I am typically one to overanalyze everything I do in life for no apparent reason. When it pays off like it did today, I no longer question why I do it.
Yesterday, I began adding up the costs for our upcoming trip and I was sickened by how much we were spending on rental cars; one in Ireland and one in Scotland. I began reading on Pinterest about how credit cards will not cover rental cards in Ireland. I checked my Amex and sure enough, no coverage in Ireland. This got me to reading the fine print of my reservation with Budget and I totally lost my shit.
What our BIG BOLD PRINT reservation did not tell us is that we have to sign a CDW (collision damage waiver) once we get to the rental car location. This basically lets us wash our hands clean of paying anything if the car is stolen or wrecked. This was an additional charge of $19.00 a day on top of the $167.98 we are paying to have the car from the 9AM to 4PM. So, doing the math, to have the car for 7 hours we are paying $186.98. Oh, and if we choose to reject the CDW, they would put a FIVE THOUSAND EURO (approx. $5,600 USD) hold on my credit card!
With reading all this, I decided I better check our car rental agreement for Scotland. Lo and freaking behold, I found more charges that my BIG BOLD PRINT reservation did not tell me. Here, we have the car for two days; pickup in Edinburgh, drive to St. Andrews for the night, and drive back to Edinburgh the next day. I was already a little perturbed with how much the reservation was: $278.24. Come to find out, we are also required to sign an excess waiver at $23.65 a day and some other bullshit at $35.29 a day. This brought my total reservation to $396.12. Holy Bejeezus.
I had planned this trip on a $446.22 rental car bill – NOT a $583.10 bill.
As I sat stewing and wishing I had a bottle of wine (I was at work), a brilliant idea came to me. Why don’t I price out train tickets?! Not only will this save us money, Brady said it will save our marriage because he will do nothing but yell at me for yelling at him while he is driving on the wrong side of the road…in a stick shift. The odds were not in our favor if we didn’t cancel our rental car reservations.
The savings I found today were unreal. The train ride from Killarney to Dublin with one change is just shy of 4 hours; the same as if we were to drive. I was able to book the Irish Rail tickets for a mere $45.43 for the both of us. I then began booking the Scotland Railways tickets from Edinburgh to St. Andrews and back. The train ride takes one hour and ten minutes with 2 stops along the way, but no changes. I was able to book two first class tickets round trip for $106.03. Done and done.
So, let’s break this down. The rental cars alone with those hidden fees added in comes to a whopping $583.10. The rail tickets with two first class tickets came to $151.46. I just saved us $431.64 that we can now spend elsewhere on our trip.
That, my friends, is why you should always read your rental car agreements!