Rental car hell…Disconcerting rules, regulations and conditions…

Cows…they are cute.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“Sports are huge in Ireland. Irish people take their sports seriously and get very into soccer, hurling, camogie, and handball.”

We’re running out of photos and need to get out to take more. With the cold and rainy days this week, continuing today and possibly into Sunday, any remaining photos are at a premium.  

Today, we’re working on the various holiday houses we’ve selected for the 62 nights in England beginning on August 23, 2019, where we’ll stay while we are awaiting a transatlantic cruise to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, ending on November 8, 2019.  

We’ll spend some time in the US visiting family and friends.  During this period, we’ll head to Nevada, where we’ll see son Richard and sister Susan, who live an hour apart and take care of some “business.”

We’ll need to renew our driver’s licenses and also our passports which will expire in 2021. It makes sense to renew our passports while already in the US, which requires us to mail in our current passports while the renewals are processed.  

Donkeys are highly regarded as rescue animals in Ireland.

We don’t want to send our passports to the US Department of State while in another country. It’s unsafe to be without our passports in hand and based on our history. We cannot depend on the mail getting to us in a timely fashion.

A few nights ago, we rented a car for our time in England.  Like those in Ireland, prices are higher than we’ve paid anywhere in the world over the past almost seven years.  

As we often do, we use to book rental cars since we’ve found their prices to be the most reasonable. Also, we’re able to select a vehicle from the many providers they work with, including Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Europcar (our favorite), and others.

We recently booked the rental car from with a company with which we weren’t familiar Easirent.  In error, we failed to read the terms and conditions of their car rentals.

When we arrived in Dublin, Ireland, almost three weeks ago, we discovered a few disturbing shocks; one, the Easirent pick-up location was far from the airport, and when we called for the shuttle, they explained their shuttle was “down.” We’d have to take a taxi, paying out of our pocket.  

Shearing sheep is a popular business in Connemara.

This was ridiculous. I was determined not to let this fact slide. I spoke to a manager at Easirent and insisted they send someone to pick us up or we were going to cancel our three months rental. We waited outside for about 30 minutes for the arrival of a driver.

Once we arrived at the Easirent office, we were shocked once again. No doubt, our error wasn’t reading the terms and conditions in advance of making the booking.  Little did we know that this company charged an additional Euro 2800, US $3135.57 for the excess, a fee to cover costs in the event of an accident which were charged to our credit card, not just “held.”

After we paid all the fees (not including insurance) Euro 4826, US $5404.37 including a “fuel fee” (Euro 95, US $106.39), we were frustrated we’d had to have this entire amount charged on our credit card and…that it would take three weeks after returning the car for the excess to be returned to our card.

The actual cost for the car was Euro 1471, US $1647.29. What a ripoff! As we perused rental car options a few evenings ago, we bypassed every Easirent offering knowing full well it wouldn’t be acceptable. 

Europcar only charged a refundable security deposit Pound Sterling 250, US $316 and Pounds Sterling 1200, US $1517 for the “excess” (on a credit card hold on that portion of the credit card used) and fully released from the card a few days after returning the car.

Here again, the little horns are growing. Here’s a link on why some sheep have horns and others do not.

As a result of the differences and procedures for Easirent and Europcar (and Avis, Alamo, and Hertz), we will never book a car through Easirent again. The prices for the actual rental car itself are similar amongst all the cars, depending on the value and style selected. 

It’s all of these other charges that made a huge difference, along with the inconveniences we faced when we arrived in Dublin, exhausted from the long flights from South Africa and dealing with immigration in South Africa.

Today, as we book the multiple holiday homes in the UK, we’ll be mapping the various locations for the most convenient options. Once booked and approved by the owners, we’ll share some photos and details.

Once again, we’re reminded of the importance of reviewing the terms and conditions for all travel venues, whether rentals, cars, cruises, hotels, and flights.  

This was the first time we’d failed to review the terms and conditions, but we’ve learned our lesson and won’t avoid doing so in the future. I can only excuse us for being distracted when we booked the car only a few weeks before  Sleavingouth Africa for Ireland.

Hopefully, tomorrow we’ll have pinned down our time in England and have news to share.  

Have a fantastic weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, June 1, 2018:

Frank, our resident Francolin, who’s decided to make our yard his permanent residence.  Francolins are highly territorial and extremely noisy when other francolins invade his space, except, of course, for Mrs. Frank. They’ve been building a nest. Francolins are monogamous and mate for life. They nest in grass-lined low-lying shallows. The incubation period is from 18 to 21 days carried out by the female.  Once the eggs hatch, both parents tend to the chicks until their first winter.
We’re looking forward to Frank’s and the Mrs.’ chicks.  For more photos, please click here.

Tasmania…Breathtaking beauty…We’re still on the road…Most perfect travel day yet!

View from the veranda of the Pelican Point Sanctuary in St. Helens, Tasmania.

