So, you’ve booked your airfare to Ireland, you have a fair idea of what you want to see and do when you get there, and your accommodation is also reserved. But you still need to line up a rental car. Here are 8 tips for getting a rental car in Ireland you can afford.
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Use Several Search Engines to Get the Best Price
Unless you have a favorite car rental company that you like to use every time you travel abroad, it is wise to at least look at other car rental prices before booking so that you get the best price. This is particularly important these days as gas and oil prices continue to rise in Europe.
2. Choose a Smaller Rental Car
A compact car is a perfect choice for couples traveling in Ireland.
Four-door sedans like the Toyota Yaris, Opel Astra, VW Golf, or Mazda 3 will give you adequate space for luggage, are easy to park and maneuver, and are a good choice for someone who is a little worried about navigating Ireland's secondary roads, many of which can be narrow.
When choosing your rental car, keep in mind that vehicles are smaller in Ireland than they are in, say, the U.S.
3. Double-Check Your Credit Card Statement
After booking your car rental, be sure to check your credit card statement so that you are not being overcharged.
If so, contact the company immediately and dispute the charges.
4. Avoid Paying the Collision Damage Waiver Fee if Possible
To limit your financial risk, all car rental companies in Ireland require that you are covered under what is known as a collision damage waiver (CDW).
The waiver is additional insurance coverage that covers loss as a result of theft or damage to a rental car.
This coverage can be expensive, as much as an additional $15-$30 a day.
Before you arrive in Ireland, be sure to get a letter from the credit card company saying that the CDW coverage will be included with the card. Be sure to present that to the agent when you arrive at the car rental desk.
When you decline the CDW coverage that the car rental company is offering you, that company will put a hold on your credit card that could amount to at least $5,000.
It’s best to have another credit card with you to cover other purchases while you’re in Ireland.
If you get into an accident, the rental car company will charge your credit card for the value of the damage. It is then up to you to seek reimbursement of those charges through the credit card company when you return from vacation.
5. Don’t Prepay for Fuel
While it might seem tempting to agree to prepay for a full tank of gas/petrol that a car rental company may offer you, most experts agree that it’s not worth it unless you are in an area where it is impossible to fill up your tank before returning it.
In Ireland, most gas stations are either open very early or, in the case of those close to cities like Dublin, they are open 24 hours a day, so filling up the tank before you drop off the car shouldn’t be a problem.
Plus, the prepaid price that you’ll pay will more than likely be at a higher rate than what you’ll get at the pump. And with gas/petrol prices rising across Europe, you’ll want to avail of the more economical option.
Of course, if you’re worried that you’ll be short on time arriving at the airport or you just don’t want the hassle of filling up the tank, then, avail of the offer. But know that it will cost you more.
6. Decline the GPS Add-On
While this may seem convenient, especially if you’re planning to travel around Ireland a lot, I recommend that you use a mapping app that can be accessed offline.
If you are familiar with Google Maps, simply download whatever maps and directions you will need before you leave home.
If you feel more comfortable using WIFI to access GPS on your iPhone or Android device, I recommend that you find ways to get it affordably.
You can find more information on that in this useful blog post on saving money in Ireland.
Be sure to skip to the “Other Expenses” section of the post where you will find various options on how to access WIFI in Ireland.
7. Do a Thorough Inspection of the Car
While the car rental company will do its own inspection before you drive away, it is wise to do your own one by taking photos with your cell phone.
Look for scratches or nicks that are already on the vehicle, both inside and out. Double-check that the gas tank is full and make sure that the mileage written down on the inspection sheet is accurate (important if there are mileage restrictions on your car rental contract.
8. Read the Fine Print
Lastly, before you take off into the beautiful Irish countryside with your rental vehicle, read the fine print on your car rental contract. Be sure to check that your booking clearly states, “all taxes and fees included.”
Are you planning to rent a car in Ireland? Or perhaps, you’ve rented a car there before. Either way, let me know your experiences or any other tips and tricks in the comments section below.