hire in one of the two long term car parks. Then take you main suitcases into the main terminal and check in – leaving your hand luggage in the car. On completing check in you can return to your car and simply drive to the depot with just your hand luggage to carry on and off the shuttle bus.

Rita Fraser
OV Ref: 576

25th July 2005

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