Us Citizens driving in the UK. Questions?

Discussion in 'UK Community Board' started by tcufrog, May 2, 2018.

  1. tcufrog

    tcufrog DIS Veteran

    Jul 18, 2012
    This summer my husband and our two kids are going to England and Scotland for a month. We will be renting a car for part of our trip and my husband will be doing all of the driving. I have some questions about it.
    1. Which rental car agency do y'all recommend?
    2. Does my husband need to get an international driver's license? I've seen differing advice online.
    3. My younger son is 7 and rides in a backless booster at home (Texas). What are the rules where we're travelling regarding carseats? When travelling here and renting a car we use in inflatable booster called a Bubble Bum but I don't know if that will be enough in the UK.
    4. Which driving navigation app do you recommend? We use Google Maps or Waze here but I was wondering if those are the best choice for this trip.
    5. Is there anything else we need to know?

    Thanks for your help. We can't wait till our trip.:jumping1:
  2. Woodview

    Woodview DIS Veteran

    Dec 29, 2013
    Try Or ( Fuel ..... Full to Full ..... Unlimited Miles ..... QUOTE in $ )

    A Pre Paid Voucher is given .


    A Good Paper Map from AAA is best ....... You will know which Towns are 20 + miles away .

    Buy a TOM TOM with life time updates ( World Wide ) or A Garmin .
  3. Avatar


  4. JaxDad

    JaxDad DIS Veteran

    Sep 23, 2014
    Stay to the left...
  5. Woodview

    Woodview DIS Veteran

    Dec 29, 2013
    The price of " Gas " = " Petrol " is Per Liter NOT GALLONS

    & WATCH out for Correct HOSE for Refuelling ........... DIESEL is common
  6. A Small World

    A Small World <img src=

    Feb 22, 2007
    To answer your question on car seats

    The laws on car seats changed last year. This is the most up to date information - Im sure the inflatable seats are not allowed in UK

    Its worth asking about car seats if you are hiring a vehicle as the rental agency may well provide the seats with the car
  7. Smittolis

    Smittolis DIS Veteran

    Mar 2, 2017
    couple of tips I find useful when my parents come to the US and vice versa...

    1. Diesel in Europe is usually the black hose / pump handle. Green is often used for unleaded, where as Green here in the US is usually Diesel. My dad's made that mistake more than once haha
    2. If you are ever confused, just remember that the driver is always supposed to be closet to the middle of the road, so if you are ever confused coming out of a junction or traffic signal, just align your position with the center of the road and you will get on track.
    3. You cannot, I repeat, you cannot turn on a red light. Took a while for me to learn that the other way round when I first came here lol
    4. Google maps is fine, if you are using your smart phone and roaming / international data then just use that. Failing that, you can always get your phone unlocked before you go by calling your provider, and then when there pop in a local pay as you go sim card and then choose a plan with data. That way you only spend what you have on it and don't come home to a $3000 roaming bill!
    5. Just remember that a US Gallon is different to a UK Gallon, 'gas' aka petrol prices, are in litres not gallons, so cost that in to your fill ups. Gas is wayyy more expensive, but your car will be getting 30-40mpg so it averages out, especially if you are used to 10-12 mpg's in a pick up or SUV.
    6. If you don't want to use your phone, rent a gps or take one with you and download the relevant maps for it via your computer. makes life easy.
    7. Car seats? I would go for the mi-fold, recommended and tested / vetted for European standards so will be more than good enough for your children. You can buy these at Target now so the kids can check them out.
    8. Review the 'highway code', something you can view online, it will give some good insight into the law differences that tend to get people in trouble.... When to yield, when to go, how to navigate the dreaded roundabout, as well as various rules regarding the police's ability to pull you over etc... All good info to have.
    9. review the rules and regulations about using 'cell phones' while driving, a lot more stringent than most states here...

    But most of all, don't sweat it, enjoy it and embrace the challenge!
  8. Kate_45

    Kate_45 Mouseketeer

    Feb 27, 2017
    Great tips from the poster above.

    2) Here is a tool to work out whether you can drive on your licence in the uk
    3) Here are the laws regarding car seats.

    High backed booster seats are far safer and only that type of booster seat will be approved to be manufactured now. However if you have purchased a backless booster seat prior to the law change it is still legal. So you can use your bubble bum legally in the uk. I keep a couple under the seats in my car for surprise trips taking kids friend the short ride home from school for example. I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be with them for a month on winding narrow roads and roundabouts going the opposite way to that I'm used to, along with kids falling asleep in the back due to jet lag. You can buy a high backed booster seat for £30 from kiddicare which might be worth considering. The rental car may be smaller than your own car which will also affect how you feel. I would bring the bubble bum for the initial journey to avoid stress and then invest in one as a holiday purchase but legally you can use the booster.

    4) I use googlemaps. But as the previous poster mentioned it uses data.
    5) Have fun! Scotland is great to drive in, you will see some beautiful scenery
  9. florida sun

    florida sun Mrs Christopher Eccleston wannabe! Moderator

    May 2, 2004
    Great tips from you all to the OP thank you.
  10. BLAZEY

    BLAZEY DIS Veteran

    May 29, 2006
    This isn't exactly true. Backless boosters are still legal and are still manufactured and sold in the UK. Just the rules on WHO can use them has changed. They are for children OVER 125cm and OVER 22kg. Many children will outgrow a high back booster in HEIGHT before they are legal to go without with the new age 12 or 135cm. Backless boosters are fine for a child that are meet the new current legislation, which by age 7 most kids are over 125cm (49") and 22kg (48.5lbs). My daughter is age 9, 132cm and 29kgs. She has outgrown her highback booster as her shoulder is above the highest setting. She is who backless boosters are made for. The new laws are intended to keep the children ages 3/4 out of the backless boosters.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018

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