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Rental car July Edinburgh-Oban-Inverness

Hey all,
Wife and I will be in Scotland in mid July, and I would like to rent a car in Edinburgh and head out to Oban and to Inverness and back to Edinburgh. I seldom rent cars here in the states, and am nervous about renting one in Scotland. I like driving, might even try a wrong-handed manual transmission. Would appreciate advice as to rental companies, and especially about insurance requirements and such. Is Kayak sufficient for finding a car? Any pitfalls to avoid?

Posted by
5677 posts

I've gotten cars through Auto Europe and I've just gone to Herz or National.

I drive standard all the time in the UK, but that 's because I drive it routinely in the US. If you are not a pro at manual transition, then I'm not sure that Scotland is the best place to start. :) I do love driving in Scotland. Outside of the Central Belt there really isn't that much traffic. (Yes, yes, I know that people complain about Inverness or the A9, but really people, have you driven in NYC, Chicago, LA or Paris? Scottish Cities outside of Glasgow really can't compare! Even Edinburgh is really not that bad. If you have two people that really makes all the difference. The directions and signage is different and having a navigator helps.

Personally, I find that when I drive in the UK it is highly likely that i will brush up against trees or shrubs as I struggle to stay left. Also, I tend to bump the curb and so the tires suffer. My experience is that UK car rental companies check the cars much more carefully an you can find yourself with some damage that you need to pay for. So, I opt to get the no deductible.


Posted by
459 posts

for a pitfall I allowed the rental company at Edinburgh airport to put me in a larger car than I had asked for because they could not find an automatic I had requested. for me a smaller car would have been better, as I went to the highlands and out to Syke. So I was placed in a Sixt company car and they do not include a spare tire in the vehicle. The guy at the rental desk in Edinburgh went to the desks of a few companies before giving me the keys for the car from Sixt. I believe my true rental company was National and they were efficient except for the car change. I blame jetlag for my not hanging tuff on the car I had agreed to rent. I didnt get a flat but the worry of no spare out in the wild country was stressful and the intermediate size car was far more than we needed with just two of us. stick with the smallest car you can squeeze into and check to be sure there is a spare. and i agree with Pam on her post!

Posted by
5677 posts

And I would agree to get the smallest car you can deal. They are wee roads. :)

Posted by
37 posts

Check out Sheps post Car Rental Insurance Needs in Scotland to get information on insurance. Do a lot of research - it varies if you rely on your credit card or purchase from the rental agencey.

Go with an automatic - it costs more but it's much easier. And, spend a few days driving in remote areas before hitting the towns so you can become comfortable with the narrow roads and being on the other side of the road. I have done the drive from EDI to Oban many times and it's a good place to start. Just be aware that roads don't have shoulders and they are a few feet more narrow than in the US. It took me two trips to Scotland before I felt somewhat confident driving. Some rental cars come with an arrow on the windsheild to remind you which side the line painted on the highway should be. My first car had this but the second time I drove it didn't so I used a little sticky note until I was comfortable. Its never during the quiet part of a drive that you need it but when you need to make a quick decision because then instinct wants to take over.

Finally, be not only safe but respectful to the drivers in Scotland by spending time learning what road signs mean as well as markings in the roads. It's not a simple as you would think. Also, learn the proper way to use a roundabout with two lanes.....imagine the face of a clock and you are driving in at 6:00 - if you are turning before and including 12:00 then you should be in the outside (left) lane. If you are turning after that, you should be on the inside lane until you pass the 12:00 turn off, then moving to the left. You risk an accident if you don't. Google it on youtube and there are plenty of tutorials but this one is one of the best: