The holiday season is approaching and most of us will be busy packing our bags for a long vacation. If you want to do something different from what you do every year like going on a family vacation, you can plan an outing with your college friends. London offers a lot in terms of travel and adventure activities, so you can have a blast with your friends this holiday season.
Planning ahead for a vacation is very important, since you need to inform all your friends about your travel plans, decide on the locations you are willing to visit, decide on the activities you are willing to engage in and sort out the budget as well. There is another thing that you need to think about – the car rental. If you are planning for a long vacation you might have to hire a car for a long term, but if you are planning a day trip in London you can hire a car for a single day as well.
If you are planning an outing with your college friends, then hiring a car can be difficult, since most of you are under the age of 25 years. Most of the car rental companies in London will not allow you to hire a car unless you are above 25 years of age. Though it is not impossible to hire a car under the age of 25, you will have to research a lot and find out rental companies that offer their cars for young drivers. So you will have to look for the car rental before you make further plans.
Ideas for College Outing
When planning an outing with friends, you must think of something that excites everyone in your group. If you are a gang of girls, you may plan to visit the countryside, while the boys can plan some adventure sports activities. In most cases, renting a car is much more feasible than driving your own car. In many situations you can save a lot by hiring a car. For example, if you are able to get discounts on your car rental, the chances of which are highest, since the rental companies offer special student discounts to the college students; if you are hiring a car for round trip, which means you will return the car to the original location or rent a car from a lesser known car rental company at the cheapest rates.
Once you are sorted out with the car rental, you can focus more on the travelling part.
Visiting the Countryside
If you want to move out of the hustle-bustle of the main city and spend some quality time with your friends close to the nature, the countryside is the best option. The English countryside is amazing and you will have the best experience ever when you explore this part of London which is both genteel and wild. You can experience the amazing hills, ancient woodlands, dramatic dales, picturesque villages and winding country roads.
Want to visit some countryside that is within easy reach from London? Here are some locations that you can never miss. Walk around, cycle or plan picnics – let your heart out when visiting these places:
Petersham Meadows, Richmond
Once used primarily for cattle grazing, now you can visit this place to feel the serenity of the pastoral landmark. Watch the sun set with your friends or just unwind by lying down on the smooth velvety grass and feel the wind caress your hairs and face.
Osterley Park, Isleworth
If you are looking for a perfect retreat outside the city, visit Osterley Park. One of the last surviving country estates in London, it provides ample space for outdoor activities like cycling, running, etc.
Visiting this place would be a treat for your eyes, heart and soul. Known for its gardens, Cliveden has enormous woodland lining the steep hills above the Thames. Get mesmerized with the stunning views of the gardens and the surrounding countryside.
Willing to get a real taste of the countryside? Visit the Surrey Hills. Cycle on the winding roads, enjoy and admire the views at Leith Hill and Hindhead and the Devil’s Punch Bowl or walk down the country lanes while admiring the pristine sceneries.
There are a number of other places that you can visit close to London. Visiting these places will not only help you get rid of all the tiredness, you will also come back home with loads of memories. So waste no more time, decide the places you want to visit with your friends.
Adventure Sports Opportunities in London
For those who love the adrenaline rush, adventure sports in London is the best way to say goodbye to all the stress. In contrary to what many people think about adventure sports, it is actually addictive. People who have experienced the thrill of indulging in such sports activities want to experience it over and over again.
Women are also getting attracted towards adventure sports, which were once dominated by the men only. No matter what level of thrill you want to experience, you will find sports that represent the type of challenges you are looking for. Some of the most common type of adventure sports that people in London indulge in are:
If you want to beat the gravity, try some climbing activities in London. There are a number of facilities that allow you to experience the thrills of climbing a hill or mountain. You can choose activities of varying degrees of difficulties. If you want to climb an ice wall you have to Vertical Chill. You can have the ultimate climbing experience here while you climb the ice wall built at the back of Ellis Brigham in Covent Garden.
This is one of the most extreme adventure sports since you will have a free fall from a height that many people are afraid of thinking.
This may be an old sport, but it will never go out of fashion. Skateboarding is one of the most challenging forms of adventure sports. A number of skate parks are being built in and around London, so you can visit them anytime you want to.
If you are planning to visit the countryside and indulge in some adventure sports there, you can try out the following options:
Adventure racing is much different than running a marathon or triathlon. This is much more challenging and one of the fastest growing sports in the UK. Questars and Sleep Monsters host adventure racing which involves activities like kayaking, mountain biking and climbing. So if you want to push your boundaries, you should never miss a chance to participate in adventure racing.
Canyoning is one of the most challenging and adrenalin sports that you can indulge in, in the countryside of London. While canoeing you can expect to jump off a few cliffs, swim through the rough waters, pass through waterfalls and some amazing scenery. This sport if full of risks, so the canyoneers wear life jackets and helmets and are accompanies by experienced guides.
