Advantages And Disadvantages Of Travelling By Car

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Advantages And Disadvantages Of Travelling By Car

With so many scenic routes out there, taking a road trip can be one of the best ways to see the world’s beauty. If you’re planning your next big trip and considering whether to travel by car, you need to know the main advantages and disadvantages of travelling by car.

Travelling by car gives you an immense sense of freedom. It opens up the possibility for many adventures along the way.

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When you travel by car, you certainly enjoy the journey much more than alternative modes of transport.

Even so, whichever way you choose to travel, there will be a downside.

Before you embark on your travel journey, you should weigh the pros and cons of travelling by car first.

5 Advantages Of Travelling By Car

Most of the time, travelling by car makes your life a lot easier.

There are several advantages of car transport including the fact that it gives you more flexibility, freedom, and privacy when you set out on your adventure.

1. You Have More Flexibility And Freedom

When you travel by car, you are on your schedule and have complete control over your trip. You can go at your own pace and stop whenever and wherever you like.

You don’t have to rely on timetables, worry about missing flights or buses, or deal with delays caused by public transport. You also have the freedom to change your route if needed to avoid traffic jams.

2. It’s Easy To Transport Your Luggage Around

Another awesome thing about car travel is that you have no baggage limits or restrictions.

The size of your car is the only limit, but if you’re renting a car for your road trip, you can choose a vehicle that is spacious and roomy.

Furthermore, once you load up, you can keep your luggage there. You don’t have to carry it around or wait to receive it when you arrive at the other end, as with air travel.

Make sure to read our post about packing for road trips before you hit the road.

3. You Can See And Explore More Places

You can see so much more of the country you’re in by traveling by road rather than air.

What’s more, when you take a road trip, you can strategically plan your route to incorporate many scenic spots along the way.

You can also stop off in small villages to get a taste of the local life and experience the country’s culture.

There are always lots of unexpected delights too. On a road trip, you will often come across exciting sights you didn’t know existed.

You will also have spontaneous adventures that you would never have imagined.

4. It Can Be A Fun Bonding Experience

Travel is better with friends, and this is particularly true when you travel by car. The journey is often the best part of a road trip because you bond with your travel companions.

You might be traveling with lifelong buddies or friends you have recently made.

Either way, taking a road trip together is a brilliant way to get to know each other on a deeper level and have some memorable conversations.

5. You Have More Privacy And Comfort

Travelling by car with your friends means you don’t have to sit next to strangers for hours on end.

Depending on how many people are on the trip and how big your car is, you will most likely have more space to stretch out than you would on a plane or coach.

In general, car travel is one of the most comfortable modes of transport.

You will feel more at ease and can sleep without worrying about someone stealing your belongings.

5 Disadvantages Of Travelling By Car

Since you are in charge of the transport that gets you from one place to another, there’s always a chance that you could end up getting lost or your car could break down.

Travelling by car might give freedom, flexibility, and privacy, but it can also bring some liabilities to the table. Let’s talk about them.

1. It Can Feel Long And Exhausting

Perhaps the biggest drawback of car travel is how tired it can make you feel. Spending hours in the car each day can zap your energy, even if you’re not the one driving. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Take regular stops to stretch your legs and plan short walks at scenic viewpoints to reinvigorate yourself.

What’s more, to prevent boredom, try to make the time in the car as fun as possible. Put on your favorite playlists and sing along, or play games such as ‘I spy.’

If you’re traveling with your partner, read our list of questions for couples on a road trip.

2. You Might Experience Car Problems

Many people avoid traveling by car because of the fear of breaking down in the middle of nowhere. This is an understandable concern if you’re in an unfamiliar country or are driving through long stretches of desert or countryside.

If you’re worried about getting stranded, ensure you have roadside assistance cover and travel insurance in place. Also, keep a stash of water and snacks, and consider packing a roadside emergency kit.

3. You Could Get Lost

Even with Sat Navs and Google Maps, it’s still possible to get lost on your road trip. Again, this can be a scary thought if you are in the area or country for the first time and don’t know your way around.

