It’s an odd one I know, but I’m in my 30’s and I don’t have a car. I live in London so I don’t really need one. Well, that said – I get super frustrated at times because having one would be such a lifesaver at times, but generally on a day-to-day basis – the tube is the way forward for me. Driving into the centre of London to get to work is realistically going to take 3x as long as using public transport.
However, there have been MANY times I’ve been schlepping back from the big Tesco 20 mins down the road with five carrier bags of food, sweating, swearing and wishing I had a car. But for me, living in London, right now – it doesn’t seem like good value for money.
As much as that’s the case, the summer for me is extremely expensive when it comes to travel. It’s my mum’s, sister’s, boyfriend’s mum and boyfriend’s birthday just in the month of July. Now they don’t live in London, so find ourselves travelling all over the country to see them.
I kid you not – and this is with a railcard – it costs £90 for a return ticket to Swansea. 90 quid. You’d think you’d get a bit of luxury with that too, but no – I never get a seat, am either packed in the aisle or by the smelly toilets and then loads of drunk people get on at Neath and it becomes my personal hell. The number of times I’ve thought, ‘you know what? – i’m upgrading to first class’ to find tickets are pushing £400. Nope. I like luxury, but I also like not eating Supernoodles because I’ve blown my month’s mortgage payment on a nice seat on a train.
It’s not much cheaper going to Norwich either for the other family. Oh, there’s two of us too – so double the cost.
I’m also in my early 30’s, so have ALL the weddings over the summer. It’s quite a relaxed year this year, with just three we need to go to spread across the county – but a friend of mine has SEVEN to go to. And there was me reading that millennials don’t get married anymore! Well, not in my circles for some reason!
Oh, and did you know living in London when it is 30 degrees outside is the absolute worst? It’s smoggy and I don’t have a nice garden, or a beach I can cool down at. It’s torture. So the boyfriend and I like to get away for weekends when the sun is shining.
So yeah, come to think of it, a car would save us a fortune during the summer months.
My boyfriend has thought about buying a car a few times. But because he hasn’t ever had car insurance (or his own car), and was quoted over a thousand of pounds to drive an old second-hand motor.
Europcar UK – Long term hire
So I’m trying out a little solution (and spoiler alert, I’m loving it!). Car hire company Europcar has introduced a new campaign where you hire cars in the UK for 28 days at a time. You then leave the car, switch, or continue.
They start at a ‘mini’ (like a Fiat 500) for £335 for 28 days to absolute baller where you can get a Mercedes SLC (a fancy convertible if you have no idea about car types like me!) for £1,701.
So with a small car you’re looking at about £12 a day, and with a luxury one, about £60. Now I’m not saying to you should be renting fancy cars at £60 a day – but if you added up just my July and August, as a couple, we would be pushing over a grand in travel. *For us* we could get a smaller car and actually save money when you compare it to train travel and taxis, or get a fancy one (this is luxury on a budget after all!) and not be cramped on a delayed train. It’s an option right?
If you’re like me, and have a couple of places you’re going within a month, it’s so worth totting up what you’re going to be paying in public transport, and comparing it to the price of the month’s car hire (think about petrol/insurance too) and seeing if it’s actually cheaper to go down the car hire route instead.
An alternative to leasing?
That said, if you’re someone who leases a car (which I’ve been meaning to write about for ages because I’m generally not a fan), this could be a nice alternative. There are no long-term commitments, hefty deposits, or depreciation. You’re not going to be stuck with a worthless car which you’re still paying for. You can just renew van or car hire from 28 to 84 days – and change your car every month if you like to live your life with a bit of excitement! Ha!
So this long term hire is available in every Europcar station in the UK, can be booked online, directly at stations or via its dedicated telephone number.
There’s discounted medium and premium protection available for long term rentals, but I’m a big fan of looking for excess insurance separately. I find it’s typically cheaper – but it’s worth double checking.
Oh, and they’ll drop off and pick up the car to anywhere you want. You can add free unlimited additional drivers, and there are free mileage allowance options, 840, 2520 or 3260 per 28 days.
What can I do now I have a car?
Until you don’t have a car, you don’t realise how hard it is to do certain things. Europcar has lent me a car in exchange for this blog post (you KNOW I have to try out these things before I write about it).
First off, I felt a little like a celebrity having the car dropped off to us.
So during this month we’re going to Ikea (YAS), shopping and doing a big shop, Home Bargains in the big retail park which you can’t really get to via bus, back to Wales and Norwich (and we’re picking up my boyfriend’s mum to visit a family member in Surrey), a couple of overnight stays (actually, where within 5/6 hours of London should we visit? Stonehenge? I’m trying to explore the UK.