My son and I went to Slovakia last year and had a guide/driver. I want to go back in another year or two (it was so wonderful!), hopefully with my son (26) but perhaps alone (65-yr-old female). It would probably be in late June/early July, and we would be concentrating on the Prešov region: Poprad, visits to relatives near to Poprad, raft trip on the Dunajec, some time in the High Tatras, some time in Slovak Paradise, and a few days with genealogical archives (probably Levoča and/or Prešov, not sure yet). We would hire help for the genealogy, and could hire a guide again for the rest, but I think we could do it on our own. Now finally to my question: would it be difficult for us to rent a car and drive ourselves in this area? There are plenty of trains and buses, but with an itinerary that features a lot of small towns and parks, it seems like we would spend a lot of time in transit if we stick to public transportation. I don't particularly enjoy driving, and am intimidated by driving in a foreign country, but my son would probably be okay with it. I know a few words of Slovak only.
I assume you didn't see anything on the last trip that specifically scared you. Rural driving is pretty easy, with the usual trade-offs of sometimes getting stuck behind tractors or being tail-gated on a winding mountain road where you're the one choosing a slower pace. I've driven happily enough in much of western Europe, but have only done public transport in Slovakia, due to a tighter budget on that visit (in 1996).
Driving in Slovakia is easier than in western Europe. Less traffic. A lot of scenery. You don't need to hire a driver. But if the money is not a decisive factor and you want to enjoy scenery safely and you don't want to get lost now and then, hire a driver who can speak English and can be also your guide.