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Rental cars - automatic or manual?

Washington DC...
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Rental cars - automatic or manual?

I am trying to decide whether to go with a rental car with automatic or manual shift - I see a lot of posts about getting used to driving on the left side but not much about how easy (or not!) it may be to get used to shifting with the left hand (most people from the US seem to be just going with automatics). I drive a manual shift car in the US but of course have never had the experience of driving one that's on the left side. I hope not to have to rent an automatic as it is much more expensive....would really appreciate some advice on this subject!

Seattle
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1. Re: Rental cars - automatic or manual?

I went last year, and had a car for 9 of my 14 days. I learned on stick, but drive an automatic here in the States. The only time I drive stick anymore is if I'm visiting my parents and borrow their car. It always takes a few minutes to get back into the swing of it, but you don't forget how, you know?

I was worried about the stick in Ireland, but honestly, it was absolutely no problem at all. And I had no one else in the car with me to navigate. Between paying attention to road signs for directions, staying on the left and shifting, I found the whole experience to be easier than I had thought, and even fun after a day or two.

And remember, that's with me being primarily an automatic driver. So I'd say if you drive stick every day .... go for it! :)

Arlington, Virginia
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2. Re: Rental cars - automatic or manual?

My husband has had a lot of experience driving a manual car, including 6 years of driving a right hand drive manual car (shifting with the left hand) when we lived overseas. However, on both of our trips to Ireland, I rented an automatic car for him to drive. He has thanked me each time saying that having an automatic car made it so much easier for him to drive in Ireland, especially on the rural roads that we often drove.

I imagine that since you are already used to driving a manual, you can figure out how to shift with your left hand. But, it's just one more thing to have to deal with when driving in Ireland.

Laramie, Wyoming
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3. Re: Rental cars - automatic or manual?

The automatic is a bit easier, but I've had no problem with a manual. Be prepared to pay almost double he amount and the selection won't be as good. It takes a little getting used, to but it's fun once you do! I vote manual.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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4. Re: Rental cars - automatic or manual?

My hubby drove this year in Ireland and back in 2006 in Scotland/England. Both times we had a standard transmission and while he currently drives an auto, he had driving stick in the past. He had no problems with driving the standard transmission.

Washington DC...
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5. Re: Rental cars - automatic or manual?

thanks to you all for your advice! I think I feel a little less jittery about it now..

Phoenix, Arizona
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6. Re: Rental cars - automatic or manual?

In 2010, I reserved a manual but they only had automatic when I picked up the car, so I made them give it to me at no extra charge.

Last month, I went over and drove the manual I reserved for myself.

I drove all over the country by myself on both trips. Having experienced driving both, I wouldn't pay the extra to rent an automatic.

If you're used to driving stick already, it won't be a problem after about 3 minutes in the car.

You'll be fine, honest!

Dublin
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7. Re: Rental cars - automatic or manual?

We locals have a similar issue when we drive outside Ireland or the UK. We typically drive manual here in Ireland but have to adjust to the gearstick on the other side when we hire in any European country such as France, Spain or Italy. It does not seem to be a major problem and, from personal experience, it is fairly straightforward after a short period of adjustment.

Western Ireland...
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for Southport, Connemara, County Clare, Portumna
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8. Re: Rental cars - automatic or manual?

I think the point is that if you can drive a manual car, you can drive a car either auto or manual no mater which side the gear stick is. The pedals are in the same place. The orientation is the same you are the one sat near the central line and the passenger seat is going to be against the imaginary sidewalk (not too close against). You may set the windsreen wipers off trying to signal and vice versa a couple of times but you should like everyone else settle into the feel within a short time.

tripadvisor.ie/ShowTopic-g186591-i88-k480921…

Dublin, Ireland
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9. Re: Rental cars - automatic or manual?

My partner works in car hire - working for 3 of the major brands in different airports around Ireland over the years

In high season, if you book an Auto - be prepared to wait and possibly have to take a car not in the class you have booked. There is very limited stock of Auto cars in Ireland and when the transctlantic flights land from the US they are in peak demand

If you are happy driving a manual (stick) I'd recommend you do that. I have driven lots of times on the 'wrong' side for me, when I visit France/Spain/Italy etc who drive on the right and have had no issue adjusting

Phoenix, Arizona
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10. Re: Rental cars - automatic or manual?

Honestly, the worst thing that usually happens is returning to the car and getting in the wrong side. More embarrassing than anything else! ;-)