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UK in Sept 3week car hire, Which car do you recommend 2 people?

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PLANT

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Hi all,

Touring around UK for 3 weeks.
First time driving car over there.
What size car and thinking of using CARHIRE3000.com or SIXT?

Any recommendations on the size of car, Basic car, Manual fine and Air con is not required. 2 suitcases.

They both cover insurances and KMS Unlimited on some models.
Have travel insurance for any further excess.

Any Hire company to stay away from and is it like America..."No no no just whats on the coupon please"

Any tips/tricks please
 

bobe

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Hi Plant,try Economy car hire , you will get a good deal ALL inc rates,Ford Focus or similar will be fine for you, Petro is expensive over there, but places are closer,if you want to experience the UK try and keep off the Motorways and take the A, roads, they will take you through the main towns and Market places etc, if you have a Sat Nav or similar take it with you , it will be invaluable, if you drive through a nice village and get a nice VIB for the place book into a B&B,but beware when you go it is main holiday time over there, get out of the big cities and enjoy the UK countryside, have a GREAT trip.
 

drron

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WeDrove for 3 weeks around the UK last month.We got a standard car and were given a Vauxhall diesel.Great car,lots of boot space which we needed but very economical-got nearly 11 miles to the litre.With the cost of fuel that was appreciated.
 

RooFlyer

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I agree with drron that diesel is the way to go. But I always also book the smallest car that would be feasible with the number of passengers and their bags. Its cheaper to run, easier to park in often tiny spaces at hotels and elsewhere (sometimes needing a 6 point turn to get in and out of - I'm not kidding) and cheaper to repair if you have any sort of accident or scrape (even with insurance and not-at-fault, the car rental company will charge you the estimated amount initially).

You say 2 suitcases; if 2 passengers then a economy or compact class would do me; but for 3 weeks maybe something bigger might be more comfortable.

Many hotels have limited car parking on site. Check parking when you book and try to reserve a space. If you are arriving late-ish ask the hotel for directions to alternative parking.

One time I was offered a large car as an 'upgrade'. I definitely didn't want it, as the fuel cost would be huge (I was going to do a lot of miles). It was the only car available they said. After some haggling, they agreed to refund me the pounds difference between what I actually paid for fuel during the trip and what would have been required to fuel the car I booked at standard fuel consumption.

Last time I hired a car over there (about a year ago), Tescos (supermarket) sells its own fuel cheaper than the majors (but its still expensive).
 

PLANT

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Appreciate the info all
Was going to ask if diesel the go..... Car hire company you used red flyer?
VIP EUROCAR but I'm sure the companies I listed are cheaper?
 
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Cossie

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Three experiences last year in the UK, only an issue with one, it was a petrol Peugeot 107 which was way too small for even 1 person, my bag wouldn't even fit in the 'boot'.
Turbo diesel Seat which was a good little car and a petrol Focus, I was meant to get a diesel but they had none left. I probably ended up spending the same amount on fuel for both the Focus and the Seat. I was doing quite a bit of back road driving, diesels are meant to be better on long motorway trips. If you can avoid it don't buy fuel from the motorway service areas, as stated earlier Tesco have a discount scheme like there is here, spend x, get y off.

Beware of excess with some companies, thrifty in Germany this year would not accept my extra insurance under any circumstances, which made a cheap deal quite expensive. I haven't used thrifty in the UK, so don't know if it's the same, but no problems with Avis, Hertz and Budget, although fortunately I didn't need to find out!

Allow extra time, for any trip, I got caught in a 2 hour stand still on the M6 and had to wait for 4 hours before I could leave a motel as there had been a fatal accident and the road was closed (A27) and the only access was from this road.
 
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PLANT

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How do you know if Diesel car when booking as not showing it is Diesel or option to pick?
 

Cossie

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In my recent experience the lower the group the more chance of a petrol. I always ask at pickup time and it seems it depends on the company and what is available at the time. In Germany in April I asked for a diesel but was told in the class I had booked they only had petrol, however as I arrived slightly earlier than planned they didn't have any available cars in that group so they gave me an upgrade, which was a diesel! I had to wait a bit under an hour.

