Best car rental apps for escaping the city during October half term

Best car rental apps for escaping the city during October half term

There’s plenty to see and do within a few hours’ drive of London, and October half-term is the perfect time for the whole family to escape the city. Taking children on trains and buses is stressful at the best of times, and the various ongoing strikes mean that finding more reliable transport may be the best way forward.

Fortunately, various apps make it easy to rent a car for as little or as long as you want, so you and the family can enjoy your time outside of London.

From monthly subscription models to eco-friendly electric cars, here’s a look at some of the best car rental apps available in London.

The car club one: Zipcar

Zipcars can be hired all over London

/ Zipcar

Zipcar operates a car club model. You register on the website, and can pay a small membership fee for cheaper rent – but you don’t have to. Then you are free to pick up a car in your local area and deliver it when you no longer need it. Since the lockdown eased, the company has seen a 50 percent increase in its Roundtrip product on weekends, as people flee the city for breaks.

Cleaning and safety are key for the car rental company. Zipcar has installed enhanced cleaning protocols and teams perform spot tests on every vehicle it has on the road at regular intervals throughout the week. It also encourages members to bring disinfecting wipes and use antibacterial hand gel before and after each trip.

Zipcar vehicles can be hired from £3/hour

The Contactless: Virtuo

Virtuo leases Mercedes A-Class and GLA cars in London / Virtuoso

Virtuo has become a popular choice for weekend getaways from London thanks to its contactless and seamless process.

Simply reserve a car in the app and pick it up at a transport hub, use your smartphone to unlock and lock the car and turn it on.

The app will soon add a service where it will deliver cars to your door and has also expanded the cleaning process by using public recommended products to clean vehicles between rentals. “For us, the contactless nature of our rental car and the fact that we have always cleaned our cars after each rental has put us in a strong position. We have always offered free cancellations and modifications to ensure customers can travel with confidence,” says Virtuos Adam Bodini.

Virtuoso cars can be hired from £50/day

The electric: E-Car Club

E-Car Club offers electric and hybrid cars

/ E-car club

If you don’t want to do away with the environmental benefits of not driving for several months, E-Car Club could be the platform for you. The service offers all-electric and hybrid cars so you can keep your carbon footprint low during your journey.

Everything is done through the app, including unlocking the car, so it’s a contactless process and the app will tell you where to find the nearest charging point so you never run out of juice.

Do you want an alternative electric car service? UFODrive is a new app for Londoners that lets them rent a Tesla Model 3 or Model S from £89 a day.

E-car club vehicles are available from £35/day

The P2P: Hiyacar and Getaround

You can share your car with your neighbors using Hiyacar and Getaround

/ Hiyacar

If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper way to get around this summer, check to see if your neighbor or someone local offers their rental car. Platforms like Hiyacar and Getaround allow people to rent out their cars as a way to earn a little extra, demonstrating that there is no need for everyone to own their own vehicle.

During the lockdown, Getaround saw demand drop by around 80 per cent while Hiyacar covered costs for NHS staff to borrow rental cars on the platform for free if they needed them to get to work or to buy groceries. Now both platforms are seeing demand increase.

Both platforms have strict measures for cleaning vehicles between uses. Owners can flag if a car has been potentially contaminated and Getaround will quarantine it for three days so no one else can rent it.

As a result, Getaround says people are renting cars well at pre-lockdown levels, with weekends particularly strong, while Hiyacar says sharing is up almost 100 percent compared to 2020.

Getting around vehicles can be hired from £21/day depending on car. Hiyacar vehicles can be hired from £28/day depending on car.

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