Driving in England/Ireland

Aug 22nd, 2013, 08:31 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2013
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Driving in England/Ireland

My initial questions are should I rent the GPS that comes w/the rental car or buy a GPS here & bring it along (yes I don't have a GPS) or buy a GPS there?
Also, would it make more sense to leave the car in England for a few days and do a new rental in Ireland instead of taking the car over on the ferry...it's looking like this might be cheaper.
Finally (at least for now) I'm flying into Heathrow and planning to spend my first couple days in London without a car, and then get the rental as I begin traveling the country. Does it make most sense to go back to Heathrow to get the rental car, or should I just rent for someplace near where I'm staying in London (which I havene't figured out yet).
PS I'm leaving early September, staying a few weeks!
regalind is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 08:42 AM
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just a quick comment for now - Depending on where you are headed, usually going out to LHR does make the most sense. But there are other options. For instance, if you are going to Oxford initially - then you could take a train from London to Oxford, tour around on foot, collect your rental car and head out for the rest of your trip.
janisj is online now  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 08:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Tne prices of GPS have come down considerably so definitely get a GPS at home, familiarize, and make sure you get the UK and Ireland maps; Garmin maps are pretty updated.

No, it does not make sense to pay a daily rental fee for a parked car. If you can rely on public transport in the UK, do so. There are hundreds and hundreds of rental car outlets beside those at airports. If you have access to the internet, you have all you need to get this straighten out.
Viajero2 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 10:03 AM
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There's nowhere adjacent to a UK airport or ferry terminal where you can park for free.

It's almost never cost-effective, and almost always extortionate, to take a hired car on an Irish Sea ferry once you've added the ferry cost, the likely hire co surcharge, the time of crossing and the time wasted getting to any ferry terminal other than Liverpool/Birkenhead (all other ferry terminals are hours from anywhere anyone wants to visit, and that's hours you'd have to waste twice).

Where you start your hire depends on your comfort with starting driving on the proper side of the road in the middle of a busy, congested city (there's no other kind in Britain). As a general rule, start from the London area airport in the direction you're planning your tour, whence you can drive straight onto a motorway by relatively quiet roads. There are a few other painless out of town car hire places elsewhere (like at Kidlington, Oxford) - but generally such things don't exist in Britain except at airports and Eurostar stations

Unless there's some pressing reason for doing otherwise, you're always best off flying to London, driving round whichever bits of Britain, dumping the car at practically any strip of concrete in Britain and flying across, hiring another car, dumping it at almost any strip of concrete in Ireland, then flying home either direct or via a UK/Continental major airport.
flanneruk is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 11:55 AM
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Hi r,

Look for a used gps on ebay.

Make sure it has European map updates.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 08:10 PM
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I would agree with the sentiment of not ferrying a car to Ireland. Ireland seems to stand out as a quirky place to rent a car and an English car rental company may not allow you to drive it in Ireland. I would check that before you decide to do so.
I would definitely purchase a GPS before you go. I purchased a Garmin chip for the UK and Ireland on Amazon for $20 before our trip this past spring. We found having a GPS to be a wise move. It provided excellent directions and kept my head screwed on in all the round-abouts!
We had good dealings with Dooley car rental in Ireland. They have an office in New Jersey for reservations.
giro is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 11:15 PM
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Even taking a British hire car to a British island can cause major problems, Hertz UK seems unaware where Orkney is and were furious at a German couple who had taken their car out of the country this year.
bilboburgler is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 03:27 AM
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Thank you. I just checked on flights, they do look like a better option from England to Ireland. Can I simply drop off a rental at 'any bit of concrete'/satellite office of a rental company? - I've always thought I'd pretty much need to return the car to where I initially hired it.
PS - other aspects of my trip...I'm bringing tent & sleeping bag and plan to camp much of the time @ $10-$15/night as opposed to $100 hotels or B&B's so taking the train is out...I'm seeing a lot of good camping options out there.
I love maps, not big on technology so although I understand the value of GPS I may still need a little convincing.
Thanks again
regalind is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 05:11 AM
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If you think you will actually USE a GPS where you currently live then perhaps buying one makes sense. As was indicated above, make sure it is loaded with the appropriate up-to-date maps.

