WHY YOU SHOULD BOOK RENTAL CARS TO TRAVEL IRELAND?
1. To not miss a beat and see all you can see. Some of my favorite places in Ireland have been found purely by accident like Cahir Castle or a holy well I found recently in Connemara.
2. Its fun to customize your trip and you can only do that if you are the one driving.
3. Make your own schedule, with extra time for those hidden treasures not on your map.
4. You can stop anytime you want.
SO HOW DO YOU BOOK THE PERFECT CAR?
Rental Cars are Expensive but they don’t have to be.
The most expensive part of rental cars, in Ireland especially, is the insurance they will require you to purchase. A $400 rental for 14 days can be increased to $1200 once you tack on the required insurance!!
DON’T WORRY!! There is a way to avoid that increase in price.
Check with your credit card companies to see which ones offer free rental car insurance and make sure you tell them you are traveling to the Republic of Ireland. (this last part is very important)
Include any stopovers such as taking the fairy to Scotland, which is in the UK. When you find the credit card that will cover your rental cars in Ireland make sure they send you a written statement before you leave for your trip. When you get to the rental agent, produce your statement saying which credit card is covering your insurance. This document is priceless!
City Hilton Visa Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred are 2 credit card companies that cover rental cars insurance in the Republic of Ireland.
What Kind of Rental Cars?
Decide if you want an automatic or standard transmission.
If you opt for automatic you must book this way ahead as most people drive automatic transmissions in Europe, especially in Ireland. Be aware, automatic transmission are more expensive as well. As always do your homework.
As a spoiled American, many of us don’t like to use our feet when we drive and we’re willing to give up some cash to do it. Also some tourists don’t know how to drive a standard. My husband can drive both but he was more comfortable with an automatic since that is what he drove at home plus he can concentrate more on the Irish roads which are winding, narrow, and treacherous at times as well as foreign.
You can book it any time but the sooner the better. Take into consideration the time of your travel. Is it tourist or holiday season? I book my cars about 3 months in advance.
Use a credit card that will allow for that free insurance too. Another tip: If you have any specifications you would like known such as wanting a larger engine in the car, car seats, etc. email the owner of the rental company.
If you tell the rental company you do or do not want a specific car make them place that in writing or keep a copy of the email. For instance, I would have liked a higher powered car for my last trip as I was a bit leery about going straight up the roads to Slieve League Cliffs with what I felt was an under powered car.
SCOPE OUT SEVERAL RENTAL COMPANIES
There are several companies in Ireland that rent cars. Some are well-known like Hertz and Budget .and others are private. You can also search through airlines and start an alert for lower rates.
Remember Europe does not use miles but kilometers in their odometers. Usually there is both on the car. Also remember to drive on the left if you are used to driving on the right. It can be very expensive as well as dangerous if you don’t.
Its also a good idea to photograph the car before you drop off at end of your trip so that you have a record of no damage although a few scratches are to be expected. We were given a paper with the exact length of scratch allowed before the rental company considered it actual damage to the car.
Any other tips with rental cars I would greatly appreciate in the comments and as always feel free to subscribe at the right. Posts come every 1-2 weeks or join my newsletter which updates on new books, giveaways, contests, and news usually about once a month.
You can also write me privately. I am working on a more comprehensive travel book and welcome your travel tips or experience on traveling Ireland..
Look to the categories on the right for specific posts on Irish history or travel only.