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When renting a car, often the parking place is a little way away from the office. This is particularly true for city centre car rental offices, which may have no place for local parking. After we arrive at the office and complete the formalities, we tend to get a small paper sketch, perhaps printed from Google Maps or some other poor-quality map, with an indication of where we are and where the parking garage with the car is located. By the time we drive out of the parking garage, I'm quite lost (it's easy to lose orientation in a parking garage, which often has exits on multiple streets, none of which are familiar to me; and any satellite navigation will only work some time after exiting on a potentially busy street).

It would be nice to know in advance where this parking garage is going to be, so I can explore the surroundings on Google Streetview and on a good map. Is there a general way to find this information?

Concretely, we will soon rent a car from Goldcar at Málaga railway station. On Google Streetview, it's evident that the cars are not parked at the office. Where are they instead?

(For some rental car companies this may not matter if they have a valet service, but for relatively cheap companies, this is unlikely to be the case.)

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  • I’ve found modern phones to solve the satellite problem you’ve described entirely. My old Sony phone struggled quite a bit on city streets. My iPhone 12 doesn’t break a sweat even right after exiting Underground parking spots. Phones with Dual Band GPS should be even better than that.
    – JonathanReez
    Feb 20, 2022 at 6:06
  • Slightly off topic, I suggest you google "reputation of goldcar" and look at, for example, the negative reviews on trustpilot. Be also aware of the artificial web sites full of of spurious five star reviews. Feb 21, 2022 at 17:24
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    @JonathanReez I’ve noticed quite a difference between my vintage iPhone X and newer ones, especially in narrow winding streets,. Feb 23, 2022 at 15:52
  • @JonathanReez After exiting, my Garmin finds a good signal quickly, but by then my eyes are on the road, and I find that navigation is often wrong (near one Spanish village where I stayed in March 2022, Openstreetmap navigated our car down the stairs and Google Maps over a road that didn't exist and never had; I could try to fix Openstreetmap, but ultimately some places are simply best avoided by car).
    – gerrit
    Mar 17, 2022 at 13:39
  • And even if navigation is not wrong; for reasons of situational awareness and to confirm the routing is not doing something silly, I like to check the planned route before I set off.
    – gerrit
    Mar 17, 2022 at 13:44

2 Answers 2

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I think the only way of knowing where the cars are parked is to ask Goldcar directly. I suggest you call them and directly ask them. The phone number of that particular office is +34 918 341 400 as per their website. Good luck.

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    In the end, it turns out they have a valet service. From wherever their cars are parked, an employee picks up the car and brings it in to the front of the office (with the reverse on return), despite it being a busy road where parking isn't allowed and stopping probably isn't either. Spanish solution?
    – gerrit
    Mar 17, 2022 at 13:41
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I know I'm late to the party, but a couple of additional suggestions that should work for any occasion when you have to leave a parking garage by car and need immediate GPS assistance on exit:

  • When you exit the garage, simply turn right (as that's the easiest turn in most countries, turn left in a right-hand drive country) and allow the GPS to figure out where it is.
    • Sure, you may be headed the wrong direction, but it'll only take one or two blocks for the phone to sort itself out, then the mapping software will tell you the best way to turn to get headed in the right direction from where you now are. This is one of the benefits of auto-recalculating, turn-by-turn GPS directions - if you miss a turn, it'll quickly figure out the next best way to get you where you want to go.

An even better option might be:

  • If you end up having to walk to the parking garage, turn your mapping service on while you're walking to the garage and set up navigation to your driving destination (while following the paper map to get to the garage).
    • When you exit the garage, your phone will know where you're going and will right itself quickly instead of having to try to figure out where in the world it is. Also, as you're heading into the garage, you can see which way you'll need to go when you exit.
    • Look around you as you enter the garage to get your bearings - look for shops and businesses to recognize as you pull out. When you pull out of the garage, if you do see these same places, you'll know right where you are and your next turn or two. If you do not see the same places, you'll know you've come out a different exit and will have to be on your toes. It might even work to your benefit if you exit on the other side if your directions on the way in had you going around the block anyway.

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