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.”

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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 as well, any photos we have remaining 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 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 mailing in our current passports while the renewals are processed.  

Donkeys are highly regarded as rescue animals in Ireland.

We don’t want to send in our passports to the US Department of State while we’re 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.  Prices, similar to those in Ireland are higher than we’ve paid anywhere in the world over the past almost seven years.  


As we often do, we use the website, Rentalcars.com 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, and Europcar (our favorite) and others.


When we recently booked the rental car from Rentalcars.com 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 disconcerting 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” and 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, it was our error by not reading the terms and conditions in advance of making the booking.   Little did we know that this company charged an addition Euro 2800, US $3135.57 for the excess, a fee to cover costs in the event of an accident which were actually 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 is similar amongst all the cars, depending on 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 of a contract but we’ve learned our lesson and won’t avoid doing so in the future. I can only excuse us for being a bit distracted when we booked the car only a few weeks before we left South Africa for Ireland.


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


Have a fantastic weekend!

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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.

 

Figuring out where to stay in England at the end of the summer…

A portion of the Twelve Bens mountains.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”

“Funerals are sad occasions in
Ireland, but they are very seldom a sad event. Family members use funerals to speak about the deceased life and share memories. Funerals are held in churches and often include food and drinks. Many churches tried to ban alcohol years
ago, but failed in doing so, and now allow alcohol at each funeral and
wedding.”
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This morning we lit the fireplace using some of the plentiful supplies left for us by our thoughtful property owner, Eileen.  There’s firewood, peat, and the equivalent of Duraflame logs.  It was easy for Tom to start the fire.  

It’s 14C, 57F, and yet after 15 months in the heat and humidity of South Africa, we’re really feeling the cold.  There’s a unique solar system for the house which includes a range that is used for cooking and warming the house.  Here’s a photo of the range, which we’ve seen now and then in photos of potential rental properties throughout the world.
This is  a Rayburn range used for heating the house, cooking and the water.

This is our first experience operating this type of system and Eileen stopped by this morning to make sure it was providing enough heat to keep us comfortable.  She’d explained how to use it the day we arrived but we were so exhausted after an overnight flight, neither of us remembered how to use it except for the oven.

There’s a well-prepared loose leaf binder here with instructions for literally everything in the house.  But neither of refer to these instruction booklets unless there’s an emergency after we’ve usually read it within days after our arrival.

Ireland is certainly known for being green and aptly named “The Emerald Island” with its cool rainy weather.
Now, with her instructions, we have heat in the house, certainly, enough to take the chill out the air and the fire burning in the what appears to be an “insert” type of fireplace rather than an open hearth.

Yesterday, we continued the tedious task of trying to find where we’ll stay in England for 62 days beginning on August 23rd, ending on October 24th.  This hasn’t been an easy task.  
Connemara ponies as described here:  From this site:  “The Connemara’s origins are shrouded in mystery. Some believe that they are descendants of horses brought over by Vikings and others that they are descendants of the Irish Hobby, which was once hugely popular but is now extinct. There is also a legend that Andalucian horses found their way ashore after the destruction of the Spanish Armada and bred with the local ponies. It is known that many of the ships which survived the initial attack subsequently were wrecked off the coasts of Scotland and Ireland (partly due to severe storms) and so it is at least feasible that some horses (and humans) would have made their escape to shore. This may be why Connemaras are notably finer than most native breeds, although there was also extensive cross-breeding in the 18th century, particularly with Arabs and also Thoroughbreds and Hackneys.”
Prices are high in the UK and with our requirement of including unlimited WiFi and preferring a house, cottage, townhouse or condo, rather than an apartment, the challenges are escalated.

Yesterday, Tom had an ingenious idea (to us anyway) that rather than book one property for the entire 62 days, we should book three or four properties in different areas for sequential dates.  At first, I hedged over his suggestion when thinking about packing and unpacking every two weeks or so.

But, after careful consideration, I agreed this was an interesting idea.  Now the challenge is finding the right properties in four distinct areas with dates matching accordingly.  
Gorgeous views of the countryside.

Over the next few days, we’ll continue the research, mainly using the HomeAway link on our website that will take us to the thousands of listings in England.  In the past few years, HomeAway purchased a number of vacation/holiday home websites leaving them number two next to Airbnb as follows:  

“A major vacation rental website is HomeAway, and it is one of the main competitors to Airbnb. The company is now owned by Expedia (as are Vrbo and VacationRentals.com).”

“Which Is Bigger: HomeAway or Airbnb? HomeAway and its companies (such as VRBO and VacationRentals.com) have over one million listings in 190 countries. However, with 2.3 million listings worldwide, from 640,000 hosts across 191 countries, Airbnb is the clear winner of the size competition.”


Why don’t we use the larger company AirBnB?  We have used it a few times.  But, overall we prefer HomeAway based on the fact they have a more liberal deposit program as opposed to paying 100% of the cost for the rental at the time of the booking.

Sunset view from our house.

Occasionally, we may book a property a year or more in advance.  We do not want to lay out the entire amount for a two or three-month rental so far in advance.  Plus AirBnB has a huge amount of shared housing situations, none of which appeal to us.


So, back to the drawing board today as we continue our search.  We hope that by the end of the weekend, we’ll have this wrapped up.


Tomorrow, we’ll share a frustrating car rental situation.  Please check back then.


Enjoy your day, your weekend and everything you do.

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Photo from one year ago today, May 31, 2018:
Excellent nightime viewing. Kudus seem to be intimated by zebras due to their powerful kicks and thus, won’t join in on the snacks.  For more photos, please click here.