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Old 04-09-2017, 07:19 AM
 
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I was just wondering, for anyone who had the opportunity to do this, how was your experience? What I'm talking is more than just strolling around a main port center, like say, going to the UK and visiting just London.

I have known people who have rented a car and done this, and there experiences have been varied.

For example, I would very much like to go to Ireland at some point, and perhaps explore the countryside, see ancestral graves, Giant's Causeway, Cliffs of Moher, etc. However, I can imagine this might be quite difficult to do, unless one was on an expensive guided tour. Are there other options out there? Or if I were to drive the country (which also sounds really fun), how difficult would it be to pick things up?

Thanks everyone!
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Old 04-09-2017, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavsfan137 View Post
I was just wondering, for anyone who had the opportunity to do this, how was your experience? What I'm talking is more than just strolling around a main port center, like say, going to the UK and visiting just London.

I have known people who have rented a car and done this, and there experiences have been varied.

For example, I would very much like to go to Ireland at some point, and perhaps explore the countryside, see ancestral graves, Giant's Causeway, Cliffs of Moher, etc. However, I can imagine this might be quite difficult to do, unless one was on an expensive guided tour. Are there other options out there? Or if I were to drive the country (which also sounds really fun), how difficult would it be to pick things up?

Thanks everyone!
Generally I find that it's not an issue, after all you will just be following along with traffic. The hardest thing will probably be remembering which direction to look when making turns. The most difficult thing that I find is driving in a car where the driver side is on the right because most of the control are the opposite of what you are used to. If possible, get a car with the driver side on the left and you should have fewer issues.
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Old 04-09-2017, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
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Typical European rental car is manual transmission, so the hardest part is often clutch management while on the 'wrong' side of the road. Booking an automatic transmission will really help make it easier. Multi-lane traffic circles where you might suddenly find yourself in a 'must exit' position are a little rough as well.

But generally not horrible if you already know how to drive stick. On the other hand, Ireland does have a lot of surprisingly budget-friendly motorcoach tours if you're okay with just going on someone else's schedule an don't mind the obligatory extended stop at the Waterford crystal factory and store.
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Old 04-09-2017, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Seattle
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We did this once but didn't find it difficult. The concentration factor went up though when going through roundabouts the opposite direction.
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Old 04-09-2017, 11:11 AM
 
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The trick with driving is the driver should position always next to the median strip/ divider.

I kept this rule in mind when driving in New Zealand and did fine.

Definitely ask for automatic transmission, cost more but make the trip much easier.
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Old 04-09-2017, 12:40 PM
Status: "Send HIM back- to Queens!" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Eureka CA
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Each time I've driven in Ireland I had a stiff neck for the first week.
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Old 04-09-2017, 12:58 PM
 
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I have done this several times - even going from Germany to England in the same week. It is really not so hard as most driving in England is not challenging - with the exception of around London.

The hardest part I had was dealing with the wheel on the right side of the car and the placement of the car in the center of the lane when driving on the left - really weird - I kept trying to correct to my American style. Doing this in Asia is complicated by motorcycles passing you while lane splitting.
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Old 04-09-2017, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
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I did it but it scared the bejeebers out of me. I found I had to concentrate much harder and it tired me out. And forget enjoying the scenery. I am sure I would be just fine if I had to do it all the time. It would become automatic in just a short while. London traffic is always awful but it's much easier once you get out of the city. Parking there is pretty bad too.

I got this great perk from work and I used it to rent a brand new Jaguar. Fun car to drive and definitely much more luxurious that the cheap cars I was used to driving. I was glad I got full coverage because we were hit on the M4 driving back to London in the Sunday night traffic. Knocked off the hood kitty. Traffic was stopped so we got out and looked but it was dark and we couldn't find it.

If you do rent a car anywhere in Europe, make sure you know what kind of fuel it needs. Many cars use diesel, even models we see here that use gas in the US. If you are in doubt, ask and read the label on the fuel door. Over the years we ran into 5 or 6 groups of people who made this mistake and it can ruin a vacation fast!
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Old 04-09-2017, 02:26 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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If you have the correct vehicle for the region... (likely if renting, but unlikely if driving from EU to UK via chunnel or ferry)

1) Keep the steering wheel to the center of the road (center lanes are the FAST lanes, same as USA) Far 'outside' lanes have trucks and farm tractors (MANY in Ireland, Wales, and Scotland).
2) Watch your right-hand turns (oncoming traffic)! (in USA you must be very careful with left turns (Crossing Traffic))

Last Year I did a one yr RTW so spent a lot of time on both sides of the road, been home 6 months and yesterday (in USA) I was on the wrong side of the road (Bad habit) Seems to be 'country road' problem for me (no yellow lines). Very bad on motorcycles - deadly, no 'steering wheel' to place towards the 'center'.

I was in Thailand for 2 yrs, so daily on a scooter in heavy traffic. BUSES can smack you!


3) Consider the CLOCKWISE 'round-a-bouts'.
NZ drivers were more forgiving than AU, but both drive very fast on country roads.

Don't be embarrassed when you jump in the left hand side of vehicle, only to discover "Hey, there is no steering wheel!"
I stick with 'stick shift' as I do in USA. If driving far... pay extra to get a diesel (1/2 price fuel, 2x the economy (especially in NZ, farther distances)) Very peppy in Mtns!
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Old 04-09-2017, 06:05 PM
 
Location: Mtns of Waynesville,NC & Nokomis, FL
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We have driven all over Scotland and England several times in rental cars...
It takes a few mins/hours to get 'used' to it, and jumping in that rental right off the plane and probably slightly fragged tends to expand the learning curve in our experience.

We have always rented manual trans 'pocket rockets' which hold enough of our stuff but handle very well, esp compared to the typical jelly bean rental cars often found here in the US.

Driving in traffic requires considerable concentration, esp at hard right/left turns and we have done much of our 'wrong side driving' out on the two or 'one' lanes found in the outer reaches of UK, esp in Scotland.

None of us know your skills or enthusiasm for driving a right hand drive rental, but we prefer rentals over the bus tours, and all of our responses and opins are anecdotal.
GL, mD
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