Imagine gazing at the picturesque Leeds Castle, traversing the sunny shores of Mersea Island or driving to the New Forest, unravelling the dappled lanes and the heaths! If you have got wheels, time and wanderlust, a road trip to London can be the most enchanting experience of your life.
Exotic car rental gives you a lot of convenience and freedom when visiting London. Travel at your own pace, spend time savouring local cuisines and even discover places that are otherwise hard to reach via public transportation. Most interestingly, you get the splendid opportunity to drive a luxurious car, discovering the beauty and gloriousness of London without haste.
However, renting a car for your London road trip might sound simple than it is. Here are 9 must-know pointers to ensure you travel without a headache.
1. Know the Hidden Costs
Driving around in London in a lavish car is a one-of-a-kind experience. However, there is more to it than just an amazing experience; thanks to all the hidden costs you will come across when the car rental company hands over the keys. In such scenarios, it might feel expensive to rent luxury cars in London.
Make sure you know all the costs involved in hiring a car. These may include car rental insurance, airport pickup surcharge, gas fuelling cost and extra charges for add-on facilities like GPS, car seat, toll, etc. Unfortunately, you will come across most of these costs when you are at the reception desk, ready to have the keys.
Do not let these costs come as last-minute surprises! Do your homework and research the potential costs involved in luxury car rental in London. Ask upfront and try to avoid some of these costs to save more money.
2. Busy Cities Can be a Hassle
The city of London has an irresistible charm but when it comes to driving through this bustling city, it can be a nightmare. Traffic can be terrible at times and the streets are often confusing. Furthermore, parking is quite expensive in London. So, car rental can be a great option if you wish to explore the countryside; otherwise, it can be a hassle driving through the streets of London.
3. Extra Charges for Young Drivers and Add-ons
Many car hire agencies in London require you to be 21+ years of age before you could rent a luxury car. If you are under 25, you will be charged an additional fee per day because young drivers are often considered a liability.
On the other hand, if you want to include an additional driver, he or she must have a valid driver’s license and must be of 21 years of age. An extra fee is charged per day for the additional driver.
These costs should also be taken into consideration when you rent luxury cars.
4. Do You Have an International Driver’s License?
If you are visiting from America or Canada and hold a valid driver’s license, it is usually considered valid for car rentals in London. However, travellers from some other countries may require an International Driving Permit (IDP) in addition to their driver’s license. Getting it isn’t too costly but can be an added hassle and expense. Furthermore, you might not be approved to drive a car if you do not hold an IDP.
5. Total Kilometres You Drive Does Matter
Unless the luxury car rental agreement mentions ‘unlimited kilometres,’ you can drive only for a limited distance, typically less than 250 Km per day. If you drive more than the daily kilometre allowance, you need to pay a hefty fine. So, if you are planning to visit too many places, cross-check the agreement.
6. Should You Buy Car Rental Insurance?
This is one of the biggest dilemmas you’d come across when renting a luxury car in London. Typically, car hire companies offer a basic Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) which provides coverage for up to €1000-€3000. And this does not include undercarriage damages, cracked windscreen, tire, etc. The car rental company will hold this amount on your credit card as a security deposit unless you return the car undamaged.
And that’s a huge amount!
Check whether your existing travel credit card or car insurance includes car rental insurance. This can save you more money and hassles buying new insurance in London at a hefty price.
7. Consider Extra Fees
As we discussed in point 1, you may come across several unpleasant surprises in the name of ‘extra charges’ when you rent luxury cars in London. While many good car rental companies will discuss the potential costs upfront, others tend to keep these hidden until the last minute. To avoid last-minute surprises, check out where you can be charged additional fees:
- One-way rentals, i.e., where you drop off the vehicle in a different location than where you picked it up
- Premium locations that include picking up the vehicle from an airport or rail station
- Adding more than one driver
- Theft protection and insurance
- Gas, GPS unit and other add-on facilities like a car seat, satellite radio, toll taxes, etc.
- Taxes which can be 10-30% of the base price
8. Book Early to Grab Lower Prices
If you are looking for the best luxury car rental deals, plan your itinerary and book way before your vacation. Many car rental companies offer attractive discounts on early bookings. Additionally, you can also save more money when buying a Collision Damage Waiver when booked early and paid upfront.
But make sure you can reschedule or cancel with a full refund. This will give you the flexibility to shop for better deals and last-minute offers.
9. Know When to Refuel the Car
This quick trick will help you avoid additional fees that many car rental companies charge even if the gas metre is a little below full. Refuel the car when you are within 10 miles from the drop-off location. This will not cause the gas metre to drop quickly. Make sure to save the receipt as proof.
With these essential tips handy, be prepared and confident when you rent luxury cars in London. Knowing these will help you choose the right car hire company, avoid unnecessary hefty costs and ensure safety.