In the UK last year I asked at pickup, the Focus was meant to be diesel but when I got to the nominated spot it wasn't there so they gave me the next available one which was petrol. In the times I have rented recently in Sweden, Finland and Estonia they have all been diesels. In Italy in May I was able to specifically order a diesel, though I went though a consolidator and in the end had to cancel anyway, so I don't know if I would have got what I asked for.

I would also like to know what others do to guarantee their choice of car.
 

PLANT

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Time to book at 25day car hire.
Anyone used GREEN MOTION car hire?

What is the insurance situation in the U.K compared to AMERICA?
Other than below will 4K travel insurance excess cover any other damage or do you need to takeout Car Hire company Excess protection?


  • We give you the following for FREE:
  • Cancellation
  • Amendments
  • Theft Protection
  • Collision Damage Waiver

[h=3]PLUS your rental includes[/h]
  • Unlimited Kilometers for ALL car groups
  • Local Taxes
  • Airport Surcharge
  • Road Fee





 

Ansett

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I have always used Avis, Hertz or Budget booked through Qantas website as have found these to be the most consistent and well priced options. I find the courtesy buses to be clean reliable and friendly.

I would suggest a Ford Focus or equivalent. When booking you can often see a diesel option on the QF website.

Have a great trip. Happy flying and safe driving. :)
 

RAM

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WeDrove for 3 weeks around the UK last month.We got a standard car and were given a Vauxhall diesel.Great car,lots of boot space which we needed but very economical-got nearly 11 miles to the litre.With the cost of fuel that was appreciated.
Have been hiring cars every Dec/Jan for the last 10 years in the UK, some of these points are universal and some UK centric.

1) Do your research in advance - http://www.retailmenot.com/view/hertz.com.au (coupons etc)

The place to start is: Car Hire Coupons & Deals: Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Thrifty | Car Hire Insider

have a look around it to get the idea. It suggests a couple of 'aggregator sites' that will supposedly find the best deal. I look at both the suggested ones.

I only go with the majors (more response if something goes wrong) as some of the locals seem to have extremes - some reviews are brilliant service etc yet others are the worst thing since the plague.

2) Many UK hire companies are now Private Equity owned (=VULTURES picking over the corpse) so be prepared. Have a small torch (eg: Hertz London suburb pick-up/drop-off in underground garage with only 1 light in 5 actually there (cost cutting). Walked around car and took 8 photos using the torch to highlight any scratches. Not one of the scratches/dents shown on pick-up report so I got that changed - if I had not used my torch I would not have been able to see them. When returning it 12 days later you were directed to a well-lit area (how odd). They immediately started - you've damaged the car. So I pulled out the camera and showed them the photos (one with the damage report included in it) as well as the adjusted original copy of the damage report I had filled out at pick-up and made them sign, write employee number and stamp.
Same happened the next year with Europcar (damage that is) - despite photos and report they then claimed there were more dents/scratches than I had put on the report (and they'd signed, employee number etc). 45 minutes 'discussion' - they try and delay you so you'll buckle as you fear missing your flight - I pointed out that I knew who owned them and they'd better enjoy their last few days of employment. Finally solved but I sent in the info when back in Oz.

Avis - I hired a particular car - in fact it is the only car in its class (at the time) = so I could be certain of luggage capacity. Arrived at LHR - sorry sir we don't have your car but you can have a similar car (different booking category though an intermediate) that had 70% of capacity. I pulled out my copy of the car class description booked (3 large bags 2 medium bags luggage) and the ICAR page as well (so many issues over so many years) and pointed out that the ICAR was only 2 large and 1 medium - so no it is not a similar car. 25 minutes later a "Full size" car was ready that fitted the bags (2 parents, 3 teens in UK/Euope for 5 wks and going skiing) at no cost.

3) If a diesel the fuel usage is less than petrol. If you go up a category then fuel consumption is not that much more and remember the UK is smaller than NZ. Nowhere is far to drive from London. If you've driven Sydney-Melb then you've driven further than just about any like holiday route in the UK. Increasing car category does not make diesel/petrol costs that much more expensive. Did you know - driving a current model petrol Commodore Wagon from Port Macquarie to Sydney (around 110kmh) uses less than 7 litres/100km. Being able to fit in your bags and buy some cheap snacks etc is worth a few dollars a day.

