Car Hire Tips…
Car hire is usually the most sensible way to keep your freedom and flexibility while travelling and in some parts of the country may be essential. On the down side, hiring you own vehicle can also bring with it serious complications. There are several steps and precautions that may be taken to ensure that there are no problems resulting from short term vehicle hire.
Make sure that the vehicle that you choose is appropriate for its purpose, rather than just booking the cheapest one available. The result of an appropriate vehicle choice is the difference between squeezing three kids into a miniscule hatchback lacking air-conditioning during the height of the Mediterranean summer or not. Think carefully about the size of vehicle needed, the terrain to be traversed, potential mileage to be undertaken; as well as any extras, such as age appropriate car seats for children, ski racks or satellite navigation systems, which you may require.
When it comes time to book your vehicle, try to find the best possible rates by shopping around or making use of aggregator engines. Don`t forget to check company sites as well as not all companies join comparative online sites but may offer their own direct discounts. For short term bookings one of the major rental companies will most likely provide the most competitive rates; however when arranging longer term bookings get quotes from local companies. Bear in mind the amount of travelling you aim to do in the vehicle as often local companies lack adequate support for emergencies such as accidents or breakdowns.
It may seem obvious but many people do not read the hire agreement prior to confirming their reservation. This is essential as you need to ensure that there is clarity on any rental restrictions, penalties that can be applied with regards lateness of dropping off or picking up and any additional charges applied. Consider that often the rates advertised represent off-peak tariffs, inappropriate vehicles, or may only be a fraction of the actual hire cost once taxes or other fees are added. It may even be possible to save some cash by avoiding high airport surcharges on vehicle hire if you take a taxi to the hotel and then pick up the hire car elsewhere in the city later.
Sometimes it is possible to circumvent the hefty insurance charges levied by the rental company themselves if you have personal cover in place or if you use a major credit card to make the payment on your hire cars. Check your vehicle prior to leaving and make sure to report any damage or faults, if these go unreported then it is possible they will be added to your bill upon return of the vehicle. Fill the car with fuel yourself prior to returning the vehicle using fuel stations that are further from the airport. These are usually much cheaper than the ones conveniently located just down from the return depot. Make sure that you remove any personal items from the car before you hand back the keys and do not return the vehicle early or late as either may earn additional charges. To avoid problems, try to ensure that the deposit is refunded while you wait instead of after you have left.
Los Angeles is a city which truly offers something for everyone. From the iconic Hollywood landmarks, world-famous nightspots and immense shopping opportunities for travelling couples to the film studio visits and beaches for families it truly has it all. With so much to see inside and just outside the city, car hire is a must in order to get the most out of your visit.
If flying into LAX Airport, the car hire desks here offer ample opportunity to pick your vehicle before setting off. Car hire Los Angeles is offered by many companies and finding a cheap deal online is not difficult. It is important to be aware that most U.S vehicles function with automatic transition, so be sure to familiarise yourself with this before booking and also be sure to book your hire car well in advance of your trip to ensure your vehicle is equipped to meet your required needs, which can be especially important if travelling with a family. Also bring a sat-nav along to help you navigate your way around this sprawling metropolis.
So where to start with the City of Angels? The Hollywood landmarks are a sensible suggestion, with the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard as good as anywhere to begin. Here you’ll see more than 2000 of those famous bronze stars lining the walkway celebrating the biggest icons of stage and screen over the decades. The nearby Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is equally iconic and is where to find the hand and footprints of stars cast in cement. From here, you will be able to book a tour of Hollywood stars’ homes, or if you pick up a map you can drive around them yourself. Also, with car hire, what better way is there to enjoy the nearby Sunset Boulevard and Sunset Strip as you pass through the mansions that reach into West Hollywood and on to Malibu to explore the famous coastline as well as Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach?
As night falls you can busy yourself at one of the world-famous nightspots such as the Whisky A Go Go or Viper Room on the Strip or check out the listings to see which internationally famous superstar is performing at the House of Blues or at the Hollywood Bowl just along Highyway 110.
As mentioned, if travelling with a family there is also much to see and do. One of the most important visits has to be to Universal Studios, where you will find a multitude of themed rides and attractions and a one-hour tram ride around the 420 acre site where you can also visit working movie sets.
