Travelling round the world is an exciting adventure. You may be leaving the United States for the first time or are a frequent traveler. This could for fun or a business trip. Many people find it hard to decide where to take a vacation. You might want to escape to a sun filled beach. You may take the kids to Disney world or other family friendly locations. You may take a romantic get away to an exotic location or you just may have an avid interest in learning about a destination's culture, history and heritage. Ireland is one location where all of these wants and needs can be fulfilled.
In planning your vacation to Ireland, there are many steps involved. You need to make sure your passport is up to date. You need to decide where in Ireland you will visit. You need to research airfares, hotel accommodations, restaurants and other places you wish to visit. You also need to consider whether you will rent a car when travelling in Ireland. In order to get the most out of your vacation, it is highly recommend that you rent a car.
Why rent a car in Ireland?
Ireland is a beautiful country with many attractive locales to visit. You can choose to take guided tours and stop at all the places listed in your guidebook. However, Ireland is made up of towns, villages, and cities that have local flavor and culture. To properly experience the people and its heritage, you need to have freedom to explore. The freedom a tour bus or group van cannot give you. It does not matter if you are visiting Trinity College in Dublin, castle ruins in the countryside, or Dingle Bay, you need the ability to go where you want when you want, at your own pace. One of the best experiences in Ireland is interacting with the people, talking with them about their lives, sharing a drink with them at the local pub, eating dinner in a remote restaurant off the beaten path. You can accomplish all of this by renting a car
Factors to Consider:
The first decision concerns where you will land in Ireland. The best places to rent a car are Dublin with a company such as http://www.carhiredublin-airport.co.uk/, Shannon Airport or Belfast International. This may depend on what your itinerary is and how you plan to spend your time. If you are exploring Dublin for a few days, public transportation is widely available and can cut down on the cost of immediately renting the car. Also, you can alleviate stress by not having to drive in the city. If you are visiting the west, Shannon Airport is probably best for your needs, and an immediate pickup would be warranted. Take note when picking up the vehicle as to where you should return the car, and at what time. When selecting your car, take into consideration the size of your group and whether you will need a larger car. Cars are typically smaller in Ireland than Americans are used to. The smaller cars are cheaper, and are really all you need as long as everyone comfortably fits inside.
Another consideration is who will be driving the car while you are in Ireland. Be aware that you must drive on the opposite side of the road than in America, which can be very disconcerting n the beginning. When you enter the car, the stick shift or gear shift is on your left, your side mirror is on your right and your rearview mirror is on the left. A lot of cars in Ireland are manual transmission ,which also cost less than automatic so be prepared, and make sure you request automatic if you are uncomfortable driving with a shift.
The age of all drivers must be reported when you rent the car. Again, cost is a concern. Drivers between the age of 25 and 74 will receive lower rates. In order to rent the car, you must have a valid picture driver's license. If you plan on extra drivers, fees may be associated with each listed valid driver.
Another cost associated is the price of insurance. Everyone is required to purchase Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) for a rental car. This is similar to our liability and property damage coverage in the United States. When renting a car, if you pay with a credit card make sure you inquire of the credit card whether they provide CDW, as this will save you money.
Extra insurance can be an unneeded expense. There are many options including glass, fire, theft and personal liability. The price of CDW varies from company to company so make sure when you get a price quote, either on the phone, online, or at the airport, that you ask whether the insurance is included, and what the deductible will be in case of an accident.
There are many options when choosing a car. As discussed, size is a factor. In Ireland they call a midsize car, what we would consider to be small. In investigating the cars look into trunk size, GPS availability, air condition and cruise control. Not all of these are standard in the rental cars, and you should be aware up front about your choices. One you may consider is the European GPS as there has been road construction and changes in Ireland and maps may not be current.
There is a list of fees and costs associate with renting the car that are in addition to the CDW. Not all companies charge all the same fees, but here are a few which you should be aware of:
* Value Added Tax (VAT)—mandatory
* Possible road taxes/Toll road fees
* Airport fees/Border Fees
* Cancellation/Late returning fees
* Fuel charges
In particular for fuel, make sure you are familiar with the type of fuel for the car, be aware that fuel is expensive in Ireland, and understand the policy of returning the car with fuel in the tank.
All the airports offer many options when renting such as Avis, Budget, Dollar, Eurocar, Hertz, National and Thrifty to name a few. They are not all offered at all the airports, so inquire at your destination which company is available. You can visit each website to compare prices. A good place for comparisons is http://www.tripadvisor.com and other travel websites.
If you fancy taking your car on the seas then ferry is also a popular mode of transport in Ireland. A trip to Ireland will be exciting and fulfilling. In order to get the most out of your vacation, plan on renting a car to enjoy the entire country.