10 Tips for Renting a Car in Ireland
1 – Book in Advance for the best rates.
The most popular way for car’s to be rented these days is to book in advance over the internet. Do that to guarantee you have a car for your trip instead of risking lack of availability at the car rental desk at your arrival point e.g airport or ferry port. Also, if you turn up on the day, the car hire firm will know you need one so your ability to shop around and bargain is limited.
2 – Remove the insurance excess
Ireland has some very small narrow roads with thick hard hedgerow sticking out. It’s very easy for a branch to scrape the car and you’ll end up paying for the cost of the removal of the scatch. Get the insurance excess removed to avoid such headaches.
3 – Don’t worry about international driving license
Given that a lot of people in Ireland still drive without a full driver’s license you’ll most likely have gone through a rigorous exam to qualify to drive therefore your local driver’s license will be accepted by the Irish police (aka Gardai) as your legal right to drive.
4 – Use the Port Tunnel!
The port tunnel is a god send for getting to the north or on to the m50 to get to the north west in a quick and cheap manner. The port tunnel in Dublin is located by the docks so for anyone staying in the city, I would advise the use of this except if you’re going north bound or north west in the evening between 1600 – 1900hrs (4pm-7pm) as the price rockets to €10. Off peak prices are €3 and it saves a lot of time. You can pay at the toll booth at the docklands side of the tunnel
5 – Don’t forget to pay for the use of the M50 – look for Payzone retailers
The M50 uses a camera system so there’s no toll booths in operation. Go to a local petrol station or shop and they should be able to accept payment. Just quote your registration number. Ensure you have paid by the following day by 8pm so you won’t get fined!!
6 – Don’t get stung for being young!
Some car rental companies charge higher prices for drivers in certain age groups. If there’s a group of you going – use the eldest driver as the main driver where possible to counter this. Also haggle with the rental company if they try and charge an extra levy based on your age. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
7 – Dublin Airport Car Rental return – Add an extra 40
Add an extra 40 minutes of check in time as the car rental return depot is not immediately next door to the airport so you need this extra time for the check and transport time back to the terminal on the local shuttle bus.
8 – Fill up on Fuel
Always fill the fuel tank before you return – there are a number of cheap fuel sellers close to Dublin airport. The diesel seller near the Hilton Hotel Clare Hall at the entrance to the Tesco supermarket – here it is on google – and Applegreen fuel station on the Malahide Road are the cheapest in my opinion for petrol and diesel.
9 – Use Sat Nav
If you can use gps on your phone without using data for SAT NAV, then that’s the cheapest option. Alternatively, rent a sat nav device as part of the rental deal. It’s cheap and will most always get you to your destination. I would also have Ordinance Survey Road Map of Ireland as a back up. It’s cheap and you can pick it up online easily or at bookstores in the Airport.
10 – Inform Rental Company before crossing the border
Depending on where you source your car rental, if you start in Dublin or Belfast i.e. in Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, if you drive across the border you have entered another territory & you should inform the rental company of your intention beforehand.