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car rental or tour?

Buenos Aires...
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car rental or tour?

We´ll be in Scotland for 5 days in June, and thought of spending two days in Edimburgh and three in the highlands, we are from Buenos Aires and we drive on the right hand side! After reading some reviewswe are not so sure to rent a car, any advise on places to visit, or good bus tours are welcome!!!

Russell, Kansas
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1. Re: car rental or tour?

If I can do it, anyone can. I suppose tours are ok, but when I see something cool, I want to be able to stop and check it out. And there are lots of things to stop and see in Scotland!!

Amsterdam, The...
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2. Re: car rental or tour?

Try Rabbie's tours. They use small busses with I think max 16 people and they will more or less stop where you want. They have some glowing reviews.

Edinburgh, United...
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3. Re: car rental or tour?

Hi,

Thousands of RIght-hand-side drivers brave the Scottish roads each year. It is up to you whether you think the relative freedom that hiring a car gives you is worth the potential stress of driving in an unfamilar environment.

In terms of where to go, 3 days is not long. I would recommend EITHER heading west to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, potentially through Glen Coe as far as Fort William/Oban, or east to the East Neuk of Fife and St Andrews. Both are lovely, with the west option giving you mountains and lochs, and the east option giving you coastlines and beaches.

Abs :-)

Buenos Aires...
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4. Re: car rental or tour?

Thanks for your reply, I´ll check both routes and PROBABLY COME WITH MORE QUESTIONS!!!

Dallas, TX
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5. Re: car rental or tour?

I’ve lived in and travel frequently to the UK. I always get a rental car and can share some advice if you decide to drive and I would encourage that you do so.

It’s the best way to see Scotland. I last drove through Scotland in Aug 2009.

Driving in Britain involves challenges, some quite daunting but I believe it is the best way to see the very best of Britain and worth the effort.

The cheapest rental cars are going to be manual so if you aren't used to driving a manual on the wrong side of the car with your left hand, then you need to consider paying a little more for an automatic, especially driving around on hills and grades. There are some pretty steep grades in Scotland and driving a manual there will be a challenge. Plus if you drive in the more rural areas of the UK livestock on the road will just increase the challenge!!

Since it's only my wife and I we usually get a compact (Ford Focus size) and its always been a good car for us. Unless you have more than two, stick with the compacts. They get better mileage and if you haven't filled a gas tank in Britain before you're in for a shock!!

If the agency you rent from wants to "upgrade" into a bigger car I would decline unless there's more than two traveling. They make those offers to keep the smaller, more popular compacts on hand.

Make a DETAILED inspection of the car before you leave the lot. Take photos of any, ANY scratch or nick and insist the agency puts that on your contract. A 1/2 inch scrape on the driver’s wing mirror cost me almost $200 in 2004.

After my last trip I would also make sure all the buttons and switches work as advertised. Just by accident I pushed the ESP button when I got into the car and it fell out! Needless to say, that went on the contract.

I used to always rent using my Mastercard and didn't take any insurance since Mastercard covers damages (check your card provider) but it will take awhile. Mastercard took almost a year to reimburse me my "repair" charge.

On my last trip I used a new service (to me) offered by AMEX. If you reserve (and presumably pay) with the Amex card Amex will charge your card $26 for rental insurance that’s good for forty days. They become your primary insurance and will pay for any damage with no deductible long before you even have to call you insurer.

For some obscure reason the AMEX insurance isn’t good in Ireland or New Zealand so you need to check the details before signing up for the service. For me it was a matter of comfort and the $26 bought me a lot of comfort.

If that’s too steep then check your card provider. As I mentioned Mastercard paid my claim in 2004

I would recommend any of the major rental car companies but based on reviews I found in TA I stayed away from “Car hire UK.” They apparently take a huge “surety” deposit on your credit card and sometimes never return it (you can search the UK forum for “car hire UK” and see the myriads of complaints.)

I’ve had two Ford Focuses (Foci??) on the last two trips and loved them. They were roomy, fun to drive and comfortable. Avoid the Nissan Note like the plague!

Gas/petrol stations in rural Scotland can be hard to find and during busy tourist seasons can run out so keep a tank at least ½ full at all times. Trust me there are places that you DON’T want to run out of gas in the Highlands!!!

I bought a map book from Morrisons (sorta like Wal-Mart) and it listed all the Morrisons in Britain, handy because Morrisons also seemed to have the cheapest gas.

Buenos Aires...
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6. Re: car rental or tour?

Thank you for your comments on car rental , I ´ve rented Hertz in Italy and everything went fine, and also chose a compact size as streets are narrower than in argentina and of course, the States. Should we book hotels in advance as well?

Dallas, TX
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7. Re: car rental or tour?

I'd definitely book in advance for Edinbourgh. Maybe Abs140 can give you advice. I agree that the Trossachs are a wonderful drive. If the weather is nice I can highly recommend driving to Aberfoyle and take the A821 (or Duke’s pass) over the hills and through Queen Elizabeth Forest Park to Callander.

When we did it the weather was perfect and the scenery was breathtaking. I have no idea how many times I stopped to take some photos but it was a lot.

In Callander we picked up the A84 and headed north along Loch Lubnaig, stopping at Strathyre for lunch at the Lunch Inn & Bistro. The food was good. I’d never had fried Brie or rowanberry jelly. Very nice lunch.

I recommend you consider staying in a B&B on part of your trip, you'll get a better experience of travel in Scotland. Look for some recommendation on TA.

Here's a link to our photos in the Trossachs.

pbase.com/jimhogue/…1

8. Re: car rental or tour?

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