By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: My husband and I are planning to travel by car in May 2003. We were hoping to start in Malaga, Spain and finish in Faro, Portugal. I've been trying to get some answers to questions and am hoping you can help us. Our questions are: What is the driving distance? Is the route simple? Are there car rental agencies that permit rentals to cross borders?

A: If we focus on the the distance between the two airports for these ascribed countries, according to the Michelin Guide, the distance between Faro, Portugal and Malaga, Spain is 262 miles, roughly 4 hours and 8 minutes. The Michelin Guide has an excellent web site, with maps, routing information, possible itineraries as well as descriptions on the town and weather all of which are available for download.

So you can print it out and take it with you. There is even a handy link on tourist attractions, dining and accommodation with the famous Michelin Guide category rating system.

For instance, in Malaga, a 13-accommodations establishment is listed called, Venecia. When I clicked on this establishment with a one-star rating, the results page spoke volumes. You get a tight description, number of rooms, accepted credit cards, facilities and full address. Michelin reports Venecia as a 40-room establishment with spacious guest rooms and bathrooms decorated with select materials, equipped with TV, lift and air conditioning, located on 9 Alameda Principal.

A representative from the Spanish Tourist Board recommends the quickest route would be to drive from Malaga to Seville by highway, then Seville to Huelva by Motorway with tolls and finally Huelva to Faro.

In terms of car rental companies, there are several international car rental companies from which to choose. The list includes Hertz, Avis, and Autoeurope among others. Since you're crossing over to another country, you will need to notify the car rental company in advance should you intend to cross the border with the car.

Once you've selected your rental company see whether they can fulfill your request for cross border drop-offs. Although by law it is not mandatory to obtain an international drivers license for Spain, the Spanish Tourism Board does recommend it.


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