Enterprise has become one of my favorite and most preferred car rental agencies as of late (2018) since they have become more convenient, efficient, and hospitable. I still book my rentals using services like Kayak and Priceline rather than their web site directly. They have a local counter down the road from me so can’t more convenient than walking distance. I almost rented a car from them last month while dealing with my own car troubles, but i figured out my issues. They guy at the desk however was very helpful. Recently I flew into Sea-Tac airport, and went to the rental car agency hub – it was very streamlined, no discrimination with debit cards (i gave up credit cards over 10 years ago) as long as I had return flight details. They didn’t even run a hold on my card so I had access to my funds. Good price and booking was streamlined. I was sent down to the 4th floor where another agent helped me pick out a vehicle, dried to downgrade or upgrade my vehicle from a mini-van to something he thought was more suitable (which was a bit annoying) and of course tried to up-sell all sorts of insurance packages and add-ons (annoying but frustratingly expected). No long contracts, simply hand app print-out, drive through gate, check out, and that was it. The vehicle was in great condition and was pristine. A great trip around the Olympic Peninsula, i was quite content. They did a fantastic job! Rated: 5 of 5 stars. April 2018: ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~
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Our first visit to Iceland, and on a tight budget, we figured we’d fly into the capital, get cheap lodging, and just walk or bus to sightsee Iceland. Big planning mistake. Cheap lodging we found in Keflavik, quite a hike/bike/bus commute from the capital. Public transport? not really affordable either. The bed and breakfast host strongly recommended this company for a cheap way to really see iceland, and he wasn’t wrong, cash in hand with a cash discount, we were able to get a very cheap car rental to go see Iceland the right way. Couldn’t recommend more that Ice Car Rental is the company to go with. They are a young company and out to set new standards in car rental services with an experience that one can be very satisfied with – easy on the wallet, they also come to you, bring you the car and pick it up. Clean, reliable and great cars. We had the most excellent experience with them. A must do! Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
The romantic enticement of cross-country road trips in America is almost as famous as its emblematic “apple pie”. Road tripping across rural America is made real popular by various novels, movies, and television series. The images of “Natural Born Killers”, “Leaving Los Vegas”, Jack Kerouac, “Thelma and Louise”, Neil Cassidy, as well as “Bonnie & Clyde” as a crime spree, “independent adventure”, “quests for a new start” and involving nothing other than you, your partner, the open road, and the “borrowed” car. Of course, some of those stories are less than conventional means for a road trip. As well as much being figments from dreams of doing whatever one wishes. These illegal fantasies of course won’t fly with the “drive aways” but the freedom of the open road will. In some countries, like America, a budget traveler can take advantage of “Drive Away” vehicles. These can be great resources for the “techno-gypsie” and “techno-nomad” when travelling without one’s own vardo, gypsy wagon, or vehicle.
“Drive Aways” are vehicles that owners, transportation companies, or agencies need to be driven and/or delivered from point A to point B, usually involving long distances like cross country. Scenarios of companies needing to relocate vehicles from one office to another, car owners moving across the country and flying ahead needing their vehicle to join them at some point, owners of multiple cars moving across the country, or a car being sold on ebay that needs to be delivered to the new owner. Often, this allows for contracting independent individuals who also need to go from point A to B to drive the vehicle for them. “Drive Aways” are however very conventional and a little less known secret in the backpacker community. “Flexibility” is your friend in this regard. Generally these cars are fairly new, clean, and in good condition. The compensation is often usually just the free use of the vehicle, a route, and a tank of gas. All the transporter companies usually ask of you is a clean driving record, a driver’s license, being over age 23, travel expenses, and a security deposit.
A security deposit of between $300-$400 is usually asked for from the driver before given use of the vehicle. You’ll need to keep the car “pristine” and clean, un-altered and hopefully better than you found it. You’ll usually be given a route (with some freedom to explore along the path) and a set number of days for delivery. Sometimes there are restrictions for the number of hours you are permitted to drive per day. If the car is returned at the destination on time, unscathed, then the security deposit is returned. The driver is responsible for the cost of gas after the first free tank. Various companies have different methods in handling how car repairs, accidents, and/or damages are handled ranging from full cost coming from the driver and his/her insurance, some costs from the vehicle’s owner, and/or loss of security deposit. Up front, it’ll sometimes cost you the same price as a rental car with the security deposit, except you get the security deposit back upon returning the car in the same or better condition as you received it.
