renting car in France next weekend

Susie2017

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164
Hi all. I am flying to France next weekend. Never driven there before. Thinking of hiring a car at the airport vs getting a taxi, its about an hrs drive to our campsite. Would like an automatic especially with 2 kids in back and no other adult with me. Will bring 2 breathalysers, even though I wont be drinking as I heard its the law. Also 2 booster seats. Do I need to bring yellow vests for all of us. Anything else to know ? Any tips re which company to go to. I have heard of waiver insurance - will I get this in advance, I am totally clueless sorry. All tips welcome. Last year I used a taxi, but was then on bicycle to shops which is not ideal as two kids hard to manage.
 

Slim

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The vests will be provided with the car. The breathalyser law is not enforced so no need. Automatic is a good idea, just remember to keep your left foot away from the brake pedal except in an emergency. It is useful to purchase excess insurance before you go, look up Blue Insurance. Check driving requirements on theaa.ie and don't forget your license and satnav or GPS phone app. Enjoy.
 

mojoask

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Please look up "priorité a droit", it's not only about driving on the other side, there are other differences!
 

Leper

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Susie, You need to check what car rental company you are using on TripAdvisor before you book. Don't jump at the cheapest option.

Before anybody sits into the car use your phone to take pictures of all of the outside of the car including the wheels, lights, bumper, windows, roof, number-plates (yes number plates). Then take pics of the inside of the car including seats, ceiling, back-panel, dash-board, fuel reading and floor. After this take a few minutes to turn on lights, test brakes, check seat belts. Ensure there is a spare wheel and puncture repair tools along with hazard triangle.

When you leave the car back to the rental company allow plenty of time in case of argument against scratches etc. Remember before you pick up the car you are greeted with smiling faces and after you give the keys back all you'll get is a grunt and a possible bill for scuff marks, scratches etc.

You've been warned.
 

huskerdu

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2,137
You really should research this and book a car before you leave.

If you wait until you get to th airport, you will have no choice but to take what car is available , if any, and you will pay a lot. You will have to use their insurance which is pricy.
Standing in s queue with two kids who are just off a plane, is not the right place to be making a decision on car hire,
 

Susie2017

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Ok. Had a quick look at few websites earlier. Prices coming in around 1200 euro for mid sized automatic. Seems pricey. Avis looked a bit cheaper but said payment up front and something about taxes to be added. I thought i might haggle a bit at the desk but as you said booking it in advance probably a better idea. Taking photos a bit of a nightmare but necessary by the sound of it.
 

Slim

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If you take our excess insurance you don't have to worry about dents but take them anyway. Economy rentals dot com seem reasonable. Avis and Hertz won't screw you. Slim
 

RedOnion

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Prices coming in around 1200 euro for mid sized automatic. Seems pricey
Which airport are you flying to? That's very expensive for a week.
I'm renting a car for 2 weeks from this weekend for under 600 including taxes and child seats.

Personally, if you're not used to driving an automatic I'd go for a manual. You very quickly get used to the gearstick on the other side. It always takes me longer to get used to the automatics.
 

Jazz01

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An automatic is more expensive than a manual, as RedOnion says, you will get used to the gear stick on the other side ( a few whacks of your left hand against the door are usually enough for you to remember it's the other side). If you normally don't drive an automatic, then it can take a bit of time to get used to, don't assume your left foot is happy doing nothing all the time :cool:

€1200 is expensive for 2 weeks - what type of car are you planning on? If you are not doing a lot of driving, and only 3 of you, then something like a Clio / 2008 would suffice...

Pick up the pre-insurance cover before you go - if you are planning another trip abroad within 12 months and hiring a car, then the yearly cover might be better / cheaper for you.

Personally, I'd go with a "named" rental company - I used Entreprise last year (in France) & found them very good. Avis are good, but they usually don't quote for CDW etc online.

Remember, that all car hire companies will pre-authorise payment from your credit card - the value can be from €250 to €1000+, so factor that into your spending, if you are going to be using the credit card while on holidays.
 

