Getting around through most of England via train or bus is exceptionally easy, and since most visitors to the UK are accustomed to driving on the “other” side of the road that’s a very good thing. Some destinations, however, are really only accessible by car – and, of course, there are those who just like the idea of driving in England during their vacation. Either way, here are a few things you need to know about renting a car in England.
Have the Proper Documents
To rent a car in England, you’ll need a driver’s license from your home country along with an additional piece of ID (your passport works). You won’t need an International Driver’s License, as long as your license is in English.
Read the Fine Print
It’s important to know what’s included in the rental and what isn’t. For instance, some companies won’t allow you to leave the country (so driving over to France would be a no-no) and others will charge more if you don’t drop off the car in the same place where you picked it up.
You Need to Be at Least 21
In order to rent a car in England, you’ve got to be at least 21. You’ll also need to have had your driver’s license for at least a year. Some rental car companies will add a surcharge for “young drivers,” which usually means drivers under the age of 25, so keep that in mind and ask if you don’t see it on the contract. Likewise, some companies will also charge extra for drivers over the age of 69, so that’s another thing to look for in the contract.
Be Aware of “Congestion Charges”
Some cities around Europe are instituting “congestion charges” to anyone driving within city limits in an effort to cut down on traffic and pollution. London has a “congestion charge,” for instance, and it kicks in even if you’re just driving into the city at the end of your trip in order to drop off your rental car. Find out which cities on your itinerary have “congestion charges” and if any are at the start/end of your trip, see if you can arrange to pick up/drop off the car outside the “congestion charge” boundary to avoid paying that extra fee.
photo by saragoldsmith