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renting a car and driver license

Santa Clara...
Level Contributor
20 posts
3 reviews
renting a car and driver license

Hi Experts

I live in USA, so left hand driving. In UK it is right hand driving. People who live in USA and visited London can answer these questions perhaps better?

1. Will driving a rental case be difficult for a person used to drive right side of the road (i.e. left hand drive)? I will be renting a SUV or full size car from LHR and going towards west side of the airport, placed like Windsor Castle, then driving to Cotswolds etc, to east like Tower Hamlets, Ilford, Stansted etc... Please comment on this driving experience

2. I heard people who carry international licenses need to pay additional rental fee? Is this true?

3. I also heard it is better off using public transport like tubes etc than renting a car? In my case, I will be going to different places (sightseeing).. so for me rental car is a good solution but I need to hear from experience people on this, perhaps rental car is more of headache (driving hazard for foreign people) ?

Waiting for your cordial and experiences advice!

Thanks

Abu

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23 replies to this topic
London
Level Contributor
12,253 posts
70 reviews
1. Re: renting a car and driver license

If you haven't driven on the left then make sure you rent an automatic - most people find changing gear with the "wrong" hard the most difficult adjustment. Note that most cars on UK rental fleets are manual transmission, you need to specifically reserve to get automatic.

A car can be useful if you are visiting countryside areas but is a dreadful idea for London - you really do NOT want a car when you are in London. Most people who live in central London don't have a car - you should follow their example - or else face severe congestion, difficult and expensive parking and a lot of stress.

If your driving licence is issued in the US, most rental companies are happy with that.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
7,338 posts
4 reviews
2. Re: renting a car and driver license

Tower Hamlets and Ilford are certainly not places to be driving a car when you aren't familiar with traffic rules and signs. Parking in Tower Hamlets will also prove a nightmare, Ilford will be a little easier but not by much.

St Albans, United...
Level Contributor
356 posts
3 reviews
3. Re: renting a car and driver license

Also the advice is don't try driving after you have come off a long haul flight. You won't need the car for exploring Windsor.

The roads around London - M25, M4, M40, M1, A1m are all particularly busy.

Perhaps plan out where you are wanting to visit and then see where you need a hire car for. You may find a lot of places you are planning on visiting can be reached by train.

Hopefully others who have come over from the US and have driven will also be able to give their feelings on the driving experience.

Santa Clara...
Level Contributor
20 posts
3 reviews
4. Re: renting a car and driver license

thanks for insightful reply, if I would have gone by myself no question of rental car. We have multi destination trip, London, Turkey and Middle east. So we are kind of heavy with luggage, visiting places with luggage is painful vs with rental car you can leave them inside the car. Since we have limited time we need to cover most of the places as much as we can, hence checking in a hotel and then go out for a trip is difficult. Once we land in LHR (flying 8hrs from Dallas) we could rest a bit in the airport lounge and then head to rental car agency and then pick up the car and go to Windsor...similar on the last day we need to check out the hotel and finish our visits to country side, with luggage rolling our back it would not be enjoyable at all. Unfortunately like most of the pro travelers we cant go back pack traveling...advance apology for that if someone finds it rude.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
7,338 posts
4 reviews
5. Re: renting a car and driver license

Why Tower Hamlets and Ilford ?

Bingley, United...
Destination Expert
for Edinburgh
Level Contributor
34,966 posts
1 review
6. Re: renting a car and driver license

< Once we land in LHR (flying 8hrs from Dallas) we could rest a bit in the airport lounge and then head to rental car agency and then pick up the car and go to Windsor >

Or take a taxi to Windsor and pick up the car when you leave Windsor

Santa Clara...
Level Contributor
20 posts
3 reviews
7. Re: renting a car and driver license

Tower hamlets is for going to visit some south indian shops etc, Ilford is the Hotel we rented because it is close to London central (can park the car in the hotel - confirmed with hotel management) and take tubes

If hotel guys bail out with me, I have a friend near by where I can park the car (his house)

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
7,338 posts
4 reviews
8. Re: renting a car and driver license

<< can park the car in the hotel and take tubes >>

Bit of a waste of money when you could off load the car for those days, especially an large car. Plenty of easy public transport routes to Stansted from Ilford.

Wiltshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Wiltshire
Level Contributor
11,683 posts
448 reviews
9. Re: renting a car and driver license

You simply don’t want a car in, or even around, London.

Had you thought of a car service to your accommodation- later on, if going away from London, by all means rent a car.

Your current plan conflates tiredness with inappropriateness.

Santa Clara...
Level Contributor
20 posts
3 reviews
10. Re: renting a car and driver license

Is there any luggage room in LHR? Where I can keep my luggage and check out when I am done with Windsor visit?

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