Tripadvisor havs just launched a great new tool called ‘Getaway Picks’. The tool generates a list of possible getaway destinations that are accessible by car based on where you are starting your trip from and how much fuel you’re willing to use. So, if I need some inspiration for my planned weekend getaway, I simply enter the location of my home in Kent and select the limit on my fuel usage and the tool will tell me what top destinations are available. It also lists the top attractions you might want to check out at each destination. It’s great if you are looking to save money by taking trips that are closer to home but need a little inspiration.

The tool also has global coverage so you can also use it if you want to explore a little further afield from your holiday destination.

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I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for tips to help beat the income squeeze and, courtesy of a colleague in the States, I’ve found a very practical one from none other than US presidential candidate Barack Obama. And his tip? Simple, keep your tyres at the correct pressure. That might sound a little too simple to be effective but it has backing. According to the website ‘Be Tire Smart’, driving your car with just one tyre at 20% below the correct pressure can increase fuel consumption by 4%. What’s more, it can reduce the life of the tyre by 15,000km.

More importantly the website highlights some safety benefits of keeping tyres at the correct pressure. Under-inflating your tyres can cause delayed breaking, acceleration and steering while over-inflating the tyres can cause reduced grip and increased wear on components of the suspension as well as the tyres themselves.

This tip shows that there are some very simple things we can do to cut our fuel bills to battle rising prices. Let us know if you have any tips of your own!

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Lake TahoeI got home from the States a couple of weeks ago where my brother and I spent 10 days visiting my Dad. We spent a fair amount of our time at his place up in Lake Tahoe – a beautiful, freshwater lake surrounded by a mountainous terrain that is coloured with forests. It is one of those rare destinations that is equally fantastic in the winter as the summer.

In the summer there is plenty to keep you busy including golfing, fishing, rock climbing and water-skiing on the lake. You can also go white water rafting on the Truckee River with most people starting in Tahoe City, finishing at River Ranch. The Truckee River Raft Co is located on Highway 89. If cycling is your passion, Tahoe has some great bike paths. My step mum’s favourite starts on Highway 89 and Squaw Valley Road and takes you all the way into Tahoe City. There is a car park across from the Olympic Torch and a bike rental place behind it.

The Olympic Torch is symbolic of Squaw Valley’s role as host of the 1960 Winter Olympic games. This leads me on to Tahoe as a winter destination. Squaw Valley, for me, is the premier ski resort in Tahoe with some excellent, challenging ski runs. One alternative to Squaw Valley is the Northstar-At-Tahoe, a resort that caters more for the families with a wider range of beginner and intermediate runs. Otherwise there is Heavenly Valley in South Lake Tahoe, which is popular for it’s casinos and nightlife.

The nearest airport to Tahoe is Reno although we usually fly into San Francisco and make the 4-hour drive up (avoid driving up on a Friday to miss the weekend traffic). Avis is situated in both airports and, for me, renting a car is a must, particularly as there is little public transport in the area.

I’ve mentioned just a handful of things that you can do in Tahoe. Let me know if you’ve got any suggestions of your own.

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Today I am delighted to introduce our first ever guest blog post written by a customer. Adam Coulter, the Editor of TTG Business (a travel trade publication), has kindly written a review of our Home Delivery Service after trialling the product for us. As it’s a new service we’re keen to gather as much feedback as possible so if you have experienced the service for yourself then please post your any feedback of your own by adding a comment to this review.

Adam’s review of our Home Delivery Service:

Even though my nearest Avis office is a five minute walk or so down the road, the idea of getting up, gathering together all my documentation and then going out first thing on a Saturday morning (fine at this time of year, hideous in winter), never excites me. I usually end up co-ordinating an elaborate plan with my girlfriend about what time she needs to get our son ready for when I return with the car – which always needs to be finely timed between his breakfast and the on-the-dot arrival of the traffic wardens at 0830 – whether we should grab coffees before or after we hit the road and what time we actually leave. So, when Avis kindly offered for me to try out the home delivery service they have recently launched, I jumped at the chance.

Being a cynic, I assumed that the promised 0800 drop off would likely be nearer half eight and I’d end up calling the location, so used to I am with pizza delivery men and mini-cab drivers not finding the flat not to mention various parcel companies claiming they have delivered when clearly they hadn’t. I sat there at about quarter to thinking: “I bet I’ll end up having to wander down there,”, and started making the inevitable elaborate plans with my girlfriend…Anyway, there’s not a great deal to add at this point except: the car turned up on time, the two (not sure why that was necessary, but I felt very privileged), men could not have been more helpful and polite, I signed a couple of things, and that was it. I’d factored in at least an extra half an hour so I didn’t know what to do with myself!

The return was even more smooth – and welcome – as I had to get off to work and my son had to be dropped off at the childminder. Again, the man (just one this time), turned up on the dot, I handed him the keys and that was it. It was a great service. Beats getting up early on a Saturday morning that’s for sure.

