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Best Car Rental Companies in UK

I have to book a rental car (quickly...it's for next week!) to get from York to Whitby and back and I'm not sure who to go with. I've heard/read so many horror stories about the various car rental companies out there that I'm having trouble narrowing it down. They're all comparable on price, but which companies are considered to be the most reliable ones to go with in England?

Posted by
8700 posts

I suggest you use Auto Europe, a consolidator that finds you the best rate from among the companies with which it has contracts. Book at www.autoeurope.com.

Posted by
2785 posts

I agree with Tim, Auto Europe would be the one I would recommend to you.

Posted by
32264 posts

Tara, you might also speak with a Travel Agent, as they have extensive listings for the car rental companies. That's the method I always use to book rentals in the U.K. They'll also have better information on the various rental insurance packages, and which rental agencies are most reliable. ¶ Have you driven on the "correct side of the road" before? The full CDW package might be a good idea, as many of the roads in that area are narrow and winding. A good Map and perhaps a GPS unit would be advisable. The Maps provided by most rental firms are usually somewhat "basic", so if you have time you might stop by a Bookstore to see if you can find something like a Michelin Map. ¶ If you haven't dealt with Travel Agents in your area previously, you might stop by Maritime Travel in the Bay Centre at 1150 Douglas. Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by
11 posts

Well, I called the travel agents and went with their recommended car rental company only to find when I got the email confirmation that I need and International Drivers Permit. None of the other rental agencies I looked into mentioned this on their websites[INVALID]is this up to the discretion of the individual company or will they all have this in their fine print?! If they do, I'm really in trouble 'cause I leave in 2 days so there's no time to get an IDP now! And now I'm back to the drawing board with my stupid car rental again just when I thought I had everything booked!!

Posted by
4555 posts

Blast them a quick e-mail and ask why. Canadian drivers' licenses are good in the UK....there's no legal requirement that you have an IDP. It might be a form message that they send out to everyone...sounds strange, though.

Posted by
11 posts

No, I actually talked to an agent afterwards and she said that all non-EU renters are required by their company to produce and IDP. From what I understand, the main purpose of an IDP is to translate foreign drivers licenses into english so why would anybody from North America require on in the UK??!! I think I'll try the travel agent again in the morning[INVALID]I'm leary of using autoeurope.com because I know people who've had bad experiences with them...lots of hidden charges, not getting the cars they booked, etc. I'm almost ready to give up and just use the bus (expect it would take us about 4 connections to get to all the places we want to go between York and Whitby!).

Posted by
2785 posts

Hertz Rental has a location in York, call their 800# here and see about their rates. You could also take the train to Whitby.

Posted by
11 posts

Hertz seemed to be my best bet when I was looking a couple of weeks ago[INVALID]they were around £75 for the 2 days I was looking at, if I remember correctly. Today they're up to £185! Now that includes the collision damage waiver, but I don't see anywhere to opt out of it on their website if you want to. Right now I'm looking at either Thrifty or Europcar (as they're both under £100 for 2 days) or Budget (who also includes the CDW in their charge, but are at least £70 less than Hertz). I'll decide tonight after I've had a glass of wine (or two!). ;)

Posted by
32264 posts

Tara, it sounds like the "agent" you spoke with is perhaps not fully conversant with the intent of an IDP. For driving in the U.K., no translation of the terms of your home D.L. is necessary, therefore it's ridiculous for someone to request that. Perhaps this is a "blanket policy" imposed by the car rental firm? ¶ In any case, it should be no problem to obtain an IDP. Visit your local BCAA office in the morning, and you should have one in about half an hour. Passport photos are required, but most BCAA offices can take care of those on the spot. Be sure to bring your D.L. (good time to check the expiry date also). ¶ There are three offices in the Victoria area - downtown on Quadra Street, Broadmead location on Royal Oak Drive, and the Millstream location on Millstream Road. You might phone the nearest one first to make sure they have the kit to issue IDP's. With an IDP in hand, you shouldn't have any problems with the rental agency recommended by the Travel Agent. Let us know if this works for you. Cheers!

Posted by
1446 posts

That does sound ridiculous - we were told we did not need an IDP in England. We got one when we went to France and it took about 15 minutes to get it at the local AAA office. Also, we have had bad experiences with Auto Europe and have gone with Hertz on our last couple of trips, and it's worked quite well. We've been pleased with them.

Posted by
2785 posts

Tara, I have used Europcar and Budget while in the UK, was pleased with both..Budget upgraded us to a Mercedes Benz at no extra charge.