Renting a Car in Scotland as an American: What You Should Do?

Granted that renting a car in Scotland as an American often viewed difficult. Most people believe that the process is lengthy and the requirements are hard. However, some fellow Americans love the idea of renting because they can explore the untouched areas.

They also love the idea that they won’t have to spend a fortune to get around. Sure, Scotland is known for its marvelous beauty, but it’s different from America. Plus, the place has its own unique elements that you may not find elsewhere.

What to Do First?

Don’t forget your documents. Provide a valid driver license together with your passport or visa. In most cases, you don’t need to have a lot of documents. As long as the license is written in Latin, you are good to go. However, if it’s written in any foreign language not English, it should come with a translation. Do you have to own a special permit? Not necessarily. You don’t need to have international license either. But be ready to hand your passport over during your rent. As you can see, renting a car in Scotland as an American isn’t as difficult as you think.

The renting process isn’t so much complicated or dramatic, but you do need insurance. You can have it with your credit card or you can organize it through the rental agency. Of course, the latter requires you to spend extra for the arrangement. What if you decide, “I don’t want any insurance. I know my own driving ability.” Well, good luck with that. In general, you won’t be allowed to rent any vehicle. At all.

Another thing to be prepared when renting a car in Scotland as an American is the extra regulations. Each agency has their own rules. If you want to get the vehicle you want, be ready to abide those rules. For example, most agencies prefer clients at least 25 years of age although 21 is considered a legal limit. If you are 25, you may be charged the standard rate. But if you are above 21, but still 24, then you may be charged extra.  It would be considered the risk cost associated with young age.

Don’t worry, it’s not about being unfair or such thing alike. Those viewed risky are often charged higher than the standard rates. People who are more than 75 are also charged higher.

Where to Rent?

Whereas most people are usually against renting a car at airports, it can be quite different for Scotland. A lot of travelers are actually suggesting getting a car rental service at airports. It’s for the sake of comfort, fair rates, and parking access. So, if you are renting a car in Scotland as an American, it’s better to do it at airports.

First of all, most of the rental agencies are trusted and reliable. Second, you have a lot of options regarding the vehicle type. Third, driving in the central of Scotland isn’t exactly nice or convenient. So, instead of being trapped in the city center, you can immediately head to your destinations. Explore the artistic villages and beautiful rural areas. Don’t waste your time being tangled in the city traffic.

If you are looking for trusted agencies, some of the popular names are available. You can find Avis Car Hire at Edinburgh Airport. Or if you are a loyal customer of Enterprise, they are available at Edinburgh as well as Glassgow. International airports are usually the home of reliable names whose services are similar to the ones at home. For instance, the American car rental Guadalajara Airport provides just the same service as the one in the US. With a sense of familiarity, you would be more comfortable when you want to rent a vehicle.

How Much to Rent?

Most rental agencies offer daily rates, but if you want to save up money, you can also have weekly rates. Which one to choose? It depends on your length of stay, your total distance and coverage, and whether you want to explore around. If you don’t really plan exploring the areas outside the city, it’s better not to rent a car at all. You can make use of the public transportation, which will definitely save you a lot of money. Plus, there is Uber. If you must go to some short-distance locations, just use Uber.

renting a car in Scotland as an American

Be advised not to be easily fooled by the online rates. They most likely don’t include the extra charges, which may include taxes. If you see the displayed rates on your screen, assume that it would be 20% higher. It would be better if you can reach out to the agency and really confirm of how much you must pay. Don’t wait until you confirm the booking and be surprised by the actual price.

Here are some useful tips to help you save up money when renting a car in Scotland as an American:

  • Always book early. Booking early isn’t only about getting the best rate, but it also ensures the availability of the vehicle.
  • If it’s possible, avoid peak seasons. Even with the early booking, the rates would be higher than the usual. But if this isn’t possible, early booking can still save a couple of bucks.
  • It’s always better to go with small vehicle. First of all, small vehicle isn’t as pricey as the big ones. If you don’t have any add-ons, the overall cost is pretty cheap. Second, many of the roads in Scotland are small and narrow. Driving small cars is relatively easier and somewhat more comfortable.
  • Don’t forget to fill up the gas before returning the car. If not, the rental agency would charge you. They may charge higher because it includes fill-up service.

Final Words

Traveling to Scotland can offer beautiful memory and unforgettable experience. But you need to know that the city scene and the areas outside the city are different. If you want to spend your times exploring the wild, then renting a car would be worth it. If not, simply stay in the city and make use of the public transportation. The question after learning about renting a car in Scotland as an American is: Do you still want to go?