The difference between a “drive away” and a “rental car” is, time, flexibility, and payment or lack thereof (hopefully) in the end for the vehicle. However it can be limiting – having to stick to a particular route, waiting for an available car, loss of your deposit, and having to go from a set point A to point B. It is however a good option for the budget traveler. Highly recommended is to put on a seat cover to protect the upholstery from travel meals, wear and tear, and unforeseen calamities of spilt coffee or coke. Make note of all scratches, visible marks, and blemishes on the form before signing it and driving away. Sometimes the vehicle you get is quite a gem. Sometimes its packed full of the personal effects of the owner having it moved for them. Make sure to call ahead to your delivery contact giving them an estimated point of arrival. You’ll have to hand off the keys in person as a signature is required in order to get your security deposit back. Its highly recommended to give the car a wash, vacuum, and basic cleaning before turning it in.
Some of the more famous and popular drive away companies are: www.autodriveaway.com/, and the national driveaway list can be found at: http://www.autodriveawaydc.com/carlist.html or http://www.autodriveaway.com/view_car_list.
Auto Drive Away: “Auto Drive Aways”. Website referenced February 2012. www.autodriveaway.com.
Auto Drive Away DC Car List: “Available Drive Aways”. Website referenced February 2012. www.autodriveawaydc.com/carlist.html.
undated GoNomad Transports Guide: “Drive Away Across the U.S.A. – Even if you don’t own a car.” Website referenced February 7, 2012. http://www.gonomad.com/transports/0012/javins_driveaway.html.
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Driving on the Left Ireland and the United Kingdom
It’s always pretty intriguing how different customs are with all the various countries and how to understand why cultures do what they do. Such as with the differences between driving on the left or the right side of the road in some countries. Coming from America where we drive on the right side, having only ever driven on the left before in the Bahamas, it took some getting used to on my trip driving around Ireland. Of course the cars in each of these countries are usually arranged to the way you drive on the road – so left hand side road, the gear shifter is on your left and the steering wheel on the right side of the car; right hand side of the road – gear shift is on the right, and the steering wheel is on the left hand side of the car. Confusing, eh? The driver always sits on the side closest to the center line – except mail carriers and some delivery personnel who need to sit on the side closest to the side of the road. If renting a car, get full insurance, especially if you’ve never driven on the opposite side of the road. We had a side mirror collision within 20 minutes of renting the car (not me – but could have been). Just remember there is now a “whole lotta car” on your left. Also keep in mind that the roundabouts can be tricky, especially if you’re from somewhere like America where they are rare. These are intersections designed to keep the flow of traffic moving at a constant pace. As you approach them, you’ll see a large green sign with white lettering displaying the upcoming roundabout with details on the roads coming from them. Prepare for your exit. Yield to oncoming traffic coming from the right. Movement is clockwise. So who drives on the left? Approximately 1/4 of the world drives on the left hand side of the road, most of which are British oriented or old British colonies. This is because in the past everyone travelled on the left side as it was the most sensible option for feudal, violent societies as most people were right-handed, and swordsmen preferred to keep to the left in order to have their right arm nearer an opponent and their scabbard further from them – plus it reduced the chance of the scabbard (worn on the left) from hitting other people. Additionally, a right-handed person finds it easier to mount a horse from the left side, as it would be very difficult to do so otherwise if wearing a sword (which is worn on the left) – safer to mount and dismount towards the side of the road, rather than middle of traffic, so if one mounts on the left, then the horse should be ridden on the left side of the road. Crazy, eh? It simply hadn’t changed from traditional times. In the 1700’s though, in France and the United States saw difficulties with hauling farm products in big wagons pulled by several pairs of horses, and the driver’s seat was at the rear of the horse with the driver on the left rear – so he could keep his right arm free to lash the team – since he was sitting on the left, he wanted everyone to pass him on the left so he could look down and make sure he was clear of oncoming wagon wheels – thereby staying to the right side of the road. The French Revolution of 1789 gave a big push for right-hand travel in the rest of Europe, as the aristocracy travelled on