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Tips on renting/driving abroad

  • 05-05-2017 6:12pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 5,344 ✭✭✭ Wheety


    I'll be renting a car in Canada in June. Never done it before so looking for any tips/advice.

    Was looking at Enterprise and it's much cheaper to rent in the city than at the airport but would need to get from airport to city, where we're staying and back again so it might be worth paying the extra at the airport for convenience. It's around €180 cheaper. Will have the car for 13 days.

    I'm not driving too long so I'm a bit nervous about driving on the other side of the road. Is it something you get used to very quickly?

    I've had my full licence 3 years. Will be doing a lot of driving in remote locations so I wanted to rent something big and comfortable, an 'Intermediate SUV'. The wife thinks I should just get a normal car. Would it be too hard to get used to a bigger car and driving on the other side of the road?

    Also, what's the situation with insurance? Do I have to sort that myself or is covered under the rental?
    Tagged:


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,041 ✭✭✭✭ CiniO


    LIGHTNING wrote: »
    If your not a complete idiot its not a problem.

    It's not really about being idiot or not, but about ability to anticipate your surrounding, and to operate machines in bit different manner than learnt.

    I know very intelligent people with pHD degrees, who still struggle to drive in their homeland, not to even mention driving in rental car on the other side of the road, abroad.

    I also know people who hardly know how to write and read, but are natural born drivers, and can drive perfectly in absolutely every possible circumstances.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,012 ✭✭✭ ironclaw


    If its your first time on the other side of the road, I'd take every last bit of insurance cover you can take. However confident you are, you'll come out one morning and take a wrong turn or cross a lane and hit someone. Not saying you will, but rental car companies will take you to the cleaners if you bring it back with as much as scratch. Failing that, take out your own excess cover and get the minimum cover from the insurance company, again being sure you are covered. In terms of cost, you own excess cover is cheaper but you'll need to pay the rental company first and be reimbursed by your insurers after, so factor that 'time value' of money into account.

    As regards Canada, where are you heading? East or West coast? Canada is very well paved on the highways but in the rural parts, the roads can be rough like here. They can taper to non-existant, 4x4 mandatory if you really keep going. A normal car is more than adequate unless you are going off route or further into the wilds to go camping. Now, check your car rental insurance as most don't cover you 'off road' and the definition varies. Some will allow you on major routes, some have specific areas and roads you can't go to.

    Other advice is distance. Canada is huge. Sounds simple but 4 hours driving out of Toronto only gets you halfway to Montreal. Look at a map and realise how short that looks to the country overall. Factor your times into your driving schedule and don't drive tired. Take frequent breaks as it can get really, really boring on those super highways.

    Lastly, check the rules of the road for a few mins before you go. Understand priority and weird stuff like 'Free right' e.g. You can turn right on a red on most junctions, provided the way is clear. Likewise, turning right in this instance, pedestrians usually have the green as well, meaning you can swing round a corner and suddenly have someone standing in front of you. Be careful in built up areas. Obey stop signs, it actually means come to stop not yield. Lastly, Canada has reasonably strict speed limits of the highway and they are low, check before you put the foot down :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 72,156 ✭✭✭✭ Atlantic Dawn


    I presume it will be an automatic you will be getting, would recommend you choose one as driving with the manual shift the other side will be a headwreck for a while and another thing to get used to.

    Sat nav is very handy but the pricing can be as high as $10-$15 a day, there's other options like using your phone with saved maps.

    Get full insurance for the trip, either from the provider or Google some of the Irish providers that offer this cover.

    Have a look at the rules of the road for Canada, it may be like the US where you can turn right on red at certain signed lights if there's no pedestrians crossing.

    When you receive the car have a full walk around and take note to the person giving you the car of any damage to it like scuffed alloys, scrapes, cracks in windscreen etc, otherwise you might be charged for someone elses damage.

    It's normally cheapest to have the car fully fueled on return rather than have them add on this expense, check the rental agreement.

    Normally you will get 2 keys, have them seperated and perhaps give one to another member of your party to hold on to.

    If you have not already booked a hotel it's worth checking what hotels your travelling to if they offer free parking, if not the bills can add up and you could be talking $100 plus for a week.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 16,510 CMod ✭✭✭✭ faceman


    If you're a competent confident driver it may not be as daunting as you think. I drive regularly in the US and in Spain and it's become like second nature. There won't be roundabouts to navigate in Canada so that's a bonus.

    Do familiarise yourself with local rules of the road though. Have fun!


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,686 ✭✭✭✭ punisher5112


    Get your own excess hire insurance don't buy from rental company.

