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Taking a hire car from the UK

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Does anyone have a view? Toofy Grin I've just done a search but "hire car" is quite a popular topic and I'm clearly failing to define my parameters sufficiently.

I have always wanted to drive to the Alps but sadly my old truck probably wouldn't make it anymore. With the current situation driving becomes an interesting alternative and hiring is something I could do last minute. We've already booked to go to

But I would appreciate some hints and tips:

- should I hire in Uk or is it worth gettinh to France and then hiring?
- would UK hires have all the legal requirements to drive in France?
- as I am in Southampton, would overnight ferry from Portsmouth be a good option?
- am I missing anything
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
If you are intent on hiring a car, and you want to go from Portsmouth, then I would advise to hire on the French side (Cherbourg has a EuropeCar dealer), and just buy some chains from a service station / supermarket en route.
Hiring a car plus, the cost of driving, plus the cost of ferries would surely be more expensive than flying though ??
There's tons of reasons not to fly - environment, covid, schedules not convenient, aeroplane stations, parking, transfers... yada yada yada....
You thought about the train ?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Another option: Do you know anyone who would loan you their car and extend their cover to name you for a short period? I've done this for my kids from time to time and been surprised at how little it cost. I also did it for my brother once when he really needed an estate car plus roof rack for a couple of days. Obviously, you'd need to have a very clear agreement about what would happen if you wrote their vehicle off or had an accident etc. even if their cover provides them with a hire car during repairs. Perhaps you could offer to do a wine/beer/coffee shop in France for them by way of compensation for the wear and tear.
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
This is one where you need to get on the phone direct to the hire companies, as the can/can't take it over the channel part is often deep in the T&Cs of the specific rental agreement (so could be OK hired through broker X but not via broker Y). You won't get the cheapest deal going direct but will get a clear answer and know you're taxed/insured/etc.

Getting to France and then hiring gets over the legal issue (assuming you're staying in France - you need to double check with continental hire policies regarding crossing borders too, but this is usually more a case of informing them and maybe paying a ~€30-€50 fee for Western Europe).

Other options to consider, which may or may not apply to you:
- Do any friends/family have a suitable car? I found myself without a working car for a trip to France at short notice but had a friend who was willing for me to pay the cost of getting added to the insurance on his second car for a month. Was basically the same cost as the cheapest "Can drive to Europe" hire car I found but meant driving a Honda S2000 rather than a 1.1 Corsa, so not a hard choice.
- Are you in a position to buy and insure a more suitable car for a month or two? You then have the buy car/drive to France and back/sell car option.

And remember the law in France now says you need to have winter tyres in the mountains during the winter, something you may not have on either a UK car, a UK hire car, a French channel port hire car.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Mjit wrote:

And remember the law in France now says you need to have winter tyres in the mountains during the winter, something you may not have on either a UK car, a UK hire car, a French channel port hire car.


Wow I missed that! I new it applies in Austria and has been talked about in France didn't realise it had been passed into law.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Mjit wrote:


And remember the law in France now says you need to have winter tyres in the mountains during the winte.


FAKE NEWS ALERT.

This was not enacted into law.
It's still up to prefectoral decree, based around the B26 signage, which allows for chains to be fitted over normal tyres.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

And remember the law in France now says you need to have winter tyres in the mountains during the winter, something you may not have on either a UK car, a UK hire car, a French channel port hire car.

It doesn't

When we broke down a couple of years ago the breadown company wanted us to take the hire car to Calais then cross the channel as foot pasengers and pick up another hire car in Dover. In the end it was a lot more complicated than that with two hire cars two long taxi rides and a ferry to get back home.

If you can get to a channel port or airport then I suggest you hire a car in France or as @Mjit, says it may be better to simply buy a new car. A second hand fiat panda shouldn't cost too much.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I did this, admittedly a few years ago, when my car broke down in Northampton on the way to a 2 week ski holiday in france. I only had the simple recovery insurance so after arranging for the car to be fixed whilst I was away managed to hire a similar car directly through a peugeot dealer who were quite happy to cover the european travel. So maybe the answer is to look outside the main hire companies ? I would not have fancied trying to carry all the "stuff" we had with us on and off a ferry !
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
WindOfChange wrote:
Mjit wrote:


And remember the law in France now says you need to have winter tyres in the mountains during the winte.


FAKE NEWS ALERT.

This was not enacted into law.
It's still up to prefectoral decree, based around the B26 signage, which allows for chains to be fitted over normal tyres.


Sorry - must have missed one of the twists and turns one the will they/won't they of that law.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I spoke to local car hire company in London a couple of years back as I was looking at it for contingency planning, they were ok and didn't indicate it was anything special.

They did want pre-booking and usually that would have to include a day previous to hire to allow them to supply vehicle specified, prep it and make up paperwork pack to comply with regs etc. From memory that was Kendal, a SE based hire co.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
We hired a van to take a huge load of stuff down to our apartment, when we were taking possession. It was no problem, and when we explained what we were doing the company advised us to take one of their older, scruffier, vans which had a big engine, which made for a more comfortable long distance drive. We had to buy chains on a "sale or return" basis and as we needed them for the last quarter of a mile (typical!) we couldn't return them. The van, from Wessex Van Hire, had just had a door bashed, and resprayed and the resulting "SEX VAN HIRE" on the side cause much hilarity amongst the French builders.

We lived within ten minutes drive of the Portsmouth Ferry Port and went P & O on that occasion (free with Tesco points) - picked up a table we really wanted from the IKEA near the top of the A6 south from Paris - but more recently have always driven to Folkestone and Eurotunnel - the overnight crossings with Brittany Ferries are expensive (you really need a cabin) and there's no avoiding Paris. The drive down from Calais is more straightforward, avoiding both Paris and the horrid A6.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Thank you everyone. The email alert function failed and I've spent the last few days thinking no one cared. Sad .

I would like to do it as a covid response but mainly for the adventure. Thank you everyone for your ideas and experiences.

@pam w, does it take significantly less driving time time to drive overall via Calais (I'm just west of Southampton). The Google map routes look to be similar times once in France.

@Mjit, the idea of buying then selling is an intriguing one. My car really needs replacing but the time isn't quite right for that. My neighbours have a place in France and a decent vehicle but I don't think I quite know them well enough to borrow.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Enterprise and Thrifty don't allow it.

Budget charge £126 for 8-14 days 'Continental Cover'. You may also need additional driver at £13 per day, which is steep if your second driver is only doing a couple of stints.

Overall despite the costs, it could be a very sensible option. Probably much cheaper than keeping an underused large/expensive car outside your house 51 weeks a year.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

does it take significantly less driving time time to drive overall via Calais

No. But elapsed time is generally less, the roads in France quieter than via Paris (which can be a real pain if you catch it wrong) and the A6.

Quote:

Overall despite the costs, it could be a very sensible option. Probably much cheaper than keeping an underused large/expensive car outside your house 51 weeks a year

This is a good point.
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