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-   -   How far in advance should I book my car rentals ? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/how-far-in-advance-should-i-book-my-car-rentals-1007925/)

indiancouple Mar 9th, 2014 12:54 AM

How far in advance should I book my car rentals ?
 
We are visiting Ireland and Scotland for about 8 days each in May 2014. Propose to rent an automatic transmission car at both places. Planning on renting from Dan Dooley in Ireland (from Dublin airport), and from Arnold Clark in Scotland (from Glasgow airport).

How much in advance should I book my car rentals ? Do prices go up as the dates approach ? The trouble is that they seem to charge the credit card immediately upon booking (although there is a liberal refund policy for cancellations); so I would like to book as late as possible, closer to journey dates.

Also, do I need an International Driving Permit ? I have my driver's license from India, which is in English, so that should work fine ?

Grindeldoo Mar 9th, 2014 01:36 AM

I'd expect the car hire company to tell you what documentation they require from you. If you have specific queries that aren't covered on their website, I'd raise these in an email with the operating company in question. As for pricing, in my experience the major risk is that the cheaper/smaller vehicles tend to disappear from the "available" list the closer to the deadline you try to book. So you end up having to hire something larger than you want or need. You have stated that you want an automatic, which tends not to fall in the small/cheap category, so at a guess you won't have a problem. As far as Ireland is concerned, European tourists tend not to want an automatic as they use more fuel, and in May the North American tourist numbers are not at their height.

jamikins Mar 9th, 2014 01:39 AM

Automatics are not as popular in Europe, and are generally not as available. I would book an automatic earlier to ensure you can get one. I don't think the can absolutely guarantee an automatic, even if you request one so be sure you are prepared just in case...

bilboburgler Mar 9th, 2014 03:20 AM

Jamikins is right, automatics are scarce, get your order in early.

Or

Lean to drive a stick and book later

sparkchaser Mar 9th, 2014 03:30 AM

Automatics are also usually more expensive.

sparkchaser Mar 9th, 2014 03:36 AM

Regarding the International Driving Permit, they don't cost very much so go ahead and get one just in case.

indiancouple Mar 9th, 2014 05:06 AM

I can drive a manual transmission car, if I have to. Just much more comfortable driving an automatic. I know it is more expensive, and takes more fuel, but that is the price I have to pay for convenience.

Looks like automatics would not be in high demand in May, so I can probably wait till about 2 weeks before departure ?

nytraveler Mar 9th, 2014 05:15 AM

Rental cars are hard to find in Ireland in high season - esp if you need an automatic. I would reserve as soon as your dates are final.

But - I would also look for a rental agency that doesn't require advance payment. We have rented cars in europe dozens of times and have never had to pay in advance - just give CC info to hold the reservation.

Tony2phones Mar 9th, 2014 06:54 AM

For a May rental book mid April, it's not peak time and despite the obsession of some there are even in peak season enough Automatics to go round (unless as often happens there are several in the repair shops)

sparkchaser Mar 9th, 2014 06:57 AM

FYI, in the Brave New World of the 21st Century, automatic transmissions are pretty good and the mpg difference is between 1-4 mpg.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2...sion/index.htm

Factor in the generally poor driving habits of Joe Q. Public, I would go ahead and say that the difference in negligible.

Michael Mar 9th, 2014 07:10 AM

Autoeurope and Kemwel have been offering specials this past week, and their prices do go up as the high rental season approaches. It might be worthwhile to compare their prices with the prices you have from the local providers.

indiancouple Mar 9th, 2014 07:27 AM

Thanks for the great responses. I think I will take the advice of Tony2phones, and book in mid-April or end-April (we need the car from 11th May onwards). Dan Dooley gets rave reviews on this forum, and seems to be the cheapest too, with all the comparisons that I have done.

The gps hire is very expensive (Euro 10 per day). Is it helpful in Ireland ? Would feel comfortable with it, as we will be driving around quite a bit.

sparkchaser Mar 9th, 2014 07:41 AM

If you'd feel comfortable with it, then get it. For 8 days, it would be cheaper to rent one than buy one.

Tony2phones Mar 9th, 2014 08:11 AM

"Autoeurope and Kemwel have been offering specials this past week" Fine except the quote they give is never the price you end up paying!! Always better to go direct to the source and get a fully inclusive what you pay at the desk price and know the fuel policy.