    Video car and picture any marks as they like to say you done damage.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,344 ✭✭✭ Wheety


    Thanks for the comments so far. Just a bit more info as was requested above. It's Newfoundland we'll be heading to so I do know there will be a lot of driving. We have accomodation mostly booked now and all have free parking so far. The longest we'll be driving in one day will probably be only 5 hours. We want to enjoy oursleves and not be too tired.

    Enterprise have unlimited mileage and my wife can drive too. Their terms seem to suggest it won't be an extra cost for a spouse to drive.

    Most of the driving will be on highways but St. John's is a city and will probably be the toughest for driving with the multi lanes and much busier than the open roads.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,991 sword1


    I booked car hire through argus. ie lately and got a far better deal than going directly to the rental firm


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,886 ✭✭✭✭ Del2005


    If you've never driven an auto stick your left leg up beside the seat to avoid left foot braking when going for the clutch.

    Be aware when passing vehicles on the highway , our natural tendency is to hang to the left and your passengers will be terrified thinking you might hit the vehicle. I was told that I did it but thought I had loads of space, was a passenger with a co worker and they also did it.

    Not sure about Canada as I didn't drive much there but in the US when the lights go green the pedestrian lights go green in the same direction, pedestrians have priority and both myself and the mother with the pram got a fright.

    Be very careful when starting off with no traffic around, at some stage you'll drive on the left.

    Again from US experience in cities most streets are one way but a few are 2 ways, not nice to turn a corner and be head on to a load of vehicles.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    every time i rent a car i abroad I always do 5/6 lap of the airport carpark first.
    only take a few hours before you stop thinking about it (for me anyways)
    although once I drove a few thousand K in spain over two weeks.on the way back to the airport I ALMOST went the wrong way around a mini roundabout ,
    always up up local laws too.
    I think you can turn right on a red light in Canada


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,041 ✭✭✭✭ CiniO


    Del2005 wrote: »

    Not sure about Canada as I didn't drive much there but in the US when the lights go green the pedestrian lights go green in the same direction, pedestrians have priority and both myself and the mother with the pram got a fright.

    I thought it works like that nearly everywhere except Ireland.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 17,886 ✭✭✭✭ Del2005


    CiniO wrote: »
    I thought it works like that nearly everywhere except Ireland.

    Never noticed in any other country I drove in. But I wasn't in cities or big towns.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,012 ✭✭✭ ironclaw


    I think you can turn right on a red light in Canada

    Canada is broadly similar to the US and yes, you can turn right on red in most instances. Just look all around the junction before you do as some as sign written as no turn on red:

    5cc572622e7d74d4a1d03ce3107b2679_stock-photo-traffic-light-clipart-no-turn-on-red-sign_450-353.jpeg

    Canada does have roundabouts as well, mainly Ontario from what I've seen. But they are pretty much lanes that go in a circle which you choose well in advance, completely unlike ours.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,344 ✭✭✭ Wheety


    Booked with Avis in the airport. They were actually a good price but reading online, I'll probably be hit with tonnes of other charges when I get there. Seems like a big cartel with all the companies. Was cheaper to pickup with Enterprise in the city but would have to get to and from the airport. Maybe it's something I should have gone for but I was just thinking of how handy it will be.

    Now, what insurance do I need. The collision damage waiver was included in the price, I couldn't untick it. Do I still need to get another insurance?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,863 Fred Swanson


    This post has been deleted.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,886 ✭✭✭✭ Del2005


    Wheety wrote: »

    Now, what insurance do I need. The collision damage waiver was included in the price, I couldn't untick it. Do I still need to get another insurance?

    Excess insurance. Plenty of companies offer it. From the rental company is the most expensive but least hassle, you can just walk away from the car, from a 3rd party it's cheaper but you'll have to pay the full excess to the rental company and reclaim it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 406 ✭✭ cc


    I know it's not renting, but when I bring my car abroad I always bring my spare key, if worst came to the worst it would be no good to me tucked up at home


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,641 ✭✭✭ 9935452


    Oddly enough the one piece of advice i give to people who are driving abroad is to follow the car in front .
    Mostly at junctions that is though.
    Haaving your own GPS is a bonus too , you are used to it so can program in stuff easily and it works out way way cheaper when the hire is for a week. i bought a tomtom for 100 5 years ago with worldwide maps . its been on a couple months worth of holidays already with me.
    In the states there is a good chance your credit card wont work at an petrol pump, just run in and prepay at the counter


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,336 ✭✭✭ jimbis


    Bit of a hi jack of this thread (but taking all the previous comments on board).
    Anyone rented a car in LA?
    Heading there next week and we have a car booked for one day/night. Never driven on the other side before. Any must know things I eh... Must know lol.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,175 ✭✭✭ Fozzie Bear


    jimbis wrote: »
    Bit of a hi jack of this thread (but taking all the previous comments on board).
    Anyone rented a car in LA?
    Heading there next week and we have a car booked for one day/night. Never driven on the other side before. Any must know things I eh... Must know lol.

