Rio de Janeiro car rentals, truth be told, aren't exactly recommended. At least not for most tourists. For starters, renting a car in Rio is usually a relatively expensive endeavor. Add on the fact that driving in Rio can be a big hassle, and it only seems less appetizing to get behind the wheel. Local drivers are aggressive on the whole, and the regular rules of the road don't often apply. Suffice it to say that traffic is hectic in Brazil's second largest city. That being said, there are some moments when Rio de Janeiro car rentals can be justifiable, and if you're familiar with driving in the city, then you can disregard such statements.
Rio airport car rentals are especially popular among travelers who want to get some wheels while in town, as flights are how most people arrive. The main Galeao International Airport is where all international flights land, and it has a few onsite rental car agencies for those who are interested in securing a vehicle once they arrive. Terminal I is the place to go if you want to arrange Rio airport car rentals, and you'll be happy to know that some very recognizable international brands are on hand.
Once you get your car at the airport, you'll most likely be off to your Rio hotel or vacation rental. Many vacation rentals include reliable parking in their rates, while the hotels tend to charge extra for it. If you don't have a spot available at your hotel or vacation rental, parking in Rio can be a hassle, so you should be prepared. You might also interest yourself in the insurance that the rental car companies offer, as locals are known to bump bumpers when parking and take less care with their vehicles in general.
Many travelers who are interested in having a car during their Rio vacation will be looking to get a good deal on their rental. While there are local discount rental companies that can hook you up with a cheap rental car in Rio, it is generally recommended that you stick to the recognizable international companies. The cheaper ones sometimes don't offer comprehensive coverage, and maintenance of the vehicles is often overlooked. As long as you opt to rent a relatively low frills compact car that is good on gas through one of the major agencies, the rates should be acceptable, even with the extra comprehensive insurance. In general, it's hard to get any special deals on Rio de Janeiro car rentals, regardless of who you choose to deal with.
Whether you are interested in a cheap rental car in Rio or you want to upgrade, there are a few things to consider other than the fact that driving in this large city isn't for the faint of heart. Officially, an international driver's license is needed if you want to secure Rio airport car rentals, or any other kind of rental. Car rental branches can be found throughout the city, and it's often possible to arrange a rental vehicle through some of the hotels. If you don't have an international driver's license, it is usually possible to secure a rental vehicle in Rio with a US license, a Canadian license, or a European license.
There is one more thing to consider if you have a cheap rental car in Rio in mind. During the peak December to March summer season, rates on everything tend to go up. You might be able to secure more attractive rental car rates during the other months. On another note, while driving in Rio can be a challenge of considerable proportions, there are some side trip destinations where it makes sense to have a car. A drive north to Petropolis, for example, is an excellent thing to do, as are drives to some of the other historic towns in the area. Back in Rio, you won't need a car to get around, as you can rely on buses, the metro, and taxis. Limo rides can also be arranged if you want to show up in style to your intended destination.