SatNav/GPS not a big fan myself but if you are going that route see if you can pick one up cheap but make sure the UK/Ireland map software is no more than 3yrs old and have a map for back up.

jamikins Mar 9th, 2014 08:21 AM

I have never not paid exactly what the quote us on autoeurope...you can select the fuel policy and the fully inclusive options as part of the search and it states them for each option in bold.

I gave always received better pricing as well.

Michael Mar 9th, 2014 10:31 AM

<i> Fine except the quote they give is never the price you end up paying!!</i>

My current rental in France for the month of June is $16.60 per day for 28 days, and that rate won't last. I know, because last year I changed the pick up location and the new contract rate was higher than the original contract. To this will be added a road tax and RR station/airport pick up fee (drivers of automatics also pay an extra pollution fee).

Tony2phones Mar 9th, 2014 10:53 AM

jamikins,, have you used them in Ireland in the last 3 years?

jamikins Mar 9th, 2014 11:00 AM

How is it different for Ireland, Tony? Genuinely interested. When we book for UK, Italy or France we enter our dates and they give you a listing of all the available options with prices and show the rental agency involved. I choose what I want (always getting zero deductible or refundable excess) and pay that price. Everything is right up front.

Is this different for renting in Ireland?

Tony2phones Mar 9th, 2014 01:29 PM

You are dealing with agencies who under the regulations in Ireland only have to quote the basic rate per day, they are not obliged to inform of extras, excess insurances or any other items which might raise their ugly heads at the collection desk.. These such items have to be included in UK quotes and I believe (only hearsay) French, no experience of anything Italian (apart from cars and machinery which I avoid) so never comment.

There is a regular contributor on the TA forum who consistently answers car hire questions despite openly admitting never renting in Ireland..

Different laws, different Franchises, different end suppliers.. Comparing car hire in one country with how it is in another is like comparing coach tours.. OK the name is the same but that is as far as any comparison can go.

Michael Mar 9th, 2014 01:37 PM

Tony2phones,

You may be correct about the varying regulations in different countries, but reliable brokers give chapter, line and verse on any extra costs. I have not rented in Ireland but did in Scotland through one of the brokers I mentioned and had no hidden costs.

jamikins Mar 9th, 2014 01:42 PM

Interesting. I just did a mock rental on their website for Ireland and it listed the same options for insurance and extras as it does for the other countries. Other than additional excess what would raise their ugly heads at the counter? It lists prices for children's seats, GPS, winter tires etc. if I selected the fully refundable excess from the autoeurope website what would I be forced to pay at the rental agency?

Odin Mar 9th, 2014 01:46 PM

"Autoeurope and Kemwel have been offering specials this past week" Fine except the quote they give is never the price you end up paying!!

I have never had that issue with Autoeurope and I use them frequently in several countries. The quote they give on the website is the price I pay, in advance.

Tony2phones Mar 9th, 2014 02:15 PM

There are regular complaints on several "Ireland" forums in respect of those two agencies among others including AAA for short selling and Insurance/location charges..

I have never used these agencies so can only go off feedback on the various forums. Autoeurope sell car hire from "Europcar" and I believe "Sixt"? Kemwel sell "Avis" car hire (who are currently doing some great deals prepay and direct)

Car hire in Ireland is a nightmare and gets terrible press but it is not the end providers fault in 95% of cases. http://www.tripadvisor.ie/ShowTopic-...n-Ireland.html

dcd Mar 11th, 2014 03:14 PM

I generally find that booking early, often way early, gets the best price. That's been my experience in the US and that appears to be true in Ireland as well, because I got a quote from Dan Dooley last Sept for a May trip (they had the best rate then among various companies) and when I recently asked them for a new quote for the same car, days, etc, without divulging I was already holding a reservation, the new quote was considerably higher than the original one, I want to say by several hundred dollars (I went through their NJ office both times).

Michael Mar 11th, 2014 03:38 PM

Autoeurope and Kemwel are currently advertising St. Patrick's day specials.

xyz99 Mar 11th, 2014 03:53 PM

We always rent automatic, and got one each time. I guess we rent about 2-3 months in advance. Check both local and US-based rental companies, you never know who has the lowest rate.


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