    On topic; I rented a SUV from Hertz for 15 days. I booked it last September and my holiday was in April. Fun fact here is after checking countless websites and comparision sites I found a "good" price on Hertz.ie. However for whatever reason I deceided I would check the Hertz.co.uk website. Entered all the same details and checked the cost. Saved myself E145.00 on my rental cost (including exchange rates etc). Had to pay in GBP but still saved just by typing in .co.uk after Hertz!

    Poster Reply; Spent two weeks in LA in April and loved driving there! It is mindboggling just how big and spread out LA is. You can drive 50/60km and still be in the middle of LA and buildings everywhere. It is collosal!

    8 Lane motorways with tens of thousands of cars all moving at decent speeds. If you have a passenger with you then always use the carpool lane. They are just brilliant and all but guarantee you will be moving faster than the other lanes - most of the time.

    If you can avoid rush hour times then do so, things can get a little crazy and tailbacks and jams occur at on and off ramps especially. Although usually the carpool lane escapes the worst of this.

    You can turn right on a red light as long as the junction is clear and nobody os turning from the opposite side. Only exception to this is where you see signs stating no turn on right. Found Californian roads to be incredibly well sign posted and drivers are by and large very good over there. They respect things like clearways and the carpool lane rules are obeyed really well too.

    Make sure you have a satnav and you will be fine.


  • Registered Users Posts: 751 ✭✭✭ freddieot


    I have probably done about 20,000 on road trips in both US and Canada over the years. The most important thing is to have your own Sat Nav.

    Buy one on Amazon, program in all the addresses before you get there :-
    Car Rental Depots at Airport
    Home addresses of friends
    Places \ sights you want to visit
    Major restaurants in the towns you will be in..
    Hotels
    etc.

    Then all you have to do when you get there is turn it on and press the button. This means you can concentrate totally on the driving. It also helped me avoid a divorce as my navigator was getting fed up working under pressure at junctions.

    These are very big countries, if you are driving a long distance then you will regret not getting a larger car or better still an SUV (e.g. Ford Explorer, Sorento size). An SUV also gives you better visibility at junctions which helps when you are trying to figure out where the road goes (there will be occasions when you are the only car at the lights). In an SUV, if you make a mistake, people will notice you more easily and there is more incentive to avoid you.

    Sticking to the other side of the road is generally no problem on the long roads in Canada. Watch it coming out of Gas Stations or when driving in housing or industrial estates etc. as it is easy to forget in those situations. I usually find the first 5 minutes coming out of the rental place to be the worst. Remember that the driver should always be next to the middle of the road in two way situations.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,592 ✭✭✭ RedorDead


    freddieot wrote: »
    I have probably done about 20,000 on road trips in both US and Canada over the years. The most important thing is to have your own Sat Nav.

    Buy one on Amazon, program in all the addresses before you get there :-
    Car Rental Depots at Airport
    Home addresses of friends
    Places \ sights you want to visit
    Major restaurants in the towns you will be in..
    Hotels
    etc.

    Then all you have to do when you get there is turn it on and press the button. This means you can concentrate totally on the driving. It also helped me avoid a divorce as my navigator was getting fed up working under pressure at junctions.

    These are very big countries, if you are driving a long distance then you will regret not getting a larger car or better still an SUV (e.g. Ford Explorer, Sorento size). An SUV also gives you better visibility at junctions which helps when you are trying to figure out where the road goes (there will be occasions when you are the only car at the lights). In an SUV, if you make a mistake, people will notice you more easily and there is more incentive to avoid you.

    Sticking to the other side of the road is generally no problem on the long roads in Canada. Watch it coming out of Gas Stations or when driving in housing or industrial estates etc. as it is easy to forget in those situations. I usually find the first 5 minutes coming out of the rental place to be the worst. Remember that the driver should always be next to the middle of the road in two way situations.

    There are plenty of apps you can use where you download the maps before you travel and then just use on your phone using gps signal and no data. Much better than paying for either sat nav with the company or data on roaming.

    Mapfactor or CoPilot GPS work great!


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,012 ✭✭✭ ironclaw


    NavFree is great for offline maps.

    Otherwise grab a local sim card on eBay. You can pick them up for chips (AT&T is a great network) and you have the advantage of Waze and Google Traffic monitoring. US and Canadian cities can be quite different when it comes to traffic, think 2 hours to go a few km in rush hour so having an App to skirt you around to make the most of your holiday is always a bonus.


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