Otherwise just rent one with the hire car...why buy something you'll never use again?
Dukey1 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 05:35 AM
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An alternative, if you have time, might be to buy a cheap, unlocked, android phone on Ebay. I notice that some, from Hong Kong sell for under $60.

This would mean that you could buy a cheap, UK sim card and £10 worh of internet, then use Google maps as the sat nav, and it gives you a working phone.
willit is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 06:33 AM
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No, you definitely do not need to return the car to where you hired it. You do need to return the car to another office of the rental company. But there are lots of them. If you're flying to Ireland, the airport from which you leave is the appropriate place to drop the car.
Mimar is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 07:03 AM
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Hi Du,

>Otherwise just rent one with the hire car...why buy something you'll never use again?

Because, sometimes the rental cost is greater than the purchase price.

ira is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 08:32 AM
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There are seldom drop off fees for one way rentals. Try Autoeurope.com The are a broker that deals w/ all the main players.

Re the camping . . . That would seem to indicate a lot of luggage. Not a great idea on any of the budget airlines. One doesn't need to spend nearly $100 a night in B&Bs and hotels. That is £65 and I've never paid than much single in a rural B&B. You aren't limited to either expensive hotels or sleeping on the ground. There are really good/inexpensive hostels all over the place.
janisj is online now  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 02:07 PM
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My only extra luggage is a tent and sleeping bag - I use a duffel bag instead of a suitcase. I traveled to northern CA this way a couple years ago - a great way to do it. I have the car for transportation and hit the restaurants for my 2 meals/day. There will be hotels/B&Bs as needed. I checked out the autoeurope site - looks great - thank you.
I'm getting anxious...I want to see/do everything, but know I travel best by settling into an area for 2-3 days before moving on to my next destination. I signed up for the National Trust membership via the Royal Oak Foundation - this has been helpful as well.
regalind is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 02:54 PM
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Traveling in CA is a good deal different than traveling in the UK (I'm sort of bi-cultural - a Californian who lived in the UK for several years)

For one thing, except in the dead of winter, CA is warmer/hotter and DEFINITELY drier. I used to camp a fair it but not lately. I personally would not plan a Fall camping trip in the British isles.
janisj is online now  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 03:20 PM
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I would just add that if you intend to drop off a rental car at a different location to the one you collected it from there will usually be fees UNLESS you arrange this in advance. The rental firm may well have taken other bookings for it and if it ends up Penzance when it's meant to be in Edinburgh for someone else to collect that clearly mucks up their allocation system. If they know it's one way from the outset, no problem.
RM67 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2013, 06:22 AM
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Agreed, packing up a wet tent is not fun, but perhaps Yosemite in May at 4000+ feet and the 4inches of snow will have prepared me for a bit of the weather there. I am a bit concerned about camping in the Scottish Highlands though and am reconsidering whether there will be time for Ireland.
regalind is offline  
Aug 24th, 2013, 07:29 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
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I recently rented an auto at Holyhead Wales. I brought my own GPS from home (USA) but they offered to upgrade my auto to one with a GPS for 30 pounds a day extra. I said no thanks.

The GPS comes in very handy as you might not be familiar with all the road signs in England and trying to watch out for them and the traffic and driving on the "wrong" side of the road also can be quite hectic. A good one will tell you which exit to take from the Roundabouts (of which there are many). Buy a GPS.

Another caveat - When picking up your auto, check how you will pay for fuel BEFORE you sign any papers. Stay away from any option where you pay for a FULL tank of gas and can return it with no additional charge. Sounds good, but you will give them the value of any fuel left in the tank when you return it as you had paid for a FULL tank.
OldGuyTraveler is offline  

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