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Getting a car rental in Scotland, let alone anywhere else, can be a nightmare and cost a fortune. In Scotland (and the rest of the UK), Easirent is by far the cheapest option, but not always the best. Here are the pros and cons.
Easirent is the cheapest company for a car rental in Scotland
You probably didn’t know that most car companies are under just a couple umbrella companies. Easirent is independently owned, and thus gives deals better than any of the others. In Edinburgh, they aren’t mixed in with the fancy car rental companies, but rather have a cheap trailer they operate out of to keep (your) costs down.
I’ve rented from Easirent several times this year. There are two factors which make me chose them over other companies. First, they are the cheapest by far. Second, unlike several of the other companies, they have unlimited mileage. Unfortunately, their customer service has been horrible. It’s been a toss-off.
The cheapest rental I got was less than £5 a day! In peak season you could be looking at as much as £15, which is still far cheaper than anywhere else. Those prices are for the smallest model, usually a Fiat 500 (a great car for Scotland, by the way). Larger cars are a bit more, but not much. Each larger size is about £1 a day more.
Free mileage is key in Scotland. If you plan to go to the Isle of Skye for the weekend, you’ll be driving over 500 miles round trip without any detours. Many of the car companies limit you to 90 miles a day. Unless you plan to use the car within the city you’re renting in, Easirent’s unlimited mileage is a blessing.
Things to know before you go
First of all, book in advance. I’ve found the best prices (under £5) when looking for a rental more than a couple weeks in the future. Booking last minute will cost more, but not much more. The Fiat 500, booked two weeks in advance, had a quote of £4.44 a day. Booking last minute was £7.33.
While the car rental is dirt cheap, gas is quite a bit more. When I rented my first car in June, the price was £.80/l. As I write this post in November 2016 the price is up to £1.20/l average. The good news is the cars in the UK have great gas mileage, roughly twice that as the average car in the US. So far, every car I’ve rented has averaged around 60 MPG.
It’s very important to know that the way to get the best price is by getting no insurance and leaving a deposit instead. If you want to get full insurance, you will be paying 2-3 times the base price. The deposit option is to freeze £1250 on your credit card (NOT debit card). As long as you don’t have any damage to the car, the money will be released back to the card. Make sure you have a credit card in the name of the person booking the car, and that there’s enough credit on the card before using this option.
Other than a credit card, you will need your passport (despite what third-party booking websites say) and a driver’s license. If you don’t have a passport in English letters (not Cyrillic, etc) then you need an International Drivers License. If you have a UK license, bring two proofs of residence and your DVLA check code.
You must be between the age of 25 and 75 to drive. 23 and 24-year-olds can drive, but with a £30 per day surcharge!
Do not pay £30 for the full tank upon return! Every car I’ve received started with a quarter of a tank, and you have to pay to fill it at the beginning. Choose the option to return the car at the same level it was received. Update: At Heathrow, you are forced to pay the £30, no matter how much gas you plan to use. This is certainly a disadvantage if you don’t plan to use a full tank.
Finally, always book through Easirent, not a third-party website!
Those are the key points that you have to know. Every time I go, there are people in line who haven’t followed these points. They get quite upset with extra fees, or not being able to rent the car at all. There are more points in their Terms and Conditions, but the above are the main ones.
Disadvantages of Easirent
You have to follow the Terms and Conditions. If you do, you won’t have a problem. If you don’t, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
While some of the staff are friendly, one of their staff was very rude to me on one of the occasions. Also, due to their confusing terms and conditions and occasional lack of help, the line can get very long. I’ve had to wait over two hours to get my car. To get the best deal and accurate information, only use Easirent’s website!
Updated: I might have rented from Easirent my last car. In November 2016, I rented a car in London for three days. Two weeks later, I received a penalty charge in the mail, as well as an “admin fee” which was nearly the same amount as the penalty charge. I had clear evidence, including photos, GPS mapping and a witness to prove that the penalty charge was invalid. Unfortunately, the customer service of Easirent took so long to get back to me that I was unable to challenge the fee.
In short, you get what you pay for. With Easirent, you get a cheap car which comes with limited mileage. You might or might not get any helpful customer service, and you might end up with some pretty nasty fees, or unable to rent the car at all. Take your chances and good luck.
If you’re traveling with more than one person, I’d recommend using Airbnb. Some locations are truly fantastic and unique.
Couchsurfing is my favorite way to stay in a city. Some cities can be very difficult to find hosts in, depending on the season, but not impossible. Click on the link here to get tips for finding hosts.
You could also find a hostel or other volunteer job to work at via Workaway.
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