Car rental and self-drive tours in the UK
Here at adeo Travel, the majority of our guests choose a self-drive itinerary for their vacation to Britain. This is because self-drive tours offer that sense of independence and adventure rarely experienced on a larger, more traditional escorted coach tour of Britain – on a fly-drive trip, Britain truly is your oyster!
The beauty of an adeo Travel self-drive tour is that they are also completely customisable – the itineraries listed on our website are all great tours in their own right but if preferred they can simply be used as templates; if you have extra destinations to include or want to travel at a more leisurely pace, we will be more than happy to amend and tweak an itinerary so that it works for you! Or alternatively, come to us with your ideas and itinerary and we can give you a formal quote for your own, entirely unique self-drive vacation, all the while using our local knowledge and travel expertise to guide you on what is manageable within your time-frame, to make suitable recommendations and to offer our renowned adeo Travel service and support.
But it’s not only your itinerary that can be tailored on a self-drive tour – you can also select the type and standard of accommodation, the size of the vehicle to suit your budget/requirements and add a wealth of optional extras to enhance your trip. By day choose your ideal means of travel whether it be a compact stick-shift vehicle or a larger luxury automatic model and by night stay in a combination of quaint, family-run B&Bs, traditional pubs, historic coaching inns, countryside hotels or elegant castle and manor house accommodations. Sightseeing passes can be added offering admission to cultural and historic attractions across the country whilst city tours make a great addition for exploring our urban areas.
So whether you use our suggestions or come up with your own itinerary you can travel the length and breadth of our beautiful island at your own pace and in your own style. But having chosen to explore the UK by car, you may have more technical questions and that’s where adeo Travel is here to help – so for the time being sit back and relax as we provide you with some of the things you can expect when you book a self-drive tour with Adeo Travel!
Renting a car in Britain
Renting a car in Britain can be a very straight-forward experience when compared with other nations across the globe. The industry is well-regulated and stern competition in the market place makes prices competitive. Most British rental agencies keep a diverse and contemporary fleet of cars with many holding policies of continuous vehicle renewal and replacement or maximum vehicle ages (usually of no more than three years). The provision of the most recent vehicles and models ensure fresh, quality cars, the newest safety features and good fuel consumption, ideal for touring holidays and driving longer distances.
Most internationally recognised car rental brands are present here in the UK and, as an independent agent, adeo Travel is free to select the very best rental companies whether it be a global brand or a highly esteemed domestic establishment, whichever is best suited to you and your tour. Brands that we work with include (but are not limited to) Sixt, Enterprise, Europcar, Alamo, National, Arnold Clark etc. With these various brands to choose from each with a host of rental offices at airports, railway stations and downtown locations across Britain, we have a wealth of options open to us to ensure that we can tailor your trip to your specific travel needs.
In Britain we have a unique road tax system; local road networks are paid for by local communities through a council tax system specific to an area whilst maintenance and development of our national road network is paid for by a fixed annual vehicle / road taxation – all vehicle rental in Britain includes a contribution for this mandatory road tax as standard and therefore there are no additional applicable taxes upon collection of the vehicle. It also means that, unlike in other European countries, there are very few additional costs to using our roads such as “on-the-road” tolls or supplements for specific motorways or high-speed road links. There are one or two exceptions and using our local knowledge we can advise you in advance if you’re likely to encounter a toll-road on your itinerary.
Touring by car is certainly the most flexible means of getting around our country, offering the opportunity to travel where and when you want and to visit more remote, off-the-beaten-path destinations and places which are difficult to reach by public transport; such places can include real gems in rural areas, smaller towns and villages, natural attractions and historic castles.
Benefits of including car rental as part of your Britain vacation
Car rental is of course an integral part of our self-drive tour programmes, however on occasion we can also book car rental as a stand-alone product if required. There are some very tangible benefits to booking your car rental through adeo Travel:
- Fully Pre-paid – your rental charges are paid in advance of your trip as part of your vacation package with few or no extra costs upon collection.
- Honest Pricing – our rental pricing is always inclusive of comprehensive/unlimited mileage, mandatory local taxes and mandatory insurances as standard. Where additional charges do apply, we are always up-front and advise you of them in advance.
- Quality Car Hire Brands – we work with a host of well-known car rental providers and suppliers ensuring your vehicle is rented with a reputable and dependable brand.
