Need some help with trip to uk.

edited 25 August 2016 at 2:57AM in Flights, Currency & Car Hire
23 replies 3K views
kragen_ironfistkragen_ironfist Forumite
123 Posts
edited 25 August 2016 at 2:57AM in Flights, Currency & Car Hire
Hi all, I emigrated to Canada 4 years ago and am bringing my wife back to visit in November.

We got an amazing seat sale with Westjet flying directly from Calgary to gatwick for $1,200CAD approximately £700 round trip for 2 including taxes. (It's normally easily double that).

When we get to London we have already booked a quaint hotel for 2 nights while we sight see before heading to visit my family in Bournemouth.

A close friend of mine has offered me the use of one of her vehicles (she will cover the insurance adjustments) to use while I'm there but I also will be driving up to Birmingham on my way back to London.

The problem I have is that the car I've been offered by my friend is an slk and I can't take my parents anywhere in it. If I hire a car and drop it off when I get to Bournemouth, then hire a second car for the return journey, it actually works out more expensive than just hiring for the full 14 days due to the addition of the "one way fee" charged by hire companies.

What can I do to reduce the cost. In the past I have used my own insurance when hiring cars but I doubt my Canadian policy will cover me abroad so now I have to pay the extra insurance.

Also can I get away with the "standard packages"
Standard Package - Price Includes Unlimited Mileage, Third Party Liability and Local Taxes.

Or do I need the "inclusive package"
Inclusive Package - Price includes Collision Damage Waiver, Theft Protection, Third Party Liability and Local Taxes.

Additionally, if I look at a car from central London and returning it at gatwick, I notice that in addition to the one way fee, the inclusive package includes an airport surcharge yet hiring directly from gatwick doesn't show that.

I know I've given you a lot of information but anything you can do to help reduce my coats would be great.

So far my cheapest hire option is $430 CAD (£250)standard or $500CAD for the inclusive. For the whole week. (I've been using rental

I know I can get super cheap train tickets one way but even doing that, a one day hire of a larger vehicle for my family day trip, (parents don't drive and have poor mobility) plus the hire for the return trip is almost as expensive (almost nothing in it) and certainly not enough to warrant the added inconvenience.

Unless there are any options I've overlooked which is why I have come to you .

Thanks in advance.
In dreams there are no impossibilities


  • Do check that the CDW offer comes without an excess payable. Likely there is an excess of perhaps £1000 payable in the event of an accident. So take out excess cover, such as offered here:
    Explanation here:
    You will be required to have an amount equal to the amount of the excess ringfenced on your credit card. Though in the event of an incident, you should obtain an invoice and any other necessary paperwork and submit it to the insurance claims handler for reimbursment.
    Otherwise the alternative is to purchase Super CDW direct for the car hirer, not the broker(rental cars in your case). But that may prove relatively expensive.
  • tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
    5.4K Posts
    Fifth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Where are you intending to take your parent? I wondered if a taxi would be a possible option for you? I hired a MPV taxi from nearly the whole day (9.30am to 16:30) in Nottingham a couple of months ago for £120.

    Where does your friend want to take the SLK back off you? Could they catch the train to Gatwick to collect the car from you?
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • missbiggles1missbiggles1
    17.5K Posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    What's an "slk"?
  • pompeyrichpompeyrich Forumite
    3.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    What's an "slk"?

    It's a Mercedes slk a sports car to us but really only a 2 seater.
  • PompeyPetePompeyPete Forumite
    7.1K Posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts
    What's an "slk"?

    See para 5 of the OP.
  • pompeyrichpompeyrich Forumite
    3.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    kragen_ironfist could you not pop back to Gatwick after your stay in London and pick the car up then? Better off not having the car in Londonyou can get the train to Gatwick for under £10, this would make it a straight pick-up/drop-off rental with no 1 way fees There seem to be some pretty good deals for 2 weeks in November from travelsupermarket, expedia ebokers etc, around £200 for 14 days for a Mondeo/Insignia, large over here, type car.

    Although as Nifty digits says beware of the CDW excess which can be £1,000+ which you will have to pay for any bumps or scratches.
  • Voyager2002Voyager2002 Forumite
    14.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Beware of the slk...

    You will not have recent experience of driving on roads as congested as those in and around London, and even the tiniest prang could cause noticeable and expensive damage to a specialised car like this. Such an incident could prove to be very expensive, and could also mean losing some very good friends.

    I suggest that you decline their kind offer, and rely on a combination of cheap train tickets when available; hired car when that is the best option; and Uber to plug any gaps (like home to station).
  • Thank you all for your advice so far.

    Just to clear up a couple of things...

    I already told my friend that we plan to hire a car but her response was "we'll talk about that later" she can be pretty insistent lol.

    If I did borrow my friend's car, it wouldn't be until after I arrived in Bournemouth hence the question in the first place as I will be spending the majority of my time in and around Bournemouth but if I borrow her car, I have to get to Bournemouth. If I could persuade the hire companies to drop the 1 way fees it might be worth while.

    The trip I want to do with my parents is basically a full day to swanage if and a 1 day hire would be WAY cheaper than a taxi for the day. But thank you for that suggestion.

    Really appreciate the suggestion about the extra insurance, will see look into that. Also thanks for the travel supermarket suggestion.

    Can anyone clarify whether I'm OK with the standard package that I listed above or am I better taking the inclusive ones.

    Also as stated earlier, the inclusive package when picking up and dropping off at gatwick does not mention an airport surcharge, is this extra or is it actually included. I only ask because if you pickup elsewhere and drop at an airport they list the surcharge.
    In dreams there are no impossibilities
  • We've had really good experience with easicar (not to be confused with easycar!) at Gatwick. They had the best rates (found through travelsupermarket, I'd second the suggestion). Normally prices are inclusive of surcharges. You could check whether you could take out a one way or annual car hire insurance. Do check what they cover, not all are comprehensive. And you need to be a resident of the country you take the cover out in. E.g. We took ours here in the UK where are resident. We are paying £49 for a year excess cover, the same cover you get at airport but for a fraction of the price.

    Have you considered a train from Bournemouth to Gatwick to pick up the car, and return it when you fly home? Think train tickets are about £30 for a single. Check

    I've tried negotiating the one way fee before, no dice. Bigger outfits such as Europcar, Avis, Hertz etc don't always charge them, but they're normally more expensive.

    Finally, greetings to Calgary - I've visited many times and stayed there for a while, I'm fond of the place
  • missbiggles1missbiggles1
    17.5K Posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    PompeyPete wrote: »
    See para 5 of the OP.

    Not as helpful an answer as your neighbour's.:D
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