Shopping should also be on your ‘must-do’ list. Drive along the famous Rodeo Drive and into Beverly Hills’s ‘Golden Triangle’ where you will find designer boutiques wherever you look; from Tiffany to Cartier and Ralph Lauren to Armani – every high-fashion name is waiting for you!
Another notable drive is along Mulholland Drive and on to the San Fernando Valley where you will find the Warner Brothers Studios. As well as being able to tour the facilities on a golf cart, you are able to view working sets, movie sets, set craft workshops and tour the museum which features many iconic artefacts that have been used on the big screen throughout the ages.
Art buffs can also get their fix in L.A, most notably at the J. Paul Getty Museum and Centre. The immense art collection owned by Paul Getty will even interest those with only a passing interest in art, which includes Van Gogh’s and more. The exterior of the building will impress in its own right, with the building constructed using marble, surrounded by a wonderful landscaped garden.
You’ll need your car again for an early start to head for the Paramount Pictures Studio Tour. Found on Melrose Avenue (where even more designer boutiques can be found) this fascinating walking tour takes you behind the scenes, showing you live film and television sets in action, where you will more than likely be able to see a well-known celebrity at work!
Once you feel like you have seen all you have wanted to within downtown L.A (if this is ever possible!?), your car will come to the fore to take you to one of America’s most-loved attractions – Disneyland. Disney is around an hour’s drive south of downtown Los Angeles in Anaheim County, where both children and adults alike will be mesmerised by the attractions and world-beating rides on offer.
Also consider Berry Farm Theme Park in Orange County. Found in Buena Park, you’ll find one of the country’s oldest theme parks in America which features many modern thrill rides.
If all this sounds like too much for one holiday, then go and take time out on some of California’s most stunning beaches which are all easy to reach with the benefit of car hire. The names’ simply roll off the tongue; Newport Beach, San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach; all of these are at your disposal with the aid of a car allowing you to go when you want for as long as you want.
Nothing can compare to a road trip for its sense of freedom, adventure and flexibility – it is perhaps the best way to explore any country. But in a world filled with roads and those roads increasingly packed with cars, which is the best road trip to choose for your holiday?
Car hire is the most practical way to explore any country and once you have decided on your destination, making sure you have a good vehicle at a reasonable price should be your top priority.
South Africa has become one of the world’s top targets for any intrepid tourist. It is home to the famous Garden Route – a beautiful stretch of road, which winds itself gracefully along the south east of the country, giving spectacular views of mountains and the Indian Ocean.
Australia, with its miles and miles of seemingly endless highways, is also an excellent choice for a road trip. The east coast of the country offers the most with the cosmopolitan cities of Sydney and Melbourne and the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef to explore.
However, it is the US that is the true spiritual home of the road trip and in a country so large and diverse, any tourist is spoilt for choice. And therein lies the problem: which is the best trip to choose? The Pacific Highway is near the top of the list – as is the Oregon Trail – but the route to beat all others has to be Route 66.
Built in 1926 and running from Chicago to Los Angeles at a length of just under 2,500 miles, it is also known as the Mother Road. There have been improvements and alterations to the original route but after being decertified as a US highway in 1985, it has now gone through a revival and is firmly lodged in American’s hearts as part of their cultural heritage.
Travelling east to west is the most natural direction to take on this enchanting two-lane road. After leaving Chicago you pass through Springfield and then hit St. Louis. The city is famous for its Gateway Arch and is worth spending more than a day exploring. Other cities and towns on the route include Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Amarillo, with fantastic scenery instantly recognisable to any fans of American cinema. Life seems to move at a slower pace along this road, but this is what makes Route 66 so special. It is a link back to US history – a different place at a different time. Albuquerque and Flagstaff soon follow on the road, before Los Angeles looms over the horizon.
The beauty of a road trip is the personal experience – it’s no one else’s holiday, just yours. The flexibility means that if you are unhappy with where you are just get in your car and drive. Although an itinerary is helpful, it should only be a guide and never a rulebook. If you bear that in mind then your road trip will be one of your best holidays.