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Where to rent a car for wandering mid- Wales?

Where to rent a car for wandering mid- Wales?

Old May 25th, 2024, 04:56 PM
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Where to rent a car for wandering mid- Wales?

HELP: I have no idea how to tag this post "UK" so it posted in Europe general and I can't delete it and try again. So very sorry!
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In June I will fly to London,spend 5 nights there, and then begin a two-week wander through Wales. My current "plan" is to take a train to Chester or Liverpool and from there commence exploring North Wales using public transport -- notably the 8 day pass which within those days includes 8 days of bus travel and 4 days of train travel. As I have this mapped out, I end up on day 7 in Aberystwyth (with a day of train travel still available).

I next want to rent a car for a week to explore mid-and south Wales but the issue is where to rent. The criteria are
(1) must have a small automatic available (rustily, I can drive a stick... but am very reluctant to do so on twisty tight hilly roads);
(2) if possible have a "zero excess" option (last year in Yorkshire I got a passenger-side few hedge scrapes on 1.5 lane roads, but with the AutoEurope Hertz supercover it wasn't an issue), and
(3) if possible allow a one-war rental for a reasonable charge.

My preference would be to hire through AutoEurope (US or UK site) or Arnold Clark. And after my week in mid/south Wales I have no idea where I am going for my final week in the UK before heading to EU, which means I don't have strong ideas yet about where to drop the car (but would prefer to avoid the M4) so that may change on the fly.

After checking many places including Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, Aberystwyth, and Carmarthen the best I can come up with is traveling back up to Chester (on a pretty route), picking up a car (EuropCar via AutoEurope,supercover, allegedly a compact) and returning it there a week later. The system choked when I input returning in Cardiff, so that may or may not be a possibility. I looked at BHX, but on Google Maps it looks like the urban traffic back to mid-Wales is a daunting way to start.

Other ideas? I will check Arnold Clark in Liverpool as it looks like that might have a reasonable "escape" route for my first few hours of driving on the "other side."

Last edited by BarbWire; May 25th, 2024 at 04:58 PM.
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Old May 25th, 2024, 06:27 PM
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Not to worry -- all threads display together on the same Forum -- 'Europe'. If you want a UK tag added (which just lets folks search for a specific country) click on the little orange triangle and ask the moderators to add one.

Where to rent a car and ESPECIALLY at a big enough place that an automatic might be guaranteed or at least more likely to be available would mean a major airport or large city. If I absolutely had to have an automatic I'd even be leery of Chester. Unfortunately the nearest places to Aberystwyth that fit that description are probably Swansea, Cardiff, MAN or Liverpool. Swansea is the nearest at about 75 miles. It would take about 3.5 hours with a bus from Aberystwyth to Carmarthen then a train to Swansea.
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Old May 26th, 2024, 04:47 AM
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Thank you. I will have a look at Swansea. AutoEurope seems only to deal with major airports -- and that is certainly reflected in their prices! Up nearly $200US/week from June 2023!

Regarding tags, I posted using Firefox on Windows10, and there was no option to tag offered. Later I looked at the website using Safari on iOS 17.4 (iPad) and the familiar 'tag list" at the top of the new thread page was there ...
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Old May 26th, 2024, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by BarbWire
Thank you. I will have a look at Swansea. AutoEurope seems only to deal with major airports -- and that is certainly reflected in their prices! Up nearly $200US/week from June 2023!

Regarding tags, I posted using Firefox on Windows10, and there was no option to tag offered. Later I looked at the website using Safari on iOS 17.4 (iPad) and the familiar 'tag list" at the top of the new thread page was there ...
"

OH -- not in my experience at all. I've booked with autoeurope many times in the UK (probably 20+) and and maybe 3/4 were for airport locations simply because they are often the most convenient. But several AE bookings have been for collection at non-airport locations. I've picked up cars in central Newcastle, in Oxford, Windsor, York, Bath, I think Brighton (can't remember if that was an AE booking) - just lots of places. Many good sized towns do not have any national/international rental agencies -- so wouldn't be options.

re the lack of a Tag option - That's something Fodors tech might want to look into?? There is a Tech Support forum where you can post a thread about the problem.
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Old May 27th, 2024, 09:51 AM
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I have discovered that there are significant differences in the offerings between auteurope.com and autoeurope.co.uk. There are more small locations offered on the latter, and the insurance coverage offerings are different. And the prices can be hugely different: As a test I looked at a 1 week rental at LHR in June. The .com rate was more that twice the .co.uk rate!

.com cannot find Milford Haven,but.co.uk can. .com cannot find inventory in Shrewsbury (though it can find the town) whereas .co.uk found Enterprise inventory for the same days.

My understanding is that, despite their common name, the two "AutoEuropes" are separate companies and negotiate terms with rental agencies separately. And anyone can rent fromeither -- it is not tied to residency.
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Old May 27th, 2024, 10:07 AM
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and ... I've just found that Arnold Clark has a location in Stafford! At a much better rate than either AutoEurope site offered!

An email exchage with their lovely yielded the promise that if I book and pat for an automatic, that is what I will get (unlike my experience two years ago with AutoEurope/Hertz when I booked an automatic and was presented with a manual in the class I had booked, or a much much larger automatic ...)

So I think I will have 8 days in north Wales on public transport (either the Explore north Wales pass or a 1BWS pass),end on day 8 in Shrewsbury, and next morning make my way to Stafford (44 miles) by bus and/or train to collect the car....
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Old May 27th, 2024, 10:14 AM
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Kemwel is also the same company as both AutoEuropes -- and country of residence is not an issue with any of them.

Enterprise is great (the Shrewsbury location must be fairly new or at least a new-ish affiliation) -- that would be a great option. Some Enterprise locations don't allow one-way rentals while/whilst (I'm bi-lingual ) some do. So verify that if you plan on dropping the car someplace else.
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Old May 27th, 2024, 10:15 AM
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Oh we were posting at the same time - I didn't see your post #6. Stafford would work.


No need for a bus - train to Wolverhampton and change for Stafford. little over and hour

Last edited by janisj; May 27th, 2024 at 10:18 AM.
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Old May 27th, 2024, 10:38 AM
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Old May 27th, 2024, 01:21 PM
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Wolverhampton might be a better option. It has Europcar, Enterprise and Arnold Clark and it is much bigger than Stafford, so probably more choice. It has a direct train from Aberystwyth and you will be able to drive west out towards Wales with little in the way of busy urban roads.
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