Car rental UK

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Old Feb 16, 19, 9:17 am
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Car rental UK

We're getting to LHR in morning (October), renting a car and heading to Kirriemuir in Scotland. Should I rent in US? Pick up car away from Heathrow, or there? Re/ return, will I be able to drop car in London near hotel, probably in Kensington, Also looking for one-night place to stay between London and Kirriemuir (it's an hour north of Edinburgh.)
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Old Feb 16, 19, 10:03 am
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Are you really sure you want to drive that far? Itís a 8+ hour drive and not as easy as cruising on an interstate. Flying to EDI, renting there and the taking the train back to London would be my preferred option.
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Old Feb 16, 19, 12:11 pm
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I agree with Swanhunter's take on this, especially since driving immediately after an overnight TATL is no bargain even in the best of circumstances, and London traffic most days is about the worst of circumstances. If you decide to drive, Carlisle probably makes a lot of sense. It's a little over halfway to your destination, would allow your travelers to sleep in a little late the next morning as their bodies adjust to jet lag, and leaves the very beautiful Lowlands for your drive the next day.
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Old Feb 16, 19, 12:54 pm
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Thanks. We're not driving straight thru. We're interested in car rental advice.
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Old Feb 16, 19, 1:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Lukaboy View Post
Thanks. We're not driving straight thru. We're interested in car rental advice.
If you're flying from North America, my advice is to give yourself at least one day to recover from jetlag before you pick up your car. Driving when severely fatigued could kill you and others.

I'd reserve the car from the States. Remember that most European rental cars have manual transmissions; if you aren't comfortable driving one, be sure to specify an automatic.
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Old Feb 16, 19, 2:11 pm
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Every time I've rented in the UK I've rented at Heathrow, returned to Heathrow, specified a manual (much cheaper) and paid for the first tank of gas so I don't have to prowl the neighbourhood looking for a petrol station. I've not returned inside London as I would prefer not to drive in the city. It's an easy ride from Kensington to LHR either on the Tube or Heathrow Express.

I've used Enterprise near Terminal 5 and booked the vehicle from North America. I've gotten excellent service from them.
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Old Feb 16, 19, 3:02 pm
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Great!
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Old Feb 16, 19, 11:33 pm
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I don't understand why you wouldn't fly to EDI and rent a car from there.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 12:35 am
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When I rent a car in the States, I pay for exactly what I want before I leave, you can then just turn down all the upselling that goes on at the rental desk. Even though its not the cheapest option, I would pay for the full tank of fuel, it avoids any worries on returning especially if you get held up in traffic.

I would not attempt to travel too far on the first day, I don't know how experienced you are dealing with jet lag, but driving long distances on the first day is not a good idea. Share the driving if you can.

When driving in an unfamiliar place, I find an SUV to be a good vehicle for its better visibility for both myself and the passengers.

Do not buy petrol on the motorways, its hideously expensive. Petrol in the United Kingdom is double the price of the USA.

If you drive into central London on your return you may be subject to the London Congestion Charge.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 1:12 am
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Fly to Edinburgh - or even Aberdeen as Kirriemuir is up in Angus!
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Old Feb 17, 19, 3:39 am
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Autoslash and AirBNB are worth looking at. Or rentalcars.com and then possibly book direct with cheapest car hire. Also you might want to take out an excess policy if you do not have one that comes with your credit card/auto insurance.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 4:09 am
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I agree with others who suggest either flying to Scotland or get the train (booking in advance can get you some very reasonable fares even in first class and a rail card could bring costs down even more)


the cost of parking in London can be considerable. And there is the congestion charge to consider as well depending where in London you drive.

if you coukd outline yiur plans in a little more detail we coukd give you more tailored advice on the best options and also save you some money.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 5:07 am
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Unless you have specific places you want to see on the way, driving from Heathrow to Angus is just utter tedium. Busy congested motorways. fly to Edinburgh and hire there.
Car rental over here has subtle differences. Cars are manual unless you specifically reserve an automatic. Damage control policies are way way stricter than north American customers are used to.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 5:20 am
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I can only agree, generally better to fly up to Scotland - or train if you are coming from London itself. But I appreciate that's not the advice OP is asking for.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 6:52 am
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Yeah, I wouldn't choose to drive it, and that's owning a car here.

As others have said, the default for hire cars is manual transmission. Automatic can command a healthy premium.

People's own insurance - for their cars or credit cards - generally doesn't cover hire (rental) cars here, so CDW with excess is mandatory. If you book in the US, it won't be, but you may be expected to demonstrate that you have insurance. Excess reduction can be very expensive - I take out annual cover for this. A punctured tyre or windscreen chip with cost you.

Even at the big airports, it's very rare to have the US style "pick a car from this aisle" - you'll be assigned a specific vehicle when you go to the counter. You may be walked round it to catalogue any existing damage.

At LHR, be aware of being sold upgrades that may cost you more than you bargained for. Also be aware that you'll get a smaller car for the same category than you would in the US.

There's little to recommend one over the other when it comes to the majors (Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Sixt, Enterprise) but beware of the restrictions on budget brands like Keddy. Avoid the bargain basement ones like Flizzr and don't touch Green Motion with a 40ft bargepole.

If you drive up the west coast route (M25, M40, M6, M74 etc), there's a number of places to stop, but a *lot* of congestion. Do adhere to lane discipline (although the M25 is bad for this).
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