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Are you planning your trip and wondering if renting a car in Northern Ireland is worth it? Having visited Northern Ireland more than once, I’m going to give it to you straight and help you navigate the winding roads!
I will share a bit of my personal experience and what you need to know to make the best decision for your vacation.
Get ready for a tale featuring breathtaking scenery, friendly locals, and hidden gems that are only reachable by having your own rental car.
Best Car Rental Company in Northern Ireland
Looking to rent a car to explore Belfast and beyond? The best way to find cheap rental cars in Northern Ireland is by checking out Discover Cars.
My Experience Driving & Renting A Car In Northern Ireland
If this is your first time renting a car in a foreign country, don’t stress. I found that getting a rental car in Northern Ireland is pretty straightforward.
The roads are well-marked and in pretty good shape. I also found that as soon as you are outside of a busy city like Belfast, the driving pace is pretty relaxed.
When I rented my car, I was given all the necessary information on insurance policies and road safety rules by the car rental place.
I do want you to pay extra attention to the fine print and do yourself a favor and get the extra coverage offered.
The time I spent driving in the UK was only strange for me as an American because I was on the wrong side of the road and car!
Is a Car hire in Northern Ireland, worth it?
The answer is – it depends! If you want to explore all the stunning sights that Northern Ireland has to offer, then having your own set of wheels would definitely come in handy.
That said, if you plan on sticking around Belfast then a car may not be necessary. Northern Ireland has excellent public transportation within the city!
So if you’re trying to decide whether or not you need to rent a car – it’s really up to you and your itinerary.
When I last visited I was interested in exploring the countryside and all the Game of Thrones sites I could find.
If you are interested in more than just a Belfast itinerary getting your own wheels is essential.
But no matter what you decide, you’ll have an amazing time exploring this beautiful corner of the world.
Is there Uber in Northern Ireland?
Yes, Uber does exist in Northern Ireland, but only in Belfast! So if you’re in and around the city of Belfast you can use your Uber app.
If you want to explore the outer regions of Northern Ireland you are going to want to have a car.
How easy is it to get around in Northern Ireland without a car?
Not having a car in Northern Ireland doesn’t mean you can’t explore the country – it just means getting around becomes a bit more adventurous!
Public transport is available, but there could be a long route of connections depending on where you are planning to visit.
If you are looking for freedom and flexibility in your travels, then having a rental car is the way to go!
With a rental car, you can explore all the incredible sights of Northern Ireland at your own pace.
On top of that, by taking the roads less traveled, you can find hidden gems you wouldn’t have otherwise known about. When I visited Northern Ireland I was able to visit the most amazing places that are off the beaten path.
Plus, navigating the winding countryside roads of Northern Ireland is sure to be an adventure in and of itself!
Is it hard to drive in Northern Ireland?
Driving in Northern Ireland is not all that difficult to navigate. Coming from the US, my biggest challenge was getting used to driving on the left side of the road!
Generally speaking, driving in Northern Ireland is pretty straightforward. When you get outside the major cities, like Belfast, you are often on long winding narrow roads.
Those can be a little scary at night since there are often fewer street lights than you might be used to. I just made sure to do all my driving in the daytime.
The driving conditions in Northern Ireland can vary. Yes, you’ll have to contend with all the usual hazards of driving including potholes and bad weather – but that’s typical of any destination you visit.
According to my Northern Irish friends, it is unlikely to snow in Northern Ireland, but it could happen in the winter months. Getting a rental car with built-in roadside assistance could ease any fears if the weather was to get a bit wild.
Getting from A to B in Northern Ireland is easier with Google Maps. It is essential to get GPS or use your phone for navigation.
I recommend you consider getting a SIM card for your phone, or for an additional fee just add the navigation to your rental car. It will make driving in Northern Ireland quite manageable.
Also, be sure you read up on the rules of the roads in Northern Ireland before getting behind the wheel of your rental car.
Best Rental Car Company in Northern Ireland
When it comes to finding a car hire company I use Discover Cars. They compare local rental car dealers against larger car rental companies so you get the best deal! Check Rates & Car rental locations here.
