What's up with a car rental at Dublin airport?
May 13, 2015 4:11 PM   Subscribe

I will be renting a car at Dublin airport in mid-july, and driving to near Galway. The prices online are insanely low. I frankly do not believe them.

What's the story?
Is there a best company? Any to avoid?
And what's the 'insurance' situation? I have a Chase sapphire card. Is that good? Is it an idiot flag?
(I have 50 years of experience driving shift, so I expect no problems there. And I can barely tell left from right anyway, so, although I have never driven in fliptocracies, I really expect no problem there either)
posted by hexatron to Travel & Transportation around Ireland (14 answers total)
Response by poster: And when should I book? Now? At the airport?
posted by hexatron at 4:15 PM on May 13, 2015

What is "insanely low"? My parents came to visit us last summer and I remember their 5-day Opel Insignia Avis rental was $75 for 5 days pus taxes, fees, GPS and miscellaneous bullshit including the insurance you need.

Be prepared to pay around $6.50 per gallon for petrol.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:23 PM on May 13, 2015

Is there a best company?

We went with Sixt from Dublin airport, booked in advance, and didn't have any problems, but that was a little while back, and Yelp reviews suggest that they now aggressively up-sell their insurance, and if you refuse, they demand written proof of insurance before handing over the keys and place a large hold on your card. Take that as your "too good to be true" caveat; similar complaints appear on Yelp for every other rental company operating in Dublin. The comments there suggest that the CDW bait-and-switch is designed to make the headline price look good for online comparison sites, which is annoying. They'll also tack on an 'administration fee' for using their toll passes on the motorway.

although I have never driven in fliptocracies, I really expect no problem there either

Honestly, you ought to prep for that: The drive from there to Galway city is straight and short by American road trip standards, and outside the motorway, main roads will be fine (even more so if you are comfortable with roundabouts) but the smaller roads are narrow, driven by the locals at high speed, and may have cows/sheep on them. Unless you're on the ball, you'll turn out from a petrol station onto the wrong side of the road.
posted by holgate at 5:26 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Check out this article. When I rented a car last spring, it cost almost $1000 for the 8 days, but that was an automatic, picked up from Galway airport, with all-inclusive insurance. I booked ahead online, but they lost the booking. Things turned out fine, if expensive. Driving was fine, and the roads better than I expected. But some of the roundabouts are very confusing. It helped to have a navigator helping me watch for turns, as well as a GPS.
posted by rikschell at 6:07 PM on May 13, 2015

For over 10 years I have regularly rented cars in Ireland (most recently having a long term lease arrangement with Europcar). I would caution you that insanely cheap probably means stripped of all additional add-ons, VAT and CWD. It is very very difficult to use any credit card for insurance coverage in Ireland. It is one of the three countries almost always excluded from coverage ( read your small print). I believe I have explored almost all alternatives--Just be sure you double/triple check what is included in the rental agreement--print/screen shoot your copy. Finally, I would discourage you from going through any online aggregator/third party (except Auto Europe). You are much more likely to have a bait/switch if you go through an aggregator. If you are seeing a price of less than 13 GBP, 18 Euro or $20 USD take a very close look. Once again--do not count on using a credit card for your insurance unless you want a substantial pre-authorization. If you want full 100% CDW ( not the customary 1200 euro deductible) you can plan on another 10 Euro +/- per day.
posted by rmhsinc at 6:14 PM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

PS Book prior to arrival--you will have been on an overnight flight, you will be tired, you will not want to shop for the best deal and you are most vulnerable to sell ups because of confusion over their policies/practices and your fatigue. Good luck and enjoy ireland
posted by rmhsinc at 6:17 PM on May 13, 2015

I don't know who's good but I would avoid Hertz like the plague. I had never had a problem with the company in other countries but their staff at Dublin airport the last time I dealt with them were breathtakingly rude and ignorant. (I'm Irish myself so it wasn't a misinterpretation or cultural difference thing)

In fairness this was about six years ago so they may have replaced their entire staff since but I doubt a corporate culture would change that quickly.
posted by coleboptera at 6:34 PM on May 13, 2015