- Competitive Pricing – using our exclusive agent-only reservations systems and by exploiting our buying power we can source and negotiate the very best rates with a range of suppliers.
- Independent Advice – we are not tied to the use of a particular brand, we can select the best provider for your specific rental saving you time trawling dozens of online sites or calling multiple overseas agencies.
- Simple Documentation – you’re provided with your clear printed rental voucher(s) inclusive of full address and contact details for your collection and return branches. This is enclosed in your comprehensive travel pack along with additional useful terms and information.
- Service guarantees – all of our car hire bookings come with emergency contact information and 24 hrs vehicle recovery service as standard.
- Extra Information – when purchasing car rental as part of your vacation package we enclose a good overview driving map of Britain on which to plot your route, accommodation location information for each of your hotels and our exclusive adeo Travel driving hints and tips offering a local’s insight in to driving here in Britain. And of course you can ask your travel advisor any questions you may have regarding car rental or driving here in Britain.
- Additional Support – when booking car hire through adeo Travel you benefit from our unique approach to customer care; in the rare event that you do encounter an issue, dispute or reason to complain to your rental provider we can provide assistance in communication and issue resolution.
Car Rental Providers in Britain
Here at Adeo Travel, we work strictly with tried and trusted partners for your car rental needs, many of these companies are globally recognised brands; below are some details about car hire companies we work with regularly on behalf of our self-drive touring guests and clients:
- Europcar – founded in 1949 in France this company established itself in Western Europe but now operates in 140 countries across the world. It has comprehensive coverage in Britain with over 250 branches up and down the country.
- Enterprise rent-a-car – established in 1957 in the USA, Enterprise reached across the Atlantic easily and today operates in 70 countries. With excellent levels of customer service, this agency also has over 370 branches in the UK.
- SIXT – dating back to 1912 Sixt was originally popular in Germany and the surrounding nations in central Europe but has since grown to become a major car hire company globally; today it operates in over 100 countries and has over 180 branches across Britain.
- Arnold Clark Car Rental – so-called after its founder, a prominent Scottish entrepreneur and businessman, Arnold Clark car rental was founded in 1955 and specialises in Britain-based rentals with a focus on Scotland and the north of England.
- Alamo Car Rental – another favourite of the US founded in Florida in the 1970s, today Alamo has a firm presence in the UK with branches up and down the country. • National Car Rental – established in 1947 in the USA, National is part of the Enterprise holdings group of companies and has become a respected car-hire brand here in Britain with branches nationwide.
Car rental Locations in Britain
With multiple companies and brands to choose from, each of which has good national coverage we can tailor your self-drive tour by amending the collection and return locations to suit your specific travel plans. Most tours, will however commence at your point of arrival in to Britain.
Almost all car-rental companies have a presence at Britain’s major international airports such as London Heathrow Airport, London Gatwick Airport, Edinburgh International Airport, Glasgow International Airport, Birmingham International Airport and Manchester International Airport. These desks often operate 24hrs or are at least open to service all scheduled inbound/outbound flights from early morning to late night. If you’re collecting a vehicle directly upon arrival by air, then we ask for your flight details to pass on to the rental company in advance – this ensures that, in the event of a flight delay, they hold your vehicle and/or remain open beyond standard opening hours to service your rental.
Many car rental companies will also have one (or more) downtown locations in larger towns and cities however it should be noted that city centre locations usually operate on business opening hours; they tend to open from around 8am – 6pm weekdays with half-days opening Saturdays and all-day closure on Sundays and public holidays (opening hours vary dependent on particular branch). Such opening hours should be noted if you’re looking to do highly tailored itinerary with pick-up from a downtown location or small branch with very specific collection times, on a weekend or on a public holiday. Please feel-free to discuss your options with your adeo Travel advisor and we will be sure to select the best option for you or offer on advice on how best to arrange your rental.
Britain’s ports and train stations generally have fewer options in terms of different companies; most are serviced by just one or two brands whilst some will be serviced by the local downtown offices which may be located a short taxi/cab ride away.
If you plan to collect your rental vehicle after a short stay in a larger city (where you may not need a vehicle) such as London, Glasgow or Edinburgh then we tend to recommend returning to the local major airport to collect your vehicle. These airports have excellent public transport links or are readily accessible by taxi from the city; any transfer costs are usually more than off-set by the saving in a day or two’s rental fees, city centre parking charges and inner city mandatory charges such as the London “Congestion-Zone” charge. Collecting your vehicle at the airport then has several benefits in itself; offering greater opening hours and flexibility, more vehicle choice, avoiding city traffic, providing swifter exit on to main routes and ensuring that your first experience of driving is not on a congested inner-city road network.
