The quickest and most practical way to get to London is by plane. There are 4 international airports in London: Heathrow, Gatwich, Luton, and Stanstead. Heathrow and Gatwich are the major airports in the United Kingdom for transcontinental flights.
Heathrow is 24 km to the west from the centre of London and it can be reached by bus (the central bus station is close to the airport terminals), tube and Heathrow express train which leaves every 15-20 minutes; a taxi to the airport may be rather expensive, given that it takes an hour approximately to get there.
Gatwich airport is 45 km south of London. Gatwick Express trains connect the airport with Victoria Station, in the centre of London (duration: 30 minutes, without stops). Alternatively, you can use trains from Thameslink company which follow the same route but without intermediate stops.
There are over 400 autobus express services a day from the North and South terminals, that connect Gatwick with Heathrow airport and with the different regions of London. Flights from different airlines, communicate London with any country in the world.
If you are in continental Europe, you can take a ferry or the Eurostar train which crosses the English Channel.
The tube is the fastest means of transport in the city. During the week it is open from 5.30 a.m. till midnight , and during the weekends from 7.00 a.m. to 11.30 p.m. you can get a free map at tube stations, train stations and tourist agencies. There is also an extensive bus network in London, with over 17,000 stops.
The cheapest way of traveling in London is with travelcards. They can be used in the tube, bus, and in the Docklands train. Black cabs in London are an excellent means of transport, though too expensive, while minicabs are far cheaper.
As we have already shown, public transport is frequently used in London to move from one place to another, though many times it is advisable to get rid of pressures stemming from timetables and fares, by renting a car which is faster and safer, as well.
Besides, although at the beginning rental price may be high, if you make numbers you will realize you will probably spend far more in tube tickets and taxis than in car rental. In London, prices vary from 79 to 150 pounds, depending on the brand and the kind of car of your choosing.
However, given the complexity that obtaining such a costly good for such a low cost entails, car rental companies set certain terms and obligations that must be complied with. Most of them have to do with common sense, although there are some covenants that must be carefully looked at. These are some:
Bear in mind that the rental contract includes some general terms that must be accepted by the user the covenants of which are nonnegotiable.
Credit card is the way of payment of choice. Debit cards are not admitted.
It is necessary to have at least a one-year driving experience to be able to rent a car. Some companies, or some car categories additionally set a 25-year-old age limit.
Car rentals are taxed a 16%.V.A.T.
you must carefully check whether the base rate includes all risks insurance, crash damages, damage to driver and vehicle’s occupants.
some companies will request a higher rate at the moment of hiring insurance with a higher risk coverage given that it is not included in the initial rate.
You will typically pay for the petrol used, and you must return the vehicle with the tank filled or else pay the difference. It is convenient to return it with the tank filled, given that it may be cheaper.
Airport: normally a special fare is charged when renting a car at the airport.
Accessories: if you want some special equipment say it with enough time in advance (child seat, hands-free, etc). They will also be charged separately.
Additional driver: he will have to pay an extra charge.
Contracts may or may not have a mileage limit. When signing the contract check the mileage hired. Should you exceed them you will have to pay for the excess.
You will have a 24-hour service on road. Keep the phone number at hand in case you need to use it.
Follow traffic rules. If you happen to be fined the company will identify you as the driver and you will be charged for it.
For mechanic problems call your assistance and remember not to force the vehicle, any problem deriving from inadequate use of the vehicle may pass on to repair costs.
Remember not to leave the vehicle unlocked or with the windows down. Do not leave the keys with unknown people. These precautions will save problems.
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