Car Rental in Britain - Advice Please!

Old Mar 26th, 2003, 12:40 PM
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Car Rental in Britain - Advice Please!

Please help - have checked out various websites and am confused especially in the range of prices! What is the best car rental place in the UK? We plan to pick up a car in London in July and then drop it off at Heathrow 11 days later. We don't require the car while in London. Does a different drop off incur a huge cost? Thks.
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 12:55 PM
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Yes, a different drop off does incur a cost - usually in the region of £40. But, given the nightmare that driving in London is, you may be better advised to pick your car up from Heathrow in any case.

Car rental prices can vary greatly from company to company, but any of the rental places at Heathrow will all provide similar levels of service. I'd go for the cheapest, provided it's a company with a name (Hertz, Budget, Europcar, National, Alamo, are all names that spring to mind). Just be sure to check for hidden extras.

If you've seen a good deal, why not post the name of the rental agency and someone here will be able to tell you if they're reputable.
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 01:32 PM
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Based on somewhat limited experience, a different drop-off will not lead to a drop charge. Try bluewheels.com or woods.co.uk or 1car1.com or car-rental-hire.co.uk - - I have no direct experience with these two latter companies - - they were listed on http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=2&tid=34399916

Best wishes,

Rex
[email protected]
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 01:44 PM
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Another website people here have had good experience with is autoeurope.com They are not a rental company but a booking agent dealing with many of the major cos. Having an automatic (vs standard shift) makes a big difference in price but is strongly recommended if you're not used to driving on the left (let alone a stick) Drop off charges can be steep.
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 02:11 PM
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PS
see scubatv's post titled "car Rental" with his good experience from Auto Europe in Italy.
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 06:21 PM
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Haven't tried it in the UK, but the best price we found on our trip to Germany last summer was Nova Rentacar.

http://rentacar-europe.com/

The car was from Alamo.
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 06:30 PM
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Try www.easycar.com - their rates are real good if you book in advance. I don't know if they have facilities at the airport, I am picking up a car in Maidavale. In May midweek rate is 2gbp with 2.50 for full insurance for an A class Mercedez. I found them much more reasonable than other sites I checked.
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 06:40 PM
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Hilda-

We have always used AUTOEUROPE--
and we take all the insurance they offer.

If you don't need the car in LONDON ( trust me,you do NOT want to drive in LONDON traffic), why not pick up the car at Heathrow--all the rental cars are located there anyway.....

That way,you will avoid valet and garage parking costs in LONDON....

The simple cost of a car service from your hotel to the Heathrow rental sites more than makes up for the parking fees you incur in London....
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 10:39 PM
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ann2: Be VERY careful about renting from EasyCar. The basic rates are very low - but once you add the mileage charges and other extra add-ons they can actually be more expensive than conventional agencies. Plus the problem of only renting A-class Mercs - OK for short trips (or short people with small luggage) - but not a good model for a family or much baggage. And there was a huge expose about them on the BBC a few months back. Apparently they almost always find small scratches or dings and charge high deductibles. In fact the company chairman was forced to come on the program to admit the problems and to say they were re-evaluating all their procedures. Buyer beware - if it is too good to be true it probably is . . .

Hilda_Bell: renting a car in the UK really requires shopping around. It takes as much research as finding the best airfares. At any location, for one size car Hertz (or any particular agency) might be cheapest - but another car class will be cheaper thru Parkers (or any other co.) And some require drop off charges - but only from some locations. The rates are all over the board - No single company will be "best". Search for the size car you want and the locations. And be sure to check on all the particulars - a very low rate will end up higher after CDW, VAT, mielage and/or excess are added on. READ EVERYTHING in the contract descriptions before you agree to a rental.
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 11:15 PM
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I've rented three times in the UK and always got what I felt was the best rate through autoeurope. Generally they placed us with either Budget or Europcar. I did not find there was any premium for dropping the car off in a different location, but if you speak to their agent by phone they will actually advise regarding this.