Best place to rent a car in Northern Ireland
If you’re looking for the best place to rent a car in Northern Ireland, look no further than Belfast.
Not only is it the capital and largest city in Northern Ireland, but it also boasts some of the most competitive rates on car hire.
You can find Discover Cars car rental agencies at Belfast International Airport as well as Belfast City Airport.
Whether you’re planning a road trip around the stunning landscapes of County Antrim or just want to explore Belfast, you’ll find car hire companies offering everything from luxury vehicles to budget-friendly options.
Plus, there are plenty of local experts ready to give their advice on the best routes and attractions in the area.
When I was traveling around on my own, I found the people of Northern Ireland to be incredibly helpful and friendly!
Can I rent a car from Dublin Airport and drive it to Northern Ireland?
If you are planning a weekend in Ireland and want to take your vehicle from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland, you can!
Just be sure to tell your rental car company in advance.
I wasn’t charged an extra fee to take it to Northern Ireland, but policies can change, so it is best to double-check.
Is it possible to pick up my rental car in Dublin and drop it off in Belfast?
Yes! You can do one-way rentals with Discover Cars! If you are picking up your car at the Dublin airport but want to drop it off in Belfast, you just need to arrange this ahead of time.
If the car rental agency allows it, they almost always will charge a one-way fee. Some rental car locations don’t allow it at all, this is how I came to find Discover Cars in the first place.
How much does renting a car in Northern Ireland cost?
How much does it really cost to rent a car in Northern Ireland? Well, the cost of renting a car in Northern Ireland really depends on what type of vehicle you’re looking for, as well as the time of year you are visiting.
Getting around without breaking the bank was important to me when I was traveling solo in Belfast.
You can rest assured that there are plenty of affordable rental options available in this beautiful country. My favorite, again, is Discover Cars!
With them you can compare reputable companies like Hertz and Enterprise, to budget-friendly local rental companies.
This makes it possible to find the perfect set of wheels for your needs and budget.
Typical Care Hire Prices in Belfast
Prices start from as little as £30 per day, with longer-term rentals averaging around £150 per week. Of course, larger vehicles such as SUVs and luxury cars will be more expensive, but you can expect to pay around £50 per day or £300 per week for these.
However, it’s important to remember that prices are always subject to change, so be sure to shop around for the best deals.
With so many rental options available, you can be sure to get where you need to go for a price that works for you.
I was surprised at how low the car rental prices were compared to the United States.
Top Tips for Renting a Car in Northern Ireland
1) Make sure you’re aware of the rules for renting a car in Northern Ireland. It’s different from the rest of the UK. You need to have both valid insurance and a local driving license.
2) Consider parking when you book your hotel in Northern Ireland. Many hotels have it included, but it is best to double-check when making your booking so there aren’t any surprise fees headed your way.
3) Don’t forget the extras – you’ll want to check for additional services such as unlimited mileage or roadside assistance. And make sure you’re aware of any extra costs, like petrol costs or insurance fees.
4) Consider a pre-paid fuel option – this can save you time and hassle when returning the car. You won’t be charged extra for unused petrol, so make sure to top up before you return it!
5) If you need an automatic transmission, book your car early! If you’re renting during peak tourist season, make sure to book your rental well ahead of time. Please note, there may be an additional cost.
6) Check for hidden costs – be aware of any additional fees that may come with your rental, such as taxes and airport pickup charges. These can add up quickly, so double-check before you sign on the dotted line.
7) Don’t forget to enjoy the scenery – Northern Ireland is a fantastic place to explore. So, don’t forget to stop and enjoy the sights along your journey!
Cheapest Car Insurance in Northern Ireland
Getting insurance for your car rental is required. At the most basic level, all drivers must have Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) insurance before they can legally drive.
This means that if you cause an accident, your insurer will pay for any damage to the car.
🚗 Tip: Check with your credit card companies to see if your credit card covers it. Chances are not likely, but it is worth asking.
I always go for comprehensive coverage, the piece of mind is worth it to me.
With Discover Cars, you can get full coverage for $6.85 a day. That is less than I pay for a latte in the US.
