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Old 11-04-2012, 04:02 PM   #1
buffer
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Help Please! - totally new to car hire and driving in USA!

Hi our family are flying into MCO on 24 August 2013 for 2 weeks. We are hopefully staying in Animal Kingdom Villas for first week, so may use Magical Express. We have always done this as we have always stayed on site and never used car hire. This time we are staying the 2nd week in Windsor Palms, so we would like to get a car. There are 6 adults (all big) and at least 6 suitcases, so we need something BIG! I have been reading all the threads about hiring vehicles and am now really confused. I don't understand the difference in insurance cover and needs, or who charges for an extra driver or SAT Nav. My husband and brother in law will be taking turns driving and neither have driven outside the UK before, they are both nervous about it. They are both in their 50's, if that makes a difference with insurance. Can some of you kind experts give us advice on where to hire, costs etc. When to book and what to expect. Where can we get tips on driving in U.S - other side of road, lights etc. Any advice would be appreciated. Also if we can get a reasonable price, we may hire for both weeks.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:15 PM   #2
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Hi our family are flying into MCO on 24 August 2013 for 2 weeks. We are hopefully staying in Animal Kingdom Villas for first week, so may use Magical Express. We have always done this as we have always stayed on site and never used car hire. This time we are staying the 2nd week in Windsor Palms, so we would like to get a car. There are 6 adults (all big) and at least 6 suitcases, so we need something BIG! I have been reading all the threads about hiring vehicles and am now really confused. I don't understand the difference in insurance cover and needs, or who charges for an extra driver or SAT Nav. My husband and brother in law will be taking turns driving and neither have driven outside the UK before, they are both nervous about it. They are both in their 50's, if that makes a difference with insurance. Can some of you kind experts give us advice on where to hire, costs etc. When to book and what to expect. Where can we get tips on driving in U.S - other side of road, lights etc. Any advice would be appreciated. Also if we can get a reasonable price, we may hire for both weeks.
First, I suggested booking as soon as possible. Unlike airlines, car reservations are just that... reservations. You can cancel & rebook if the price drops.

With 6 adults, I think you're easily looking at a minivan if not larger (or two vehicles). I'm not familiar with who offers what & for how much. Check with your credit card company/home car insurance and see if they cover rental cars. Most CC companies over here will cover if you pay with their card.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:25 PM   #3
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Have you looked into what kind of transportation the Windsor Palms offers? Maybe you don't need a rental (the term we use here instead of hire.)

Call your car insurance provider to find out if they cover US rentals. Most of us decline the rental company's coverage because our own car insurance company will cover us. My Visa card will cover the loss of use part too.

Six large adults and that amount of luggage will be tight in a mini van. They seat 7, so 6 will be fine for seating; you just may be a little squished getting to your hotel. There are larger vans but that may be overkill.

Since you've been reading the threads you must be aware of the main companies available; go online and check them out. Try Expedia too and just keep checking prices. Just don't prepay, that way you can cancel and rebook if you find a better price.

We do drive on the right side and there are a lot of people who don't know where they are going so you have to drive cautiously.

Keep reading the threads and you'll get lots of good tips.
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:02 PM   #4
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Where can we get tips on driving in U.S - other side of road, lights etc. Any advice would be appreciated.
The biggest thing, IMO, is to find the person in your group that is really good at navigation, and put them in charge of that. Let the driver just drive. The driver must trust the navigator entirely.

Make sure that everyone in the car is aware that you'll be driving on the OTHER side of the road, and make sure the driver doesn't get his feelings hurt when people yell "wrong side! wrong side!" Make sure the navigator isn't someone who does a sharp intake of breath (so annoying), but actually talks and tells the driver what to do.

I drove in Ireland with a friend who did the sharp inhale instead of telling me what I was doing wrong, and it nearly drove me insane. She made me drive the WHOLE trip, and of course all I could get in '95 was a manual transmission. You won't have that problem, because it's nearly impossible to rent a stick-shift car in the States. I don't know if Northern Ireland has those half-lanes that Ireland does to facilitate passing, but there are no *half* lanes in the US, and the highways in and around Orlando are *enormous* anyway.

So find the BEST navigator and let that person do that job, so the driver can put all of his mental energy into driving.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:46 PM   #5
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I would also suggest you post this on the UK board, as you will get better answers on the insurance issue. I read enough Brits trip reports & such to know there are tremendous differences. The transportation board is mostly populated by American and the odd Canadian, and most of us don't need insurance on the rentals like you do.

One thing I do know, is that if you book through the UK rental cars websites (ex alamo.co.uk), you can get a much better "all inclusive" rate with the insurance than you will do through the US version (alamo.com). Normally, extra drivers cost money, but again your fellow compatriots might be able to give you websites where you'll have this included at a good cost. When I went to Scotland, we did book through the UK site to get the insurance, but we forfeited an extra driver (was expensive) since I did not relinquish that much the experience of shifting with my left hand!