In fact, there we a small extra charge for picking the car up at a London city office but not at the airport. In spite of this, I found that my itinerary called for me to head north on the A40/M40 and the rental offices (Europcar or Budget) at Russell Sq. in London gave excellent driving directions for the short drive to pick up the motorway for our exit from the city. Then, as you plan to do,we dropped the car off at Heathrow on the day of our flight home. It worked out fine.

I wouldn't want to try this in reverse however, as I think driving into the city to return a car would be much more difficult. I really don't see the value of training all the way out to the airport just to pick up a car.

One final comment: you definitely want to rent/reserve before your arrival in the country for the best rates. But the only confusion comes when converting your (refundable) deposit to AutoEurope which is in dollars to calculate against the balance due which is in local currency. Just note which fees are excluded from autoeurope's quote. Whenever I did sort it all out, the final bill was always slightly less than AutoEurope had quoted.
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Old Mar 27th, 2003, 03:44 AM
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Janis - Easyrent appear to have changed their policy regarding coverage. you can take full coverage with them ie covers scratches and dents etc and walk away. They also stipulate in the contract the number of free miles per day etc. I basically want the car for a 30 minute commute from where I will be staying into North London for myself and my older parents to avoid them having to use the tube on a daily basis in two directions.
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Old Mar 27th, 2003, 09:01 AM
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Ann2 - your case is one of the exceptions where EasyCar would be a good choice - i.e. very few miles driven, little or no luggage. I knew they would have to do something about the insurance problems - I was in London in dec and saw the Watchdog programme and the poor company chairman was really on the hotseat.
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Old Mar 27th, 2003, 10:02 AM
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Hilda Bell,

Why are you picking the car up in cental London but dropping it off at Heathrow? As Kate noted, consider both pick up/drop off at Heathrow and then you'll avoid the extra charge.

When you're comparing prices, make sure you're comparing like units. Some agencies quote prices without surcharges and CDW. We found autoeurope to be the most straightforward of the bunch. But as others have said, it pays to check around.
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Old Mar 28th, 2003, 07:23 AM
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Hi - thanks for all that input. I'll check them out.

Obxgirl - we wanted to pick the car up in London because we will be in London for four days (and don't want the car for that time) and then plan to drive up to Scotland and come back and leave from Heathrow. Thx.
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Old Mar 28th, 2003, 04:31 PM
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I am reading this post, and I think, "Let me join into the autoeurope thing!" Am I doing something wrong?? I find it hard to believe that there are no car rentals out of London for September 23rd and 24th. I am choosing London to London. Anybody ever had similar problems??
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Old Mar 28th, 2003, 04:50 PM
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Hi Luv2travel - I've spent a lot of time on the internet today comparing sites and prices. The AutoEurope one seems to be the best (epecially since there is no drop off fee for a different location). You might also try www.1car1.com. or some of the others the Fodorites were kind enough to suggest. ....Hilda
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Old Mar 28th, 2003, 05:47 PM
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Hilda
I have spent a lot of time checking this car hire buisiness out and not any body has mentioned Moores car rental.
they seem to be cheaper than anyone else
I have checked and there response on the net has been fantastic.
Is there something wrong with them
or hasn't anyone heard of them
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Old Mar 28th, 2003, 06:45 PM
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Not that I know everything - - but I concur, never heard of 'em - - which doesn't mean a thing. Here's the website for others who might be interested:

http://www.mooresrental.com/

No one day rentals, apparently, which is hardly yhe worst thing in the world for the majority of renters.

And in a fascinating twist, they also rent aircraft!
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Old Mar 28th, 2003, 09:54 PM
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maverick: there are a lot of UK-based car hire firms (Moores, Parkers, etc, etc) that are very good - but most overseas travelers have never heard of them and tend to avoid them. You will find most recomendations on this board are for AutoEurope, or Hertz and other international firms.

That is why I said you really need to shop around - no one agency will be best for every situation.

Moores is a good company.
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