It was a perfect travel day. We disembarked the ship with ease, found a porter to assist with our awaiting luggage, breezed through immigration, picked up our confiscated power strips and were on our way to the airport, all within 30 minutes.

As we’d expected, we arrived a little too early at the domestic airport, even having to wait for 30 minutes to check our bags. Jetstar has a requirement that bags can’t be checked any sooner than two hours before departure. 

The bed and duvet in the suite were comfortable and warm. The room had a kitchen, spacious bath and large entry room.

The 30 minutes breezed by as well as the waiting period for boarding. In row 4 on the plane, we were comfortably situated in our seats in no time at all. The 90 minute flight was routine and seamless.

Seated area near the large flat screen TV.  Free Wi-Fi was included.

The small domestic airport in Hobart appeared to have only one baggage conveyer. Within 15 minutes we were on our way down the road with the bags on a trolley and anxious to get on the road.

The exterior of the highly rated Mohr and Smith restaurant in St. Helens.

The goal was to make it to our new vacation home in Penguin, Tasmania by yesterday afternoon. Once we began the four hour drive in the new well equipped rental car from the Hobart Airport, which was the fastest rental car process we’d ever experienced, our plan changed.

The atmosphere was trendy and inviting.

With a full sized map book in hand, given to us by the friendly rep at the counter, we made the decision to forgo the shortest route across the island and take the scenic route along the ocean. Doing so, doubled the time required to get to Penguin.

By 5:00 pm, stopping many times for exquisite photos, we decided to spend the night in St. Helens, an ocean/lake town.  We were hungry and tired from the long travel day, having disembarked the ship by 7:15 am, flown from Sydney to Hobart, hauled our bags to the rental car facility, and drove for four hours, we were ready to pack it in for the night.

After 33 nights of complimentary cocktails and wine at the Diamond Club on the ship, neither of us had any interest in drinking alcohol. Most likely, we won’t drink again until the next cruise in three months.

With another four hours of driving ahead of us, we used our Australian hotspot, got online in the car and booked one of three hotels available in the area. We choose the Pelican Point Sanctuary, the highest rated (four stars) in the area at US $156, AU 209, a night (with tax) and couldn’t have been more pleased.

Locally caught thick white fish atop a bed of asparagus and a sautéed zucchini patty. It was delicious and worthy of a five star review on TripAdvisor. 

The quaint resort was surrounded by lake, mountain and ocean views with cattle in the backyard, ducks and geese on various ponds and frogs chirping through the night. We couldn’t have been more at home for the night.

Tom’s meal consisted of Chicken Kiev atop a bed of garlic mashed potatoes, pea puree and roasted carrots.

The manager arranged a dinner reservation for us at 6:15 at the popular restaurant, Mohr and Smith, a short drive from the resort, where we had a perfectly prepared gourmet meal for US $53, AU 72. We were so thrilled with the meal, we wrote a review on TripAdvisor as soon as we returned to the resort. By 9:30, I was asleep, Tom shortly thereafter.

Tom ordered fries as a side while I had a crunchy salad of mixed greens and sprouts.

It’s 6:45 am now as I prepare today’s quick post.We’re anxious to get back on the road to take more photos during one of the most beautiful drives we’ve ever taken in our four years of world travel. Tasmania doesn’t disappoint.

Cattle in the back yard of the resort.

By 8 am, we plan to be on the road to head to Binalong Bay and then, back on the scenic route along the coast to Penguin.  Once we’re unpacked and situated in the house, we’ll grocery shop with a plan to make our first meal in over three months. 

Last night’s waning sun from the resort.

For the first time in months, we slept without air con, bundled under a fluffy duvet. Although it’s almost summer in Tasmania (starts on December 21st) we have no doubt it will be cool over our three months on the island.

There was a pond outside our room with three ducks.

We’ll be back tomorrow with many fabulous scenic photos and the ongoing story of our getting settled into yet another home in our world travels. Stay tuned, dear readers, it will quite a show at this special location!

Photo from one year ago today, December 4, 2015:

Savusavu Bay and Nawi Island, in Fiji, a site atop a hill in the village. For more photos, please click here.

Day 13…Circumnavigating the Australian continent….Best international pricing for rental cars…One last tip for Elaine…

Colorful parasails in Bali.

“Sightings on the Ship in Australia”

View of the ceiling and elevators in the Centrum area.

When our loyal reader Elaine wrote explaining she and her husband had sold their home and stored many of their belongings to begin a two year world travel adventure, we wrote back and asked if we could share her questions with all of our readers worldwide.

When she graciously agreed, the past two days, we posted both her questions and our answers which can be found at these two links, if you haven’t seen them as yet:
Post #1:
Post #2:

Tender boats taking passengers ashore in Bali yesterday.