Do look for a Minivan or a Full Size SUV, as those are the only vehicles that will fit everyone, albeit it will be tight with all the luggage. Since you probably won't travel long distances with all the stuff, you should be OK.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:51 AM   #6
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Here's a link to some good info from Mousesavers on driving and discounts.

http://www.mousesavers.com/transport...car-discounts/
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:24 AM   #7
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thank you all for the great tips so far
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:43 PM   #8
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Oh, keep right.
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:28 PM   #9
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I'll second the suggestion of posting on the UK board.

Most of us waive the "insurance" offered by the rental agency. Our personal auto policy and coverage offered by our credit card company is adequate. Most of us waive the pre-paid gas plan (always a bad deal) and fill up before we return the car.

You're required to have coverage and to pre-pay for a tank of gas. You'll get your best rate by either using a code only applicable to residents of other countries or booking through a TA (or tour operator) which bundles third party coverage with a US rental.

You're not going to be driving long distances. I'd stick with on person doing the driving. Signage around Disney is good. You don't need a GPS. Renting a GPS from the rental agency will cost almost as much as buying a unit.

Last edited by Lewisc; 11-12-2012 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Hi our family are flying into MCO on 24 August 2013 for 2 weeks. We are hopefully staying in Animal Kingdom Villas for first week, so may use Magical Express. We have always done this as we have always stayed on site and never used car hire. This time we are staying the 2nd week in Windsor Palms, so we would like to get a car. There are 6 adults (all big) and at least 6 suitcases, so we need something BIG! I have been reading all the threads about hiring vehicles and am now really confused. I don't understand the difference in insurance cover and needs, or who charges for an extra driver or SAT Nav. My husband and brother in law will be taking turns driving and neither have driven outside the UK before, they are both nervous about it. They are both in their 50's, if that makes a difference with insurance. Can some of you kind experts give us advice on where to hire, costs etc. When to book and what to expect. Where can we get tips on driving in U.S - other side of road, lights etc. Any advice would be appreciated. Also if we can get a reasonable price, we may hire for both weeks.
It seems under the circumstances (never driven outside UK before, driving on opposite side of road) it would be a lot less stressful to just hire cabs while you are here. I know that's what we would do. I would be stressed out about forgetting driving on the opposite side of road, and maybe causing an accident

Plus, it seems insurance would be more expensive under those conditions, but I really don't know.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:44 AM   #11
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It seems under the circumstances (never driven outside UK before, driving on opposite side of road) it would be a lot less stressful to just hire cabs while you are here. I know that's what we would do. I would be stressed out about forgetting driving on the opposite side of road, and maybe causing an accident

Plus, it seems insurance would be more expensive under those conditions, but I really don't know.
People from the UK rent cars in the US all the time. Renting a car in Ireland is a popular vacation option for US citizens.

Rental agencies have special rates for residents of other countries which include "insurance" and a tank of gas. Much less expensive then what the rental agencies normally charge. Travel agents and tour operators have special deals which include "insurance" and a tank of gas.

Absolutely no reason not to rent a car. I'd suggest sticking with one driver, give him a chance to get comfortable driving.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:51 PM   #12
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People from the UK rent cars in the US all the time. Renting a car in Ireland is a popular vacation option for US citizens.

Rental agencies have special rates for residents of other countries which include "insurance" and a tank of gas. Much less expensive then what the rental agencies normally charge. Travel agents and tour operators have special deals which include "insurance" and a tank of gas.

Absolutely no reason not to rent a car. I'd suggest sticking with one driver, give him a chance to get comfortable driving.
Yes, I do know they rent cars in Ireland to US citizens. I have friends who visit their relatives there, but they never have rented a car - says it scares them to death lest they would *forget* which side of the road they should be on. That's why I said I, personally, under the circumstances would leave the driving to cabbies (in this temporary situation). Yes, they could easily rent a car here.
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:34 PM   #13
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I'm going to, slightly, modify my comments. I don't think you can rent a "regular" car which seats 6. Even if you rent a premium car, such as a Lincoln, rental agencies only guarantee the car as seating 5.

I wouldn't want to combine first time driving on the right side of the road with first time driving a mini-van or SUV.

I still don't think it's an big issue but would be somewhat cautions if the OP has only driven the small cars, which are popular in UK.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:41 AM   #14
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OP - I'm not sure what advice to tell you, but I wanted to let you know that I have a dear friend who moved here from Dundalk (she's originally from Derry - and she's instructed me to never, EVER call it Londonderry) and she said driving in the States is a BREEZE compared to Ireland. We are all visiting her home this summer, and she is insisting that none of us drive while there, she wants to do all the driving as she is afraid that we will find difficulty with the other side of the road thing, but more-so the narrowness of the lanes.

I just wanted to let you know that she thinks the width of the lanes here is ridiculous, and that she jokes that it's equivalent to 1.5 or 2 Irish driving lanes.

Best of luck!
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