I've visited Bulgaria and it´s capital several times. Each time I used a local car hire company which was ok. This year I've decided to do something different. A friend of mine recommended me a car hire site he has used and was happy with. I said OK, I'll give it a go.
My first impression was very positive. The search engine of the site offered me a great quote EUR176 for 13 days- which is about EUR13 per day. That's EUR7 better than the local company's offer! Sorry, guys it was a great pleasure working with you… :-) Having this lucrative offer, I booked with tipoa.com straight away, 1 month in advance of my arrival. Because this was a part paid rental, only EUR29 was taken from my credit card. The rest of the rental balance was payable on the arrival.
So, at the beginning of May, I landed on Sofia Airport. It's good we landed on Terminal 2- the brand new terminal of Sofia Airport, as Terminal 1 looks a little worse than Warrington Bank Quay station (if you know what I mean)…
Terminal 2 is a nice modern facility. The car hire companies desks are a few yards from the custom's exit. Very convenient- straight ahead. Managed to snapshot the desks although camera isn't allowed.
The girl at the desk spoke perfect English. She was friendly and polite. I showed her my printed voucher (which I received in my email right after the booking from the site) and it took us several minutes to deal with the documents.
I expected some shuttle bus to take me to the car hire facility… No. We used the side exit on the right (not the main exit) and there my rental car was waiting for me - 50 yards from the exit. Easy. A brand new white Chevy Aveo. Car type within my voucher was stated: "206 or similar" so the Aveo was fair enough. I got additional driver for free as a bonus, which was nice (it costed about EUR15 as an extra). I got my keys and drove on.
My stay in Sofia will be described in a separate article (more spicy, I guess ;-) ). Here I'm concentrating on the car hire experience.
All was fine with my car during the stay. It was very economical even in the worst traffic jams. Driving in Sofia was not that easy but I didn't have any accidents. Almost was fined for parking but managed to move the car before it happened. Parking in the centre of Sofia was cheap- EUR0.50 per hour but the parking signs were not very clear. Later I discovered you could pay for your parking with a text message. You type in your plate number as text.
Fuel policy is not an issue in Bulgaria. I had some bad experience in Spain with full - empty fuel policy. In Bulgaria, you take the car with full tank and return it full. Oil price was EUR1.30 per litre- which is quite ok.
Way to and from the airport was easy to be found even without GPS (it was an option for EUR15 which I didn't take…).
I had to return my rental car at 7AM as my flight was an early one. I was instructed to park the car at the same place (very close to the taxi parking) where I had taken it and to deliver the keys to the desk. The sleepy guy at the desk got out to the parking and just had a quick look at car. All was fine and well.
It was a good service and a great bargain. I'll use Tipoa Car Hire again on my next travel.
Report submitted by Tipoa customer: Mr Georg Platt (USA)