There are many more types of adventure sports that you may be interested in. To know about all the adventure and extreme sports that you can indulge in, you can contact a travel agent and get the details from them. So get out and get going, have the best holidays this year.
Things to Consider when Planning a Road Trip
Even though you hire a car for your vacation or outing with friends, you can enjoy a lot of you drive the rented car yourself. You can drive at your own pace, explore places and roads that the driver from the rental company would not have even considered and take halts whenever necessary. You also don’t have a stranger spying on your activities and interfering within all your plans.
While driving yourself can be very exciting, a certain level of preparation is required so that you don’t have to face unpleasant situation. Many first-timer renters face difficult situations due to lack of planning and negligence of being prepared for unforeseen circumstances. Even though some issues are minor, they can affect your travel plans to a great extent.
To make sure you have a smooth road trip, here are some factors that you should consider before going out on an outing with your college friends:
To Drive or Not to Drive
It is very important to decide whether driving is the best option or not. If you are planning to explore the countryside, then driving is the best option, but if you are planning to go cross borders then flying to your destination might be a better option. The rental rates for driving cross borders are very high and there are many restrictions imposed by the rental companies as well.
Choice of Car and the Rental Company
If you decide to drive, it is very important to choose the right car rental company as well as the right type of car. You can get overwhelmed with the choice of car rental companies close to you, but you need to choose the one that offers services best suited for your personal needs and requirements.
The rates significantly differ with individual car rental companies, so to get the best rates you need to compare the rates. You also need to choose the right type of car so that you and your friends can travel comfortably along with your luggage. The fuel consumption of the car is also one important factor to be considered. A car with diesel engine will be cheaper than a car with a petrol engine.
A number of car rental companies charge administrative fees for various situations. For example, if you meet an accident you may be charged with hefty administration fees. This is because they want you to pay for the damages done to their rental car. Another instance where you may have to pay administrative fees is when you pass through electronic tolls. Many car rental companies would charge you double; even triple the actual toll fee. Administrative fees are a way of maximizing the profit for car rental companies. So before you hire a car have a clear idea about the extra charges you will be made to pay.
Carry You Own Extras
Make sure you carry all the extras that you need while driving your car. The rental costs can go skyrocketing if you hire the extras from the rental company. So if you need a GPS, carry your own SatNav or a smartphone with in-built Google Maps application.
Plan Your Journey
Most of the rental car companies would have mileage restrictions, so it is necessary that you plan your journey beforehand. Determine the shortest route to your destination. This will save you the extra money that you will have to pay in case you go beyond the mileage limits. You can also look for motels or pit stops to get refreshed in between long journeys. Planning ahead will make your journey smooth and comfortable.
If you are planning to go on a real long drive, it might not possible for you to drive the car all through. In such cases, it is good to have an extra driver, who can drive the car when you become driver. You will have to declare the additional driver during hiring the car. Most car rental companies charge extra for each additional driver. Many rental companies like Avis, Enterprise, etc. waive off this additional driver charges, if the additional driver happens to be your spouse.
It is very important to consider all the above mentioned factors before going on a road trip with your friends. Since most of you are below 25 years, you will have to be more careful while driving and hiring a car. In the next section we will discuss about the car rental for college students to make car rental much easier for you.
College Student Car Rentals
Car rentals are beneficial for students who are moving their belonging or planning an outing with friends. You can either hire a van or a car depending upon your requirements but you have to be a lot more careful while hiring a car since you still haven’t crossed the 25 years mark.
Many car rental companies will reject your request altogether, while some would charge you heavily for renting a car as a young driver. But there’s one good side to it, as a student you will be able to get discounts on your car rental. But if you are 21years or younger, things are going to be even more complicated.
The young driver surcharge varies with each car rental agency, so it is recommended that you compare the rates before hiring a car for your outing. One way to save this hefty surcharge is to include a few friends who are older than 25 for your outing and then hire the car in their name. When you visit the car rental office make sure you carry your student I.D cards, driving licence and a credit card (if you have one). You can use someone else’s credit card but make sure that person is present when you are hiring the car.
As students, you will be able to enjoy lower rates from most of the leading car rental companies like Hertz, Sixt, Budget and Avis. Car rental companies like YesCarRentals will also offer good discounts on student car rentals. For example, Hertz offers 15 percent discount on car rentals for students who are above 23 years. If you hire a van, which you will be if you are planning an outing, you will get 20% discounts of van rentals. Similarly Sixt offers a 10 percent discount to students who are under 25 and hold a NUS Extra or Graduate Extra card. Even if you are hiring from a local rental company make sure you ask about the student discounts.