As part of any self-drive tour we can discuss with you, our guests, and make recommendations and offer advice on where might be best for you to collect your vehicle and for reaching your rental collection point from your adeo Travel accommodation.
Available Car Types and our recommendations
Here at adeo Travel we can offer a range of different vehicle types and are happy to discuss with you your various options and make our best recommendation based on your group size and preferences.
For single travellers and couples, we can confirm anything from a small economy vehicle to an SUV or luxury model. For your own comfort, on adeo Travel touring holidays we would not recommend using smaller vehicle categories such as “economy” or “mini” grade cars. We find that the slightly larger “compact” category models (and upwards) offer greater comfort for touring, have more adequate luggage space and better engine size when covering greater distances.
For couples with young or small families we can book larger “standard” or “intermediate” vehicle models whilst for adult families or two couples travelling together our recommendation would be an intermediate or full-size “wagon” or “estate” style vehicle with greater luggage space for your suitcases or travel bags. Alternatively, a “people-carrier” model is a very comfortable way to travel with groups of 4 or 5+ adults; these usually offer a more upright seating position, extra seats and plenty of luggage space.
For those seeking something a little special or a greater level of comfort we can book a select number of luxury or SUV models.
All vehicle categories are available in manual or automatic transmissions however it should be noted that here in the UK it is usual to drive a manual-shift car and therefore automatic vehicles are far rarer. For this reason, automatic shift vehicles must be pre-booked and may carry supplements or a higher daily rental rate.
The largest vehicle which we are able to offer for self-drive tours would be 9 seater mini/passenger-van. Vehicles larger than this would carry specialist licence requirements for commercial/passenger driving however if your group is of between six and sixteen passengers it can be quite cost effective to have your own mini-coach with a chauffeur to do the driving for you. Please ask for further information if this is something that is of interest to you. When putting together your travel proposal we will cost in our recommended vehicle category and type based on your specific group-size and preferences however it is fully flexible so please let us know if you would like to adjust your proposed vehicle.
When selecting your car category there are a number of things to consider:
- Number of passengers.
- Luggage space requirements.
- Power of the vehicle for touring purposes.
- Level of comfort preferred.
ACRISS Car Hire Categories and Codes Explained
When booking a vehicle with adeo Travel, as with any major car rental provider, we cannot guarantee a specific model of vehicle but rather we can confirm a class of car and you will be provided with a vehicle within that group or category. We are, however, still able to guarantee certain features such as the wagon (estate) style boot/trunk space and the transmission (manual vs automatic).
The car categories are denoted by an internationally recognised coding system called ACRISS car classification codes, ACRISS standing for the Association of Car Rental Industry Systems Standards. Each car category or type has its own code which indicates features of that car group. Below we give a brief explanation of these car codes however if you need any help understanding the car category included in your quote or that would be best for you then please ask your adeo Travel advisor and we can give further explanation and offer some example models in each category that you may be more familiar with.
Below is a simplified version of how ACRISS codes work:
- First character: denotes vehicle category
- Second character: denotes chassis type
- Third character: denotes transmission type
- Fourth character: denotes fuel type and/or air conditioning provision
An example code for a manual compact car would be CCMN.
- C – Compact model
- C – 2 / 4 doors
- M – Manual transmission
- N – Unspecified fuel and no air-conditioning
If you would like further information on your quoted car category then we can let you know your vehicle four-letter code, provide you with a pdf document detailing all the abbreviations and codes and answer your questions about models which may feature in each category.
For further reading on ACRISS codes, please visit the official website at the following link:
Alternatively, there are also good articles explaining ACRISS codes on Wikipedia which can be found with a simple search on their website.
UK Car Rental Made Easy
We hope that you have found the above information useful. As stated before, you will receive further in-depth and bespoke information tailored to your trip such as maps and vouchers in your travel pack that you will receive to your home address around four weeks before you depart for our island.
Of course, if you have any further queries about our self-drive tours, please do not hesitate to email us at email@example.com.
Thank you for reading and we can’t wait to see you on the road!