Regarding insurance covered by your credit card, take a look at the restrictions. At least when I rented a car in Ireland 2.5 years ago, Ireland was one of the countries the credit card specifically listed as not having rental car insurance coverage.
posted by ShooBoo at 8:27 PM on May 13, 2015

Finally, I would discourage you from going through any online aggregator/third party (except Auto Europe). You are much more likely to have a bait/switch if you go through an aggregator

Whereas we rented cars regularly for the last four years, always used an online aggregator (this one), and despite really extensive research always got the best deal that way. Renting directly from the company's website often had a large 'airport surcharge' tacked on at checkout for a start, whereas argus includes all fees and taxes as part of their quote. You don't get to choose the company and will find out who it is once you've booked. We ended up using all of them and it was never a problem. You also don't get to choose the exact car but we always got the class of car that was listed so that was never a problem. And there was never any extra charges or bait and switch or weirdness from anyone.

For insurance we used the stuff supplied by that website. Yes the hire company will then block out a pretty big amount of money on your credit card as a result. They will do that for any third party insurance you use. We knew that ahead of time and planned for it so you should probably do the same. We never had any hard sell on insurance upgrades, at most they'd mention it once then drop it (and generally not even that). I don't know how or if your credit card insurance will work for you so this is definitely something to look in to.

Overall hiring cars in Ireland, and Western Europe in general really, is cheap. That's why we never bothered buying one. When we went back to NZ recently it was mind blowing how much more we were paying for a much shittier car. Petrol in Ireland isn't cheap so factor that in to your cost. Also make sure you fill it back up again before dropping it off because they will totally gauge you there. And don't pay for the GPS, the software is often out of date. And don't 'upgrade' to a large car because it will eat the petrol and be a bitch to drive and park. And don't hire an automatic because it will cost up to 10x as much. But otherwise yeah, it's a totally reasonably priced thing to do in Ireland.
posted by shelleycat at 12:22 AM on May 14, 2015

Oh and totally hire ahead of time, the earlier the better. You'll get a better price plus there will be a car all ready and waiting for you right when you arrive. Who wouldn't want that?
posted by shelleycat at 12:24 AM on May 14, 2015

Outside of the US, rental cars generally do not include unlimited mileage, and the rental companies will charge per mile or per kilometer over a certain unreasonable amount of miles or kilometers. I had that issue a while back in Newfoundland; thankfully I calculated beforehand and used the bus to travel from one end of the island to the other (it was cheaper once mileage charges were figured in) and only used the rental car in St. John's.

I can't speak specifically to Ireland, as I have never been there much less rented a car there, but I suspect that may be why you're seeing such low prices -- that company probably does not include a lot of kilometers per day.
posted by tckma at 6:55 AM on May 14, 2015

I have never seen anything other than unlimited mileage in Ireland and through most of Western Europe. In fact I've only seen limited mileage once, renting from Copenhagen, and the same rental didn't have that limitation when we used my German address instead.

So sure, check the terms and conditions to make sure, but run far away from anything charging any kind of mileage costs because it's not at all normal for Ireland to do that.
posted by shelleycat at 7:07 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

Ireland is the size of West Virginia. I am unable to imagine how you would rent a car with limited mileage in this country.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:12 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

Part of the reason it seems so cheap by American standards is that the cheapest deal on an Irish car is offering less than the cheapest thing you can get in the US.

The compact car we rented was a 2-door hatchback, narrow enough across that my husband's guitar case wouldn't fit in the hatchback and had to stand/lean in the back seat, or lie flat diagonally with the seats folded down. The car would hold 2 people plus luggage (2 roller bags+daypack+concertina+guitar) but I wasn't expecting this to be true only if we arranged our luggage carefully.

As stated, the listed prices don't include insurance and you'll have to read the fine print to see which taxes are/aren't included.

although I have never driven in fliptocracies, I really expect no problem there either - you'll start to get used to it pretty quickly, but the first attempt is the worst. Best advice I got was, exit the airport carefully, timing when you leave the parking lot so that you're directly following another car. So long as you're behind somebody going the same direction as you, you're in the correct lane.
posted by aimedwander at 8:18 AM on May 14, 2015

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