Bronte

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- If you're not used to an automatic don't get one
- Make sure you pay for the 'excess' insurance, that way you don't have to take any pictures as you will be covered
- For those that make multiple trips you can purchase an insurance policy for less than €100 Euro
- Can you order your groceries to be delivered if this is the only reason to hire a car, or do a big shop the first day and get a taxi
- Alternatively use a small suitcase to wheel the groceries back to your campsite
- The car will come equipped with the high viz jackets etc, if you breakdown you get yourself and the children behind the barrier immediately, I wouldn't dream of putting the red traingle out if you breakdown on the motorway as you'd be risking getting killed (even though it's the law)
- It's very very hot in France, bring an umbrella, suncream and water in the car always. In case of a breakdown (We are bringing a sun umbrella with us this this holiday as even stopping for a picnic without one it will be too hot, we don't like the motorway places)
- try using the Ryanair website as they use car trawler which are normally good for prices. Peak season in France is the last two weeks of July and first two weeks of August, so prices go up then.
- the biggest danger driving is that at junctions and roundabouts you might forget which way to go, so take your time at these before you decide to proceed
 
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Susie2017

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164
Thank you for all the great tips. I purchased a year long excess policy for 50 euro from AIG online. Now Im off to look at prices again, will try to bring own car seats. I am used to an automatic but its way more expensive...might bring those black out things for kids windows as you said but Im not planning on doing much driving given the dangers, just to shops would do. Am flying to Nantes. Car hire for 20 days.
 

RedOnion

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The Ryanair search is good, but they include the option to cancel without penalty, so you can usually get cheaper paying up front.

If you're doing any motorway driving, make sure you have coins or a contactless card to pay toll charges.

Bring a holder to attach your mobile to windscreen if you want to use for GPS, and if possible a phone charger that will plug into the car.

Once you have the car you might use it more than you think for day trips.

And enjoy the holiday!
 

Purple

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9,075
I use rentalcars.com
Hertz and Avis are often a multiple of other providers, even with the same pick-up options. The Hertz App is a disaster price wise. I was quoted £480 for a single day UK hire through their App, £310 through their website and £190 for the same Hertz car through Rentalcars.com.
 

Jazz01

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705
will try to bring own car seats
Hey Susie, what type of car seats will you need for the kids? Just the booster seats? If so, there are "inflatable" ones available, saves on dragging booster seats as part of the luggage. I've used them myself in the past. Similar to:
It was either lidl or Aldi where I picked these up from for €20. Same brand as that in halfords.
 

Bronte

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Thank you for all the great tips. I purchased a year long excess policy for 50 euro from AIG online. Now Im off to look at prices again, will try to bring own car seats. I am used to an automatic but its way more expensive...might bring those black out things for kids windows as you said but Im not planning on doing much driving given the dangers, just to shops would do. Am flying to Nantes. Car hire for 20 days.
- A pillowcase or towel can be used to keep the sun out of the car, obviously not for the front passengers
- two booster seats taped well together can be put in the hold, but you'll have to pay for a bag, unless you can bring them on the plane. The price of a child seat can exceed buying a brand new seat, certainly the case for boosters.
- if you're only using the car for the airport trip and to go to the shops, then you should seriously consider a taxi, yes it's more expensive then Ireland but you're already at €1200. Which initially looked expensive, but now it's a) three weeks, b) an automatic. That's about €400 a week, or €57 a day.
- why not ask the campsite is there a cheap way to get there, other than taxi.
 

Bronte

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13,627
The Ryanair search is good, but they include the option to cancel without penalty, so you can usually get cheaper paying up front.

If you're doing any motorway driving, make sure you have coins or a contactless card to pay toll charges.

Bring a holder to attach your mobile to windscreen if you want to use for GPS, and if possible a phone charger that will plug into the car.

Once you have the car you might use it more than you think for day trips.

And enjoy the holiday!
Be careful with the terms and conditions on Ryanair. Some of the car hires don't allow cancellation within 48 hours etc. We've never seen cheapar than using the Ryanair or AL car hire option.
 

SparkRite

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1,174
Thank you for all the great tips. I purchased a year long excess policy for 50 euro from AIG online.
Yeah, sometimes I do this, depends on how much for FULL indemnity with the car rental company and for how long I'm renting. The longer rents make it very attractive.
Just remember that you, taking out your own cover has absolutely nothing to do with the rental company, and they will insist that either you take their cover or they will put a 'block' usually at least €1000 ( depends on car type ), on your credit card. As you have already purchased your own insurance, do not take their cover as well as there is no point in having double indemnity.
 
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