4) Don't take your GPS with you (you then have to buy the maps normally), don't hire one from the Hire Car company but buy one on the internet to pickup when you have the car say from Tesco or one of the electronic chains. Just like here, they are always selling off last years model for a small amount, and you can get lifetime maps with it if you purchase it in the UK (normally). Here is one example from TESCO but not a cheap sell-off one - Buy TomTom Start 20 Sat Nav, 4.3" LCD Touch Screen with UK Lifetime Maps from our All Sat Navs range - Tesco.com

5) Go retro - buy the AA or equivalent touring directory from the first or second service station you pass once your there. The one I bought 2 years ago cost GBP 1.99, is A3 size closed and A2 when open. Helps give you perspective that a GPS does not. Just like in Australia - they are not building that many new roads so it will last a while but at GBP1.99 does it matter?

6) Premier Inns (except in Airports) normally ALWAYS have free parking. Are like the McDonalds of accommodation and are now the #1 chain used for UK businesses. Even better the room has up to 4 beds and are perennially on special for GBP29 a night (advance non-refundable purchase). Even the Premier Inn in Gatwick Airport on New Year's Eve 2014 (yes I've booked) cost me GBP35 a night. Car hire drop-off is 18m from the door BTW.

7) Just like in Australia, Tesco and other stores have coupons on the shopping dockets for discounts on the fuel per litre - be warned the cost of food in the UK is now less than Australia and you can gain serious weight if you visit any major supermarket early in the morning when all the fresh pastries are being cooked and shelved (5 chocolate croissants for 99p, 4 apples turnovers for GBP1.25, 454gm pork pies for 99p, 6 mini pork pies for 1.25). Real food is cheap too so I am told.

8) Assume that things always go wrong on the final drive to drop off the hire car especially if it coincides with UK rush hours. Aim to be there ridiculously early so you will get bored at the terminal. Two years ago, it was raining, foggy and took 50 minutes to move less than 2km as an accident had happened, cars were over-heating or otherwise breaking down, the emergency vehicles (mainly tow-trucks) could not get through as breaking-down cars were in every lane. Following the leave time rule we sat there knowing we had another 45 minutes before we needed to get concerned (then would be 2.5hrs before departure). We were 5 km from the airport. So plan to not have any stress before your flight home. Yes the on-the-ball will have noted the booking of Gatwick Terminal Premier Inn for this year's trip and curiously enough we did that last year as well. It can save a day's car hire as well if you're lucky!

9) Get a copy of your CC Travel insurance terms and conditions TODAY, take it with you, make sure you know the number to call if you need to. There must be no worse a feeling to discover you are not eligible for coverage because you paid cash not CC for your car hire (for example). Ring while still in Australia to ensure your understanding of the terms is correct. Ask for the person you speak to for their full name and employee ID#, write down the date and time and ideally ask for them to mail something out to you or make a note on your CC contact file about your enquiry. Take a copy of the T&Cs with you.

If you prepare for the worst then you can only get a pleasant surprise!

Oh, and enjoy your holiday...
 
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PLANT

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I have carhire3000.com doing an Avis VW GOLF Diesel(gauranteed) $614AU for 25days Healthrow to Healthrow 800pounds excess, unlimited kms, theft protect, CDW.
[h=3]Anygood?
Its about $520 for Vauxhall Astra Alamo PETROL Free second driver, as above.[/h]
Can use travel insurance for excess?
 

The Rok

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Some really good comprehensive advice in that post. Thank you.
 

ychan

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Hey RAM, great tips there! I'm picking up car from LHR, driving to Edinburgh, stopping in Lakes District couple days in late August. Regarding using a GPS, I was thinking of using the app on my mobile. Has anyone used this? If so, any problems at all? Thanks...
 

Ausbt

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Regarding using a GPS, I was thinking of using the app on my mobile. Has anyone used this? If so, any problems at all? Thanks...
This year I did UK car hire all of Jan & May. I mostly used the GPS provided, however on occasion used the Google Maps App (iPhone 5). Now, if you are cheap like I am and won't pay for a phone cradle, you can follow my lead with two decent rubber bands securing the phone to the rear view mirror (seriously!). I found the phone worked fairly well. The one critical thing you need is lane guidance. Those roundabouts - they can drive you mad.

