I could make this trip sound like a fairy tale...and it was definitely something out of the ordinary for us. I hope my photos will convince you of how beautiful we found it, while you are enjoying my complaining...
In the end, our Ireland trip was worthwhile, but there were some bumps in the road. I only tell you so you won't hate me, a, and b, so you will realize that this is how life is. No one is living in a fairy tale, even when they blog about stuff, even the people who win the raffles!
I mean, unless it's just us. Maybe all the other people on blogs are living in a fairy tale...I hate them.
Let's start with arriving at the Hertz counter to get our rental car.
Now, did you know that your major credit card will provide insurance for a car rental in all countries in the world? That's right. You don't have to buy collision insurance from the rental company, because your MasterCard, Visa, or American Express card will take care of you.
Except in Jamaica, Israel, and, you guessed it, Ireland.
|That observation tower was built in Victorian times and they charge you to go up. Boo. We already paid to get in!|
So I reserved the car before we left, for around €400 for 2 weeks, with my AAA discount. I understood that certain charges would be added for the maximum amount of insurance (absolutely necessary for driving with maniacs, no offense dear Irish people, on the wrong side of the unreasonably narrow road, not to mention the sheep), extra driver, and taxes. But I was not prepared for staggering out of the plane at 2 am Central Massachusetts time to be confronted with a bill for...
Twelve hundred Euros -- almost $1600!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not in my plans.
|Standing on the cliffs looking back the other way.|
|Liscannor Bay in the background, beyond the Cliffs of Moher on the right. Note the cows on the pasture above the cliffs...|
So I collected my bleary self and considered.
True, in my fog I had signed the little itty bitty no-account piece of paper. You know that feeling when you're just so at a disadvantage that you can't help yourself from doing what you know shouldn't be done?
Try not to sign things.
The Chief just looked at me like, what can we do? My dear husband's genetic programming does not include bargaining in a foreign land in the middle of the night or for that matter at any other time.
Mine, however, is a little different.
There were at least 6 other rental companies with their little booths, most of them with no customers. I'd read that some companies are a bit shaky -- you might not get a new car, or they might scam you on the insurance (for that matter, these complaints were made of Hertz).
Still, I figured, let's just see.
So I went up to one nice (French, go figure) lady. "How much to rent this kind of car with this insurance, extra driver, and gas?"
Better, but still.
Do you realize what I could do with €1000? Right here at home??
What did I have to lose? I went to another booth with a particularly forlorn looking agent twiddling his thumbs. How much?
With a €1200 deductible on the insurance, €397.Including the gas.
Oh. Kay. Now we're talking. I went back to the Hertz guy and told him that I wouldn't be taking his car.
|I'm sorry, the light kept changing, the clouds kept shifting...it is such a crazy place. I can't help myself...|
"But we have a deal!" he scolded me, trying to play his cards as best he could.
"No, sorry, I'm not paying your outrageous price, and this fellow over here is giving me the same car for €397. So I'm going with him."
"But you signed!"
"No, sorry" -- brazening it out -- "...unless you can match his price." He sees the game is up.
"Of course I can match it, we have a deal!"
|Bridget at Bridget's Well, which is quite near the Cliffs.|
And indeed, with convincing me that it's a good idea not to have a deductible (and after 2 weeks of challenging the left side of that car against every hedge, ditch, and stone wall in Ireland, I concur), we ended up with a bill of €600.
There you have it: My one frugal tip for travel in Ireland. Pit the infernal car agents against each other.