the left of the road, forcing the peasantry over to the right, and after the storming of the Bastille, aristocrats wanted to keep a low profile and started joining the peasants on the right. It was in 1794 in Paris that an official “Keep Right” rule was introduced, then paralleled in Denmark as compulsory in 1793. Napoleon spread right sided driving to the Low Countries of Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemborg, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Russia, and most of Spain and Italy. Britain, Austro-Hugarian Empire, and Portugal resisted Napoleon. Sweden ceded Finland to right driving Russia after the Russo-Swedish War in 1809, and decreed in 1858 to make Finland swap sides. Left hand driving was made mandatory in Britain in 1835. Japan on its own had its traffic going to the left since the Edo period in 1867 when the Samurai ruled the country, and by 1872 it was official. Early colonization of the Americas was once left sided, but after independence from England, they changed to right hand driving. The first American law to keep right was passed in Pennsylvania in 1792, New York in 1804, and New Jersey in 1813. Canadians didn’t leave the left until shortly after the 2nd World War. British Columbia switched to the right in the 1920s to conform with the rest of Canada and the U.S. Newfoundland drove on the left until 1947. After Germany annexed Austria in 1938, Hitler ordered traffic to move from the left to the right overnight. American Cars were designed to be driven on the right by locating driver’s controls on the vehicle’s left side. Today only four European countries drive on the left: Ireland, the United Kingdom, Cyprus, and Malta. Samoa was the first country to ever change from the right hand side to the left hand side (done on September 7, 2009) and was done so to make it easier to import cheap cars from left-hand driving Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Turn signals are mounted normally on the left side of the steering column, including right handed vehicles in the UK and the left handed vehicles in America and the rest of Europe. But Vehicles built in Australia and Japan, have the turn signal lever mounted on the right.
Dollar Rent-A-Car ( Portland International Airport )
I’ve always been a BUDGET Rent-A-Car man, but this time I wandered outside of my usual to Carrentals.com and was lured over to Dollar for cost and a deal that had Budget quite beat. $67 Lock-n-Low special from Thursday late night through Sunday early evening. Since I’m not a credit card user, their web site said they only took a $250 hold on funds from your debit card vs. Budget’s $300 hold. I’m a budget traveller and that $50 difference is a world of difference for me. I completely disagree with the pirate-tactics of car rental agencies to lock your bank account funds in such a way when using debit cards instead of credit – but unfortunately the industry has us trapped. Dollar at least appears more sympathetic by having a lower hold fee. There was no line or wait at the Portland airport to pick up my car. The agent was very friendly (though tried to get me to add in extras) and hooked me up with a nice subaru (see above picture). The car was very new, clean, with heated seats, electric windows, sunroof, great sound system, and all the perks you’ve come to love in a vehicle. I loved my rental. The check-out process was streamlined. Oddly though when he checked me out, he stated you couldn’t leave the state of Oregon or Washington. It didn’t matter for this trip since I was just staying in Oregon – but in the future could see a problem with that. Unlimited Mileage and affordable prices. No problems with the car. It was a very nice ride. Check in was very efficient, streamlined, and got my receipt quickly. I had a very positive experience with Dollar. Thank you Dollar! Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. Well counted my blessings too soon: They took the $250 debit card hold and charged it, the day AFTER I returned the vehicle. No charge for the $67 has appeared on my statement as of this writing (2/3/10) but they took my $250 and still have not returned it. After this experience, I’ve become wary of Dollar. Especially since after an hour of phone calls with them yesterday (2/2/10) ending in no resolution. They said it could take 2-5 days before refunding the money they were supposed to get a credit hold on and release the day the car was returned but instead cashed and are holding out on crediting back. As of this point, the company has made a 2 out of 5 rating as of this date (2/3/10). Rating: 2 stars out of 5 ~ Trust not what the representatives state and be very wary of their accounting techniques. In addition, for the Portland Office – they manage their own accounting. The Manager “Reza” was rude and not helpful, argued with me that he indeed submitted the payback, which according to my bank has not been submitted. With staff such as “Reza” – Dollar is bound to be heading downhill. Continue reading Dollar Rental Car (PDX)→