International Car Rentals

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When planning my trip to Ireland, I looked at a map and found that the Ireland is easily drivable since it’s 300 miles long and 175 miles wide.  Driving times to major areas are:

Dublin to Cork – 3 hours

Cork to Dingle – 2.5 hours

Dingle to Galway – 4 hours

Galway to Dublin – 2.5 hours

This calls to our adventurous nature.  We will be on our own time schedule and see the sites that call to us.  We are starting our driving tour in Dublin and driving north to Louth and then to the Causeway of the Giants.

I began to look into driving and found that renting a car is easy.  There are different requirements in different countries for being able to drive in those countries.  One requirement may be an International Driver Permit (IDP).  Normally, in English speaking countries an IDP is not needed.  Enquire about an IDP when making your reservation.  Here is the application: In Ireland, a US, Canadian, or EU license is sufficient.  Make sure you have your driver’s license, passport, and IDP (if needed) on hand when picking up the rental.

Another consideration is auto insurance.  Not all companies cover rental car coverage. Call you carrier and ask about rental car coverage and international rental car coverage.  Some credit cards have rental car coverage, call the credit card you will be using to pay for the rental and ask if there is any coverage.   If you do not have proof of coverage from your insurance carrier or credit cards company, you may be required to buy coverage at the agency.   I found rate comparisons on Auto Europe and it lead me to Discover Cars at the Dublin airport.   Discover Cars sent me a voucher with a very clear outline of guidelines and expectations.

There are other considerations.

Border Crossing:  Ask whether you are able to cross borders. Be careful about return restrictions.

Gas:  Make sure you know what type of gas to put in the car.  Some companies provide a refill option which sometimes costs less than the gas station.  Gas is more expensive outside of the US, for the most part.  You can find current gas prices at  Also, gas is sold by the litre since the rest of the world is on the metric system. One gallon is equal to 3.78 litres, which makes gas in Ireland 6.90 a gallon.

Tolls:  Inquire about tolls.  If there are tolls, make sure you have local money.  Ask if more than one person can drive the rental car.

Other Drivers:  Make sure your travel partners bring their driver’s license and apply for an IDP , if needed.   You may need to pay extra for a second driver.

Car Options:  Look at the options on the rental site.  I chose a car without air conditioning because the weather will be mild.  A car with air conditioning costs more.  Make sure you check for damage prior to leaving the agency.

Driving:  Make sure you understand traffic patterns, such as what side of the road you are driving on.  Be aware of city traffic and rules of the road.  Don’t count on your phone’s GPS, you may not get a good single.  Download a map prior to heading out.  Distances are measured in kilometers.  One mile is 1.6 kilometers (1 killometer=.62 miles)

Further Reading

Discovering Ireland gives guidelines for renting through Hertz and Avis at

The Savvy Backpacker gives tips on how to rent a car in Europe at

US Embassy in Ireland guidelines for Driving In Ireland at






Essential guide to How to Rent a Car in Ireland


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