Car rental questions - England

Old Jan 2nd, 2004, 05:07 PM
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Car rental questions - England

I love planning our trips, with the exception of tracking down the best deal on a rental car. We'll be renting for one week in March, driving from London (Gatwick?) to East Sussex for 2 days and then to the Cotswolds for 5 days.

We've rented in Italy from AutoEurope and were very satisfied, so my first impulse is just to use them again. But since getting the lowest possible price is important, is there an uncomplicated way to compare deals and conditions, and anything in particular I should watch for in renting in England? Other companies to recommend? Any insight would be appreciated!
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Old Jan 2nd, 2004, 05:30 PM
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Sorry, can't help with agencies, but I will mention that the consensus on this board is that it's worth it to pay a little extra for an automatic transmission, rather than focusing on the "lowest posible price."

Even if you're used to a standard, switching everything to the other side (driving on the left, shifting gears with left hand, etc.) is mighty stressful so having an automatic makes the trip much more enjoyable.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2004, 08:02 PM
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I don't know any way around the tracking down the best deal on a rental car. This takes as much time as it does to snag the best air fare. On our last trip to England we found a good price with www.nova.co.uk - Easy website and quote is very quick. In addition check all the major car rental places for comparison and offers they may be running. If you are comfortable driving a car with a manual transmission go for that because it is MUCH cheaper and get a small car, petrol in England is expensive.

Sandy
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Old Jan 2nd, 2004, 08:24 PM
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Unfortunately there is no foolproof way to get the "best" rental deal in the UK. I usually spend 100%+more time trying to nail down a car than I ever do finding the best airfare. One company may have the best price for a specific car category at a specific rental location, while another company will be better for a different type car. It can get really confusing. If you were happy w/ AutoEurope, start w/ them and then go searching.

But when comparing rates BE SURE TO READ ALL THE SPECIFICS! One rental deal may be all inclusive, while another will include some (but not all) insurance, and another won't include VAT or insurance. You need to add up any and all "extras" before jumping at a cheap price.

I know this isn't giving you a specific company - but over the years I have rented from more than 15 different UK rental agencies from small local ones to all the international companies, and I never know until I start searching what I'll have to pay.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2004, 07:27 AM
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enewell- we have ALWAYS used AutoEurope for our cars in England...The prices were the best ,by far, and so was the service...

Make sure you take out all the insurance..and get an Automatic Transmission...Make sure car has a trunk ( boot) to hide your luggage....


Have a fun trip!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2004, 09:15 AM
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Generally it seems when people have said that they got a much better deal from somewhere other than AutoEurope it was because the AE rate included full insurance and no extras, while they were comparing to a more limited rate with someone else. Or because they were comparing an AE rate in US dollars with another rate in euro, although obviously that wouldn't apply to a UK rate.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2004, 09:21 AM
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Some counter points to andy's post. He makes some good suggestions for some folks but most small cars will not have a boot. The vast majority will be hatchbacks (called 3 or 5-door in the car descriptions) but there is almost always a drop down cover that will conceal your luggage.

Second - if you cannot drive a stick go ahead and get an automatic. BUT if you can manage one you will save usually over $100 per week and sometimes more. Honest - shifting w/ your left hand is not that hard. And most folks can find a lot better uses for the extra £ an automatic would cost.

BTW - several UK rental agencies now recommend you not leave anything of value in the car while parked and to leave the glove box and luggage cover open so would-be theives won't be tempted to break into the car to see what's hidden.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2004, 11:43 AM
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I completely agree with Janis. I note that Janis has rented from over 15 different UK rental agencies so is speaking from experience. Go with her suggestions you won't wrong.

Sandy
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Old Jan 3rd, 2004, 12:21 PM
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If you belong to AAA or have a Sam's membership, for instance, you are entitled to a discount from certain car rental companies. Or, you may be able to get discounts from your employer's travel agency. Check out any other organizations or associations you might belong to to see if they have any discounts you can take advantage of.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2004, 01:03 PM
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My husband always prefers to have a standard transmission in England; he says that using his left hand reminds him that he isn't driving on the usual side of the road.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2004, 03:10 PM
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Underhill: I totally agree w/ your husband. I've said the same thing on this board several times but our opinion is definitely in the minority. I do think most people who swear "you must get an automatic" have not tried driving a stick. You are not doing any "power shifting" or trying to pull anyone off the line -- or at least I hope so

Simply going up and down through the gears is really not difficult at all.

I think when newbies rely on an automatic they can easily go into "autopilot" and that is when they get into trouble and end up drifting onto the wrong side of the road . . . . . .

Having your left hand on the gearshift does help you focus.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2004, 05:33 PM
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i have had very good luck with alamo in england...their rate usually beats everyone else of the major companies...

have you checked with your airline...i needed a one day rental at heathrow in november and through british airways i got a great deal...better than what anyone else offered...
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