Today, we’re adding information about what we’ve chosen to do about renting cars while we travel the world which has encompassed the following questions for us along the way:
1.  Will we need a car? Can we use taxis for tours, shopping and various outings? 
Answer:  Not every area is suitable for calling taxis. For example, in Madeira, Portugal, we’d researched to discover that in the area in which we lived, Campanario, few taxis were available which could result in high costs and long waits when ordering a taxi.  In the remote location of Pacific Harbour, Fiji, a popular tourist area on the island of Viti Levu,  taxis were readily available with very low rates to most locations, usually under US $5, AU $6.63. With the high costs of rental cars in that location, it made more sense to use taxis. We selected a reputable company online that serviced all of our needs.

2.  What is the cost of using taxis or drivers in any particular area in which we may be living?
Answer:  As stated above taxis fares vary greatly all over the world.  When a driver option is available through the owners of a vacation/holiday home, it’s important to ask rates long before arrival to be able to make a determination as to whether the driver, a separate taxi company or a rental car would be most suitable and affordable. If you’re the type of traveler to go out on long drives, day after day, a rental car is usually the best option. For us, who ventures out about three times a week, we’ve always conducted a cost analysis in order to decide our best route. Long ago, we were willing to forgo a feeling of being trapped without a car in the driveway. Now, it doesn’t bother us at all, especially when a quick call or email brings a taxi to our door within minutes or when we can pre-arrange longer outings as desired.

Passengers parasailing in Bali.  Photos taken from our veranda.

3.  Is driving a rental car safe in some high risk areas? 
Answer: In some countries using a regular driver was a safer option than renting a car, for example in Kenya, where carjacking is a common occurrence even in the most upscale resort areas.  One must consider the crime rates in the area/country before deciding to rent a car. This information is readily available online with a few minutes of research.

4.  What is the cost to rent a car which must be large enough to fit our three large bags, three carry on  bags leaving us comfortable seating?
Answer:  Rental car rates are either affordable in an area or not. In Belize it was US $3,000, AU $3,977 or more for a month. If we’d used a taxi every single day it never would have been one fourth of that rate. We opted for selecting one regular driver with whom we felt most comfortable, tipping him generously at the end of our stay.

This looked like fun, for some.  I must admit, it doesn’t appeal to me, but Tom would like it.

5.  Will both of us be able to drive the car?  Is there an extra charge to add me to the contract?
Answer: In many cases its as much as additional US $10, AU $13.26 per day to add a second driver to the contract. It’s not worth it to us to spend the extra sum when the only time I’d go off on my own would be to grocery shop. As a result, Tom drives me to the market and either joins in on the shopping or reads a book on his phone while waiting in the car. It works for us and we save considerable sums each year. In some cases, such as in Hawaii, there was no additional cost for a second driver. It’s important to verify this information in advance if it’s necessary for two or more drivers to drive the vehicle.

6.  What about liability and car insurance, especially when we don’t own a car of our own? How do we handle the insurance?
Answer: Some credit cards provide insurance for the vehicle if the rental included using the credit card to pay for the rental. This is the case for all of our rentals. Please check with your credit card company as to its particular provisions and rules. Also, our “renter’s insurance” which covers our personal belongings (luggage) includes liability insurance.

Towel penguin on the bed last night.

7.  How does one decide on which rental car company to use?

What site(s) do we use that offer the best pricing, guidelines and customer service? 
Answer: During the first year of our travels we conducted considerable research in order to settle on to an online resource we found best served our needs. This was a time consuming process.  We landed on which ultimately proved to provide the best pricing, cars and service, especially when it comes to long term rentals such as ours. However, this international service can fulfill and often beat pricing over many other online rental sites.  We usually end up using which were directed through a search through If we’d contacted directly, we’d pay a higher price. This is important. Don’t be tempted to go directly to the company for pricing. You’ll rarely be offered a better price. The exception to this will only occur while picking up the car and they offer an additional promo for an upgrade which we’ve accepted on a few occasions. In some cases, we’ve been offered a less costly car than we originally selected, at an even lower price when they see the extended period of the rental. Undoubtedly, over time, one becomes more experienced in this process, ultimately saving money and time.

Heights, falling in the sea?  Not for me, thanks.

Hopefully, this information may be found to be helpful for some of our traveling friends, especially those considering longer trips or extended periods of world travel.

Please don’t hesitate to comment at the end of this or any post if you have questions or concerns. We’re always happy to assist.

We continue to hang out with our wonderful group of new friends each evening for happy hour in the Diamond Club and later for dinner. These past few nights, after dinner when they’ve wandered off to their cabins for the evening, Tom and I have headed to the self leveling pool tables to play. As competitive as we are and as lousy a pool player as I am, somehow I’m ahead. Go figure. 

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, November 12, 2015:

In Fiji one year ago, our single house was located in the far right of this photo, down from the house above that has three rentals, a huge upper floor and two good sized lower apartments. For more details, please click here.