I have some friends in Ireland who recently pointed out the insane pricing that is going on right now for vehicle rentals in Ireland, particularly Dublin. I checked them out myself and while it is still possible to find some dates and locations that are not way higher than normal summer prices, there is definitely a trend of sky high pricing.
Huge Costs for Vehicle Rentals in Ireland – Up to $51,000 for 7 Day Van Rental
This situation was also highlighted in a recent MSN article that had some surprising tidbits about the ongoing problem with vehicle rentals in Ireland. The article says that some are actually buying second hand vehicles as opposed to renting vehicles due to the ridiculous pricing that is going on.
In addition, there are tourists who are cancelling tours because they are being told they will be charged €7,000 per week – or even more! Tour operators have been purchasing these second-hand minivans to handle their incoming visitors and then selling them when the tours are over. Other tourists are booking touring buses with drivers and even guides because that was much cheaper than actually renting a van.
And “van” seems to be the word that is causing a lot of the issues. When searching random dates through the summer, I was able to find small and medium sized cars for around $1,000 a week or a little more. Some of those are from agencies I had never heard of before but there were some available from the likes of Hertz and Sixt.
But, if you are searching for something larger, which is apparently what many tourists are looking for, you are looking at rental prices that are wayyy higher. This includes mini vans, 9 seat vans, and even large SUVs and pickup trucks. Below are some of the screenshots of prices I was seeing for these kinds of vehicles.
How to Get Cheaper Rentals
If you are planning on going to Ireland this summer and need such a vehicle – or anywhere where vehicle costs have gone way up – there are some tips that will work to keep prices lower.
First, check for locations that are not at the airports. Many car rental companies will have branches in the cities and even shuttle the vehicles there from the airport since the locations are basically just tiny offices. But, the cost of renting from inside the city can be much more reasonable, thanks to less demand (even though they are still essentially using the same pool of vehicles) and no airport chargers.
Also, the cost of car rentals in the north, even at airports, are much cheaper than Dublin so if you are heading up there, it may be even worthwhile to book a flight there to pick up a car! 🙂
Check for At Least 5 Days
Anything under 5 days is on a daily rate so you will be likely paying much more than you would otherwise. So, if you are going to be in the country for at least 5 days, check for a weekly rate. Even if you don’t need it for the whole trip, it can still be cheaper to leave it parked for a few days than renting for 4 days or less.
Rental Smaller Vehicles
It appears that the smaller cars are still at somewhat reasonable prices on many dates. If you need 6 or more seats, consider renting 2 smaller vehicles. Not only will it likely be cheaper but it may even be easier to find street parking with the smaller vehicles and you may come out close to even on what it would have cost for gas for a big van with having just two small vehicles.
Go for a “Different” Kind of Vehicle
I also noticed vehicles that looked more like delivery or contractor vehicles for rent at various locations. Check to see if there are restrictions as to what paperwork you may need to rent it but if there are none, maybe getting a “work” type van could work! They do have kilometer restrictions but some of them were quite larger, like over 700 miles. If that is the case and you aren’t driving more than that, this could work!
Be Careful of Super Cheap Locations!
This goes for anywhere in Europe – be aware of the very cheap prices (or, relatively cheaper than what is also available) from no-name or small/unknown brands. There are a lot of shady things that places like this do and some of them will even discount the prices substantially to upsell you on the insurance, which is way more than regular places. If you choose to go without the insurance, be prepared for a fight on the return about any tiny mark or anything else on the vehicle.
If you normally let your credit card handle it, you will still likely need a police report and that will be hard to come by when you are on your way out of the country and there is some small nick that you don’t even recall where you got it (or, it could have been there when you rented it).
As much as I like having control of my own transportation in a country, public transportation can be a great and cheap way to get around. If you are going to normal tourist destinations, you may find that there are very frequent buses to those locations.
Warning on “Pay at Counter” Reservations
Many of these locations offer the “pay at counter” option but you may want to pay ahead of time. I absolutely hate paying ahead of time but if they have a good cancellation policy even with the pay-now, this could be the way to go. You would hate to show up and find that they rented “your” reserved car to someone else who paid a higher price for it.
While travel is on again in a very big way, there are certain elements of travel that are recovering much slower than others or being impeded in their return due to inflation and other global issues. One such area is the vehicle rentals in Ireland and their sky high cost – it appears to be a very big problem.