Reduce the chance of getting lost by taking a Sat Nav or GPS device that doesn’t rely on wifi, and have an old-school paper map with you for backup.

4. Travelling By Car Can Become Costly

If you’re covering a great distance, car travel can become quite costly, and sometimes it can be much cheaper to fly.

This will depend on the gas prices of where you are and how many travel companions you have to split the costs.

For better gas mileage, try to maintain a speed of 55 mph as much as possible.

5. There Is The Risk Of Theft

There is always the risk that your belongings will get stolen while you are away from the vehicle.

While theft can happen anywhere, if you’re travelling by car through a dangerous country, the chances are much higher.

Even so, practicing caution will reduce the likelihood of this happening.

Never leave your belongings in plain sight, take valuables with you, park under lights at night, and get travel insurance that covers theft.

Final Thoughts On Travelling By Car

As you can see, there are many advantages and disadvantages of travelling by car. If you choose to travel by car on your next trip, prepare well and take precautions to ensure a fun and memorable road trip experience.

Take a look at our road-trip quotes for inspiration.

Not sure if traveling by car is the best option for you? Read the following guide:

Renting A Car In Ireland: 10 Important Tips Plus Mistakes To Avoid

Tips For Renting A Car In Ireland

Ireland Driving Guide

Renting a car in Ireland and driving around the country yourself is a wonderful way to experience the Emerald Isle. But here’s some advice about the best way to do it.

When my family and I were planning our genealogy trip to Ireland in order to learn more about our ancestors, we were initially hesitant about renting a car to explore the country by ourselves.

Ireland has a bit of a reputation for narrow and scary winding roads!

Plus of course, they drive on the other side of the road, so there’s that. But the more we researched, the more we realized car rental in Ireland would allow us to make our itinerary as imaginative as possible.

I love the freedom of road trips and planning my own travel itineraries. Ireland is such a diverse country that it made sense to rent a car so we could stop anywhere to discover small villages, castles, and go hiking at our own pace.

Here are some important tips we learned from our experience renting a car in Ireland, to help you save money and stay safe while driving around the country!

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How To Rent A Car In Ireland

1. Should You Self-Drive In Ireland?

Driving in Ireland for Tourists

Hey, if you love those big group bus tours, by all means, go book one. It’s a decent way to see Ireland if you don’t have a lot of time.

No planning, no driving, just sit back and let someone else do all the work!

But if you’re like me, you prefer the adventure of independent travel.

No set schedule or timetable — driving around Ireland with the freedom to stop anyplace cool you find along the way.

If that’s the kind of traveler you are, renting a car in Ireland is the way to go!

Just keep in mind that some of the back roads in Ireland can be very narrow, and often feel like a single lane (but they’re not). With some practice, you’ll gain confidence on them!

Another nice thing we enjoyed about having a car was the ability to store things in the trunk, stopping off in Irish towns with small travel backpacks rather than hauling luggage everywhere.

2. Where To Rent Your Car In Ireland

Learning to Drive on the Opposite Side!

Some common car rental companies in Ireland include Europecar, Enterprise, Sixt, Hertz, a local one called Dooley, and many more.

But the best site to book your car is Discover Cars. They search both local and international car rental companies to help you find the best possible price. This is the easiest way to rent a car in Ireland.

We rented our car from Dublin Airport after spending a few days in the city. Our South West route brought us to Cork on the M8 before moving on to Killarney National Park and then Glengarriff, where my grandmother was born.

After tracking down our family history in this small coastal fishing village, we drove North on the Wild Atlantic Way up to Dingle and the famous Cliffs of Moher, then to Galway, and finally back to Dublin.

Dublin Airport: Plan to pick up your car about 60 minutes after your flight arrives. When departing, try to be at the airport at least 3 1/2 hours before your flight leaves. Because returning your rental car and catching a shuttle back to the airport can take up to 30 minutes.

Shannon Airport: Plan to pick up your car about 30 minutes after your flight arrives. When departing, try to be at the airport at least 2 1/2 hours before your flight leaves. Again, because of the shuttle.