Even when I had the proper GPS I managed to get it wrong many times, like circumnavigating Heathrow (took a while), getting lost up country lanes in North Wales and many other backtracks. Be prepared for faster road speeds in the far right hand lane - 70 mph might be the limit but 85 is the norm. I saw one BMW M3 I'd estimate come past me at 110 mph (180 kph). Was actually scary.
 

ychan

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Thanks Ausbt for such quick response! Ya, same thinking here, shall add strong rubber bands to packing list ! The faster limits are scary mate, we'll stick to slow lane, but any minimum speed limit on the highways there? BTW my phone is Android and the maps work very well in Oz, just not sure how they'll go in UK, I hate getting lost !!!
 

RAM

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Thanks Ausbt for such quick response! Ya, same thinking here, shall add strong rubber bands to packing list ! The faster limits are scary mate, we'll stick to slow lane, but any minimum speed limit on the highways there? BTW my phone is Android and the maps work very well in Oz, just not sure how they'll go in UK, I hate getting lost !!!
Combine hi-tech with traditional and get the A3 sized closed (A2 when open) spiral map book available from most service stations in the UK. Last one I got cost GBP 1.99.

Depending on how good your memory is, use it to get an idea of where you're heading and what you should be seeing (like motorway signs in the direction of...). It can be a good excuse to pull over and rest at a Servo while you update your non-electronic memory.

But remember the UK is tiny compared with Australia so nowhere is really that far away....The first time we drove we ended up with so many spare half days it was great!

Using your app you need to be careful to ensure you have set the options correctly. Also at the faster speeds does it give you the warning X seconds in advance or is it distance related for the warning.

Invariably you will make a mistake or two despite your best efforts. Just take the next exit, or side road. Park, check your GPS and the road map and chalk it up to experience. Who knows you may discover somewhere you would otherwise have missed!

IF AT ALL POSSIBLE AVOID THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT.

We couldn't and all 5 had the same view - its worse than the dodgems at the Easter Show - they come in all directions at the same time

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8ClwohD4Ug

[url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPANKRHL9HU

[/URL]
 
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TheRealTMA

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thinking here, shall add strong rubber bands to packing list !
Sorry to be pedantic but this is a little silly and dangerous at motorway speeds, not to mention illegal. You can buy a small car windscreen attachment for your phone from Australia Post and elsewhere (Ebay) for around $7. Attaches securely and holds any phone securely. We have a few of them these days. Also there are several good phone Navigation apps - Android have Navigon build in as I remember? Sygic is quite good, as is Tom Tom but more expensive.

Also in the UK, they are not brain dead and browbeaten like we are in Australia so don't drive in the outside lane at the speed limit. :) You'll get someone very close behind you in a bad mood in no short time. Stick to the middle if you are not passing.
 

tgh

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I have just been driving in the UK and Ireland.
Europcar Gatwick were fuss free and efficient.
Intermediate auto (great deal on au site but booked well in advance) was a new Skoda Superb Diesel Wagon.
Took my Gps with the latest Garmin All of Europe software (found a good deal on ebay)
This software was nothing like as comprehensive as au maps.. route selection was often plain silly.
I prognosticate that the UK alone software may have more information …..caveat emptor.
IMHO .. when the pressure is on . you don't have time to be looking at moving pictures.. voice guidance is essential.
 

Ansett

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Bought a GPS in the UK as I go back and forth all the time and find them really good but, agree it is good to have a physical map as back up for when things go wrong and also to have an idea as to where you are going.

Have family in Swindon and make use of the magic round about all the time. Was hell the first and gets easier and better after each time you get through it. :D

When driving on Motorways it is best to keep up with traffic if you don't want to then look at travelling an A roads. Speeding on the motorway is basically ignored as log as one is not exceeding 90 to 100 MPH and you are travelling with traffic at similar speeds.

Lane control and use is well disciplined and hogging the fast lane is not a good thing. The practice of undertaking, as we do in Australia, is definitely frowned upon and should NOT be done, undertaking can lead to being booked for dangerous driving and or driving with out due care and attention.

Most drivers are polite and allow merging with ease, unlike in Australia, it is good to acknowledge and thank with a simple hand gesture.
 
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