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How far in advance should I book my car rentals ?

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Mar 9th, 2014, 01:54 AM
  #1
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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 ?
indiancouple is offline  
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Mar 9th, 2014, 03:36 AM
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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.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 03:39 AM
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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...
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Mar 9th, 2014, 04:20 AM
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Jamikins is right, automatics are scarce, get your order in early.

Or

Lean to drive a stick and book later
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Mar 9th, 2014, 04:30 AM
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Automatics are also usually more expensive.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 04:36 AM
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Regarding the International Driving Permit, they don't cost very much so go ahead and get one just in case.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 06:06 AM
  #7
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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 ?
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Mar 9th, 2014, 06:15 AM
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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.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 07:54 AM
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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)
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Mar 9th, 2014, 07:57 AM
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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.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 08:10 AM
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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.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 08:27 AM
  #12
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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.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 08:41 AM
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If you'd feel comfortable with it, then get it. For 8 days, it would be cheaper to rent one than buy one.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 09:11 AM
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"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.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 09:21 AM
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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.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 11:31 AM
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Fine except the quote they give is never the price you end up paying!!

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).
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Mar 9th, 2014, 11:53 AM
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jamikins,, have you used them in Ireland in the last 3 years?
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Mar 9th, 2014, 12:00 PM
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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?
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Mar 9th, 2014, 02:29 PM
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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.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 02:37 PM
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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.
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