The Gap Of Dunloe The Amazing Cliffs of Moher

3. Car Rental Insurance In Ireland

Some of the rumors about driving in Ireland are true, and the roads are VERY narrow in areas. Especially the back roads outside Ireland’s smaller towns. Don’t worry, I’ll share some tips for dealing with them below.

This is why I highly recommend getting full insurance coverage.

Typically, rental cars in Ireland come with a basic Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), but this isn’t exactly insurance, and only covers the car for up to €1000-3000 EUROS worth of damage.

This is the amount they hold on your credit card until you return the car in one piece. CDW typically does not include tire, cracked windshield, or undercarriage damage either.

While you can often save money booking your car with a good travel credit card that includes car rental insurance, you REALLY must read the fine print, because many people wrongly assume their card covers them in Ireland.

If you get in a wreck driving in Ireland, declined full coverage, and you suddenly learn your credit card doesn’t actually cover the damage — you’re screwed. I can’t tell you how many travel horror stories I’ve heard like this…

It’s why I usually pre-book full coverage online. It’s cheaper than at the counter — and then you won’t have to worry about accidents at all!

4. How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Car In Ireland?

The Stunning Cobh Cathedral

Renting a car in Ireland is going to cost you around $25-$40 USD a day, depending on the type of car you get. Our 4 door sedan was about $30 per day.

I recommend renting a car with an actual trunk (no hatchbacks) to hide your luggage from prying eyes. It helps to prevent break-ins if thieves can’t see your stuff.

Gas Prices

Gas (petrol) prices in Ireland might seem cheap to Americans, but remember that the rest of the world quotes gas in Liters, not Gallons (1 Gallon = 3.78 Liters). Currently, gas costs about $5.90 per gallon (€1.40 per liter) in Ireland. Diesel cars will often save you some money on gas.

Automatic vs Manual

Automatic cars are more expensive to rent than manual cars (but manuals are more common in Ireland, and Europe in general), and you must specify what type you want when booking. If you’ve never driven a manual car before, don’t start in Ireland! It’s safer to get an automatic.

One-Way Rentals

There’s an additional fee for one-way car rentals in Ireland, which can vary by company. For example, if you want to drop off the car in a different city than where you started from.

Admin Fee

If you opt to use your own credit card insurance, companies in Ireland will charge you an “admin fee” of about €30 EURO.

Credit Card Fee

I was charged an extra €5 EURO just for using a credit card. Which is strange to me, but typical in Ireland.

Irish Taxes

Car rentals in Ireland have a very high tax rate of 13.6%. Ouch! Nothing you can really do about it.

5. Age Requirements For Renting A Car

The minimum age for driving in Ireland is 18 years old, however most car rental companies enforce their own age limit of 21 years old to rent a car. They also charge an additional fee if you’re under 24 years old.

6. Irish Driving Laws Tourists Should Know

Driving Through the Town of Killarney

The most confusing part of driving in Ireland for most tourists is driving on the left side of the road — with the driver’s seat on the right side of the car.

If you’ve never been to a country that drives on the left, it’s wise to practice a bit in a small town before you head onto the highways of Ireland.

For example, just North of Dublin Airport is the town of Swords. Maybe spend an hour or two getting the hang of driving there before you enter Dublin or onto the main highways.

While challenging at first, especially if driving a manual, you’ll get the hang of it quickly and will be ready to explore Ireland by car in no time!

The speed limit on local roads is generally around 80 km/h while on national highways it’s up to 100 km/h.

7. International Driver’s License

No, you do not need an international driver’s license to drive in Ireland or rent a car there. Just bring your passport, credit card, and your driver’s license from your home country.

8. Helpful Tips For Driving In Ireland

Ross Castle at Sunrise

Watch out for sheep! In many smaller towns, local shepherds move their sheep on the roads. You can easily round a sharp bend and find yourself stuck behind a huge flock walking down the road.

Narrow back roads in Ireland don’t have standard break-down lanes as we have in America. There’s often no room for error or pulling over.

Sometimes your side-view mirror will be inches away from stone walls or hedges while passing other cars! It can make driving in Ireland nerve-wracking.

Remember to carry some cash for road tolls on Ireland’s major highways. Irish tolls can cost between $1-$3 for a passenger car.