You will be able to hire a car even if you hold a full and valid foreign licence. If you are an international student, you will be allowed to drive any small car that is listed on your licence. Most of the car rental companies accept EEC licences but they should be written in eligible English. In case your licence is not written in English, you will have to get an international driving permit that is written in English. This permit should accompany your original licence when you hire a car. Many car rental companies require the international renters to have an EU licence.
Many car rental companies charge you heavily for being a foreign licence holder. In most cases, the international licence holders should be within 22 – 25 years old to be able to hire a car. Enterprise, the well-known car rental companies, would rent cars to students holding full and valid foreign licence without any hassles. On the other hand, Hertz and Sixt would require International driving permits along with the national driving licence to be able to rent cars from them. All countries offer International driving permits, so you should not have problem hiring a car with a foreign licence.
Car Rental Thinks to Know
Whether you are hiring a car as a normal renter or a student, certain things remain the same. To have a smooth and satisfactory car rental, you should prepare yourself well ahead of time. From the reviewing the insurance coverage to the car rental policies, there is a lot that has to be taken care of. You need to prepare yourself before visiting the car rental office.
In most cases, the car rental staffs would try to persuade you to take things that that will make your car rental bill go as high as possible. This is one way of maximizing their own profits, so it is very essential to educate yourself about car rentals thoroughly.
To make things easier for you, here are some factors that need to be considered before renting a car:
Avoid Unpaved Roads
This is important if you are planning to visit the countryside with your friends. Most car rental companies would not allow you to take their rented cars off-roads. This means you cannot drive on grassy lands or muddy roads. Driving off roads can result in violation of the rental agreement and the rental company might charge hefty administrative costs and in case the rented car gets stuck within the mud, you will have to take the responsibility to get it out and clean the car as well.
This is another factor that you should be aware of. Most car rental companies would have mileage restrictions on a per day basis. So if you are planning an outing really far from your place, you should know about the mileage restrictions. In case you go beyond the mileage limit, you have to pay for each extra mile.
No Extra Insurance
Offering additional insurance is one way in which car rental companies make huge profits. Insurance at the rental agencies cost a lot, so try using the coverage from your existing car insurance or get one from a third party insurance agency. If you have a credit card or if anyone in your group has a credit card, you can use the coverage provided by the credit card company.
Know About the Travel Policies
If you want to take the car out of the state, you should know about all the travel policies. Know about the restrictions and additional fess (if any). You may also have to educate yourself about the travel policies of the state or county you are visiting.
One more thing that you should remember is to follow all the traffic rules of the place you are visiting. In case if you get tickets for violating rules, the rental company may charge you administrative fees. Also check whether your existing insurance will provide coverage outside your own state.
Check the Car for Cosmetic Damages
The car rental company will make you pay for any damage that is done to their car during the rental period. Young drivers are considered irresponsible drivers, so you should be more careful when hiring cars. Check the car personally for cosmetic damages. If possible take pictures and make the rental representatives aware of the existing damages. Even when you return the car, make sure the representative checks the car.
Return within the Stipulated Time
You should return the car to the rental office within the stipulated time. You can take advantage of the grace periods but it becomes risky. If you return the car beyond the stipulated time, you may have to pay for the entire day.
Don’t wait until you visit the counter. To make your car rental experience memorable, educate yourself about the various policies, restrictions and pitfalls of car rental. Ask plenty of questions to the car rental representatives and do a lot of research. Going out on an outing means you can have loads of fun, so make sure the car rental does not ruin your plans. One more thing to remember is to book the car rental much in advance, so that you get your desired car. As the holiday season approaches the demand for rental cars would increase and the rates will go up as well. So book a car and then plan the rest of your trip.
Going out with friends is the best thing you can do during the holiday season. But you need to plan your holiday well ahead of time, so that you can prepare for things you are planning to indulge in. The countryside has a lot to offer to the visitors, but if you are more of a city guy you can plan an adventure holiday with your friends. Try out the most challenging and adrenaline sports in London. You surely won’t indulge in any mundane event any more.
Whether you are visiting the countryside or travelling within the city, you need to hire a car. Hiring a car can add the much needed mobility to your trip and can take you places. Car rental can make your journey really memorable, but anything goes wrong, like you choose the wrong car or hire from a terrible car rental agency, things can take a real bad turn. So take your time to choose the car rental company as well as the car you are willing to hire.
Remember, since you are a group of college goers, mostly below 25 years, renting a car might become difficult, since car rental companies do not want rent their cars to renters below 25 years. But that does not mean you have to drop your plans, hiring a car might be tough but not impossible. Do thorough research and locate car rental companies that offer car rentals to young drivers. Make sure you carry your driver’s licence and the college I.D card when hiring a car.
The holiday season is fast approaching so start making your plans today!