Since Ireland is a rather small country, many visitors choose to rent a car and drive to the many attractions the Emerald Isle has to offer.
Renting a car allows travelers to see more of Ireland and to experience the country’s rolling green hills and scenic beauty up close.
If you’re considering renting a car during your time in Ireland, there are some things you should keep in mind. Following these tips will ensure a stress-free experience for you and your passengers.
Consider The Age And Number Of Drivers
Like many things that involve liability risks, renting a car in Ireland can be more expensive depending on the age and number of drivers listed upon rental.
Drivers must be at least 21 years old in order to rent a car in Ireland. While this is the minimum age, many car rental companies in Ireland will enforce a surcharge on drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 for liability reasons. Similarly, companies may charge more for drivers who are 75 years or older.
It’s also important to keep in mind that car rental companies in Ireland may charge more if more than one person will be driving the car. Though you may want to break up driving duty between several people, more drivers will result in higher prices.
Book In Advance
Planning anything at the last minute will inevitably result in having to shell out more dough, and renting a car in Ireland is no exception to this rule.
It’s best to book your rental car in advance, before arriving in Ireland. Car rental companies will take advantage of travelers who appear to have no plan by charging more for rental cars that are booked on the day of rental.
Be sure to book your rental car in advance and have this part of your trip in order before visiting the Emerald Isle. This will cause you much less stress during your trip.
Plan Your Itinerary Before Booking
You should also be sure to plan your itinerary ahead of time.
When you are renting a car in Ireland, you can pick up and drop off your vehicle in most major cities and at most airports. Airport pick-ups and drop-offs are usually cheaper, so you may want to plan to pick up your rental at your arrival airport and drop it off at your departure airport.
Another great thing about car rental companies in Ireland is that you can usually cancel up to the pick-up date without penalty. So, even if your itinerary changes and you need to modify your booking, this usually isn’t hard to do and won’t cost you any cancellation fees.
There are many car rental companies in Ireland, so try not to go with the first one you find. If you want to get the best deal on a rental car, do yourself a favor and spend some time comparing quotes and doing research.
If you’re overwhelmed by the number of car rental companies to choose from, there’s a website called Auto Europe that will help you compare prices from different car rental companies. It’s a quick and easy way to find the best deals.
In order to narrow down the options, try finding car rental companies that offer points or discounts through memberships or major credit cards. This will help reduce the price of your rental.
Use Your United States Driver’s License
Luckily for travelers, there’s no need to obtain a temporary driver’s license or any additional form of identification in order to rent a car in Ireland. A valid U.S. driver’s license is enough to rent a car, so that’s one less thing to worry about before embarking on a glorious road trip through Ireland.
Rent A Stick Shift
In general, manual transmissions are much more common in Europe than they are in the U.S. Though it is possible to rent an automatic car in Ireland, there are fewer available, so you will end up paying a pretty penny. Being comfortable driving stick shift will save you quite a bit of money.
Rent A Smaller Car
Driving in Ireland is pretty different from driving in the U.S. Since you will be driving on the left side of the road, and your rental car will probably be a stick shift, you will want to rent a smaller car that’s easier to drive.
Not only will a smaller car be easier to manage, but it will also save you some money on gas.
Get The Car Rental Insurance
Whether or not it’s necessary to purchase insurance for a rental car is a highly debated topic, but the insurance will undeniably be worth it in the end.
You never know what might happen when driving a car in a foreign country, and you wouldn’t want to find yourself in an emergency situation without any insurance.
Fortunately, in Ireland, most rental companies require some form of insurance. The country is home to many narrow, winding roads bordered by hedgerows or stone walls, and the city streets are busy and lined with cars. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to damage your vehicle or someone else’s.
Almost all car rental companies in Ireland automatically include with their rentals a form of insurance called limited liability insurance. This type of insurance is required by law throughout the country and will cover damage done to another person’s vehicle in the event that you’re involved in an accident that was your fault. It does not, however, cover damage to your own rental vehicle in an accident that was your fault.
Additional insurance coverage that is optional but highly recommended is the collision damage waiver (CDW). This insurance will limit your financial liability for damage to your rental car or theft of your rental car as long as you have not violated the terms of the rental agreement. This additional insurance usually costs 15 euros to 25 euros per day.
Don’t Forget To Purchase A GPS
My mom wanted to use a paper map to navigate our way through Ireland, but when we told the employee at the car rental company that that was our plan, he essentially forced us to purchase a GPS for our road trip.
While a lot of the driving in Ireland takes place on a few major highways, getting to attractions such as the Cliffs of Moher requires many twists and turns on steep roads, a route that would have been nearly impossible to navigate without a GPS.
While renting a GPS adds a few extra euros to your overall car rental cost, you won’t regret your decision to bring it along.
Make Sure You’re Comfortable Driving On The Left Side Of The Road
It is widely known that in Ireland and throughout the United Kingdom, people drive on the left side of the road.
Before arriving in Ireland, my family and I didn’t think that this would be a big deal, but it proved to be quite a challenge for us.
If you’re worried about driving on the left side of the road, it may be a good idea to do some neighborhood driving before heading to the highway at faster speeds. Practicing in neighborhoods or areas with lower speed limits will allow you to get comfortable driving on the left side of the road before having to drive long distances at high speeds or drive while surrounded by traffic.
If you’re planning on driving through England as well, be sure you’re familiar with these 11 things to know when renting a car in England.