Purchasing full coverage with a Super Collision Damage Waiver insurance will add some extra cost to your rental car, but it will cover any minor damage.
Meaning if someone opens their car door into your vehicle (it happens) or loose rocks happen to leave a mark. You are covered!
I am a slow and steady driver on Northern Ireland’s roads, but it isn’t always about the driver.
You need to watch out for acts of nature like rocks, and branches that get in your way, not to mention other cars.
If you want to rent a car with your own policy, you will need to have a hard copy with you and read the fine print.
Check with your Credit Card Company to see if they cover CDW insurance
As I mentioned above, the credit cards that come with CDW often exclude Ireland. But in the instance, you would be covered and want to rely on it, then opt out of the full coverage.
It is important to understand what you are relying on. A credit card CDW waiver means you are committing to dealing with your credit card company for any insurance needs in the event there is an incident.
This includes paying with your credit card for any damages due to the rental car company and then working with your credit card company for reimbursement.
If this is the route you will take, be sure to read the contract and confirm which documentation is sufficient for the rental car company.
For me, it sounds like a lot of hassle, but the choice is up to you!
What are the qualifications to rent a car in Northern Ireland?
If you’re looking to rent a car in Northern Ireland, there is a lot you need to know.
First, to rent a vehicle, you must be 21 years old. Foreigners must have held a valid driver’s license for at least four years prior to the car rental contract date.
If you are coming from the US or Canada you DO NOT NEED an International driver’s license.
You’ll need to have a valid credit card and present two forms of identification, such as a passport and driver’s license.
Lastly, you must have appropriate insurance coverage for all car rentals in Northern Ireland.
Renting a car with an automatic or manual transmission
Do you know how to drive manual transmission? If you are coming from Europe, I imagine you do. But if you are visiting from the US, the chances are less likely.
If you are considering renting a car in Europe, you should know the majority of car rentals have manual transmissions.
If you’ve never driven a stick shift before, now is not the time to learn. I suggest going with an automatic as it will save you from having to do any additional research (or lessons) before your trip.
Just select automatic transmission when getting your quotes on Northern Ireland car rentals.
Whichever transmission you choose, make sure to take care when driving it!
Choosing The Right Car Categories & Sizes
Choosing the right car size for your rental is key to a comfortable and efficient trip. Compact cars are ideal for solo travelers, offering ease in parking and fuel economy.
For group travel or extra luggage, larger vehicles like SUVs or minivans are preferable. Always align the car size with your specific travel needs to enhance your journey’s comfort and convenience.
Consider the following:
- Solo Travelers:
- Compact Car: Ideal for solo drivers, offering fuel efficiency and lower rental costs.
- Advantages: Easier parking and maneuverability.
- Baggage Consideration: Ensure enough space for your carry-ons.
- Group Travel (More Than 2 People):
- SUV or Minivan: Offers more space and comfort for groups.
- Age Restrictions: Minimum age for renting larger vehicles is usually 25.
- City Driving:
- Subcompact/Hybrid: Perfect for city environments with limited parking and tight spaces.
- Benefits: Easier to navigate through narrow streets.
- General Consideration:
- Assess your individual needs, like space for passengers and luggage, driving comfort, and fuel efficiency.
- Make a decision based on what aligns best with your lifestyle and travel requirements.
Conclusion: Are you ready to drive around NI?
In conclusion, I had a great experience renting a car in Northern Ireland. It is an amazing way to get the most out of your trip.
With so many unique sites and experiences available to you, there’s no better way to explore this beautiful country than with the freedom of your own set of wheels!
Northern Ireland Rental Car FAQs
It is absolutely worth renting a car in Northern Ireland. Without a car, you will be fairly limited in what you can do and see past the city of Belfast.
If you are planning a road trip around Northern Ireland I recommend you rent a car for a minimum of 4 nights. This should give you enough time to slowly explore all that Northern Ireland has to offer.
Select rental car companies will allow you to pick up your car in Northern Ireland and drop it off at Dublin Airport.
Typically a “one-way” fee is charged when you make a reservation to do this.