In the countryside, some roads are truly single lane, but with traffic in both directions. In these situations, there are pull-outs so one of you can pull over for the other to pass.

USEFUL TIP: Buy a cheap “learner” sticker (L) sold at gas stations so Irish locals don’t get pissed off at your incompetence on their roads!

9. Extra Advice For Renting A Car In Ireland

The Colorful Town of Glengarriff, Ireland

You don’t need a rental car for Dublin itself. Parking can be a pain and Dublin is very walk-able with excellent public transportation too.

If you’re starting from Dublin, maybe book the rental car for the days after Dublin, when you begin the proper road trip.

Don’t book a car without reading the company reviews. You’ll find plenty of bad reviews for every company (people love to complain online), but try to pick one with the LEAST bad reviews.

You may not always get the make/model/type of car you booked. If they give you a smaller car, or a manual when you asked for an automatic, be pushy and ask for an upgrade.

Inspect your car thoroughly and record video on your smartphone pointing out damage before you leave. This is a backup if they attempt to charge you for damage that was already there. This is a common car rental scam in Ireland….

Pay attention to if your Ireland rental car takes regular petrol or diesel fuel, so you fill up with the correct type at gas stations.

Use Google Maps on your smartphone for directions instead of renting a GPS device. Simply use your own hands-free car mount and a good international cell phone plan.

10. Accident & Breakdown Information

In an emergency, you can dial the European Emergency Phone Number 112 in Ireland. This is similar to dialing 911 in the United States.

However if your car simply breaks down, and no one is injured, its probably better to call your Ireland car rental company’s own emergency roadside assistance number located on the rental agreement.

Enjoy Your Ireland Road Trip!

Exploring the small villages, ancient castles, green mountains, and coastal cliffs of Ireland in a rental car was definitely the right choice for us.

Self-drive road trips get off the beaten track to see things most people miss! ★

Rent A Car In Ireland Search both local and international car rental companies to help you find a good deal. Check Latest Prices

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Renting a Car in Puerto Rico (A Local’s “How to” Guide)

Whether you’re going on a road trip or you’re just staying in San Juan, renting a car in Puerto Rico is your best option to save time and explore the island at your own pace.

I am a Puerto Rico local. I’ve rented cars myself on the island, and I know that you may (understandably) have questions about fees, insurance, and the entire Puerto Rico car rental reservation process.

Because I don’t want you to worry as I did with my first Puerto Rico rental car, I’ve put together all the tips and tricks you need to know about how to rent a car in Puerto Rico.

Let’s dive in:

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

Best Car Rental Sites in Puerto Rico

Making your vehicle reservation from home and using car rental websites can help you find the best deals among different rental car companies.

Here are some of the best rental cars websites to search for inventory in Puerto Rico:

Our Top Choice Discover Cars Discover Cars is a lesser know, but incredible, car rental search engine. It often finds cheaper fares than other websites. Plus, we love how easy it is to compare reviews of different rental agencies & that they don't hide any fees. Search Car Rentals Now

Also Great Kayak Kayak is a big name in the car rental space. Compare and organize the fares for car rental locations and providers from the lowest to the highest price, plus it allows you to book hotels, and flights too. Search Car Rentals Now

Also Great A site from the folks behind It searches and find fares within your budget. If you find a better offer elsewhere, they will match the price. Search Car Rentals Now

Do You Need a Rental Car in Puerto Rico?

A rental car is the best way to move around for visitors that want to explore Puerto Rico on their own. Renting a car provides flexibility and it’s more cost-effective than paying for taxis for long distances or booking tours every day. Rental cars can also allow travelers to reach destinations that public transportation routes don’t cover.

As I wrote in my guide to how to drive in Puerto Rico, the island is overall pretty friendly for drivers. There are multiple car rental companies in Puerto Rico, especially in the area of San Juan and Isla Verde. A car rental is the best method of transportation if you’re planning to leave Old San Juan frequently and you want to stay in other parts of the island.

Although there is public transportation in Puerto Rico, the routes are quite limited to the north’s popular cities, and the language barrier makes it almost impossible for English speakers to communicate with drivers.

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