Adam Coulter – TTG Business

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I read on the BBC website on Wednesday that the Bank of England has delivered its gloomiest assessment of the UK economy yet with Governor Mervyn King expecting growth to be flat and he could not rule out a recession.

In these testing times, we’ve been writing posts on this blog for a while now about saving money whilst driving and hiring cars. Over a year ago, we wrote a blog post suggesting tips for driving economically. Given the high fuel prices at the moment, I thought it might be worth reminding everybody of this information.

I thought it also might be worth reminding you about our blog post “Are you thinking about downsizing?” which could save you over £6,500 per year.

Have you got any money saving tips associated with driving? Why not let us know and we’ll share them with everyone.

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It’s been a real pleasure being a part of the blog team over the past 18 months. It’s provided us an opportunity to engage with our customers in a way that was not previously possible and, as an organisation, we’ve benefited greatly from reading the various comments and feedback from you all over the past year. They’ve made a huge difference to the way we do things over the past year.

Sadly my involvement with the blog will be significantly reduced as I have accepted an exciting new role in our European Headquarters as Head of Direct Marketing. However, I’ll still be maintaining an active interest in the blog and I’ll continue to keep tabs on what you are all saying. I’ll even write a post from time-to-time, giving updates on what is happening from a European perspective!

There are some other departures from the blog team. In a huge loss for Avis, Eibhlin is leaving Avis UK to return to her native Ireland for what I believe to be a really exciting role with a well-known mobile telecommunications company. Everyone is really sad to see Eibhlin go and she has been a huge influence on the set up and management of the blog.

Finally, Peter is finishing his secondment as Head of Customer Support and is returning to his role as head of the operations team in our south region. No doubt Peter will continue to provide an operations insight on the blog.

I’d also like to welcome my replacement Josi Kytle. Josi is arrives to the UK team having previously held the position of Head of Marketing Communications at Avis Europe with previous experience working at BA. In addition to Josi, Rob and Stephen will continue to write and answer your questions!

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I’ve just returned from holiday where I had my first experience with Heathrow’s new Terminal 5. And my experience just so happened to coincide with the launch of British Airway’s latest ad campaign: “T5 is working”. Describing the opening of T5 as troublesome would be an understatement (note: see our blog post about T5 for a taste of customer sentiment at the time), but this latest campaign is indicative of BA’s confidence that the new terminal is starting to deliver on those initially very high expectiations.

Well I’m pleased to announce that my recent experience was faultless. The building itself was immaculate and the process from self-checkin to luggage drop-off to going through security and finally making my way to the gate (via a bit of shopping) was as efficient and stress-free as one would hope it to be. Unfortunately, I didn’t get as much time browsing the shops as I would like (I was running late as usual) but I can tell you that the impressive array of shops available makes it well worth taking the time to get there early.

Arriving back into T5 was equally pain-free. There was absolutely no delays in landing and parking up at the gate. And I don’t think I’m being generous when I say that the time from departing the plane to making my way through passport control and collecting my luggage took little longer than 20 minutes. Certainly my experience was a good one.

Of course my experience is that of just one person and maybe I was just lucky! With this in mind I would love to hear from any other customers who have experienced T5 over the past month or two. Was your experience similar to mine? Do you agree with BA that “T5 is working”? Or have you had a differing experience? And for all those Exec Club members – please let us know what the lounges are like (I’m not privileged enough to be let in!)!

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It’s raining again so it must be time for my summer holidays. For the first one this year, I’m off to visit family in Ireland. However, this time, instead of Dublin, we’re going to stop off in Cork.

Cork is a great place to stay on the South Coast of Ireland when exploring the surrounding areas. Attractions like Blarney Castle, where you can kiss the Blarney Stone, are easily in reach of the city and for the more adventurous, all kinds of sporting activities, such as kayaking, horse riding, golf and rock climbing are available in the local area.

For the more sedate amongst us, the town centre contains most of the major shops and if you hungry or thirsty, there are far too many great restaurants and bars to count! You can also find many attractions closer to the town, like the Cork City Gaol, which are great for the kids and easy to get to from the city centre.

If you have the time, I recommend driving out to the Ring of Kerry, a couple of hours out of the city. The scenery is absolutely stunning and will leave you breathless every time you turn a corner! Remember to take your camera and you will not be disappointed.

It’s really easy to get to Cork as you can now fly there from 14 airports in the UK. If you need a car when you arrive, Avis has an office at the Airport, located in the arrivals hall.

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As part of Avis’ commitment to develop our network and seize on opportunities to grow our business, it was decided a location in North London was needed. So, with a huge fanfare, we would like to announce the opening of Avis Enfield !

Situated just inside the M25, the London Borough of Enfield is just 12 miles north east of Central London. The new Avis office is ideally situated on a busy main road and just off the North Circular so customers can find us easily. Avis have taken over a once run down petrol station and transformed it into what has to be described as a “flagship office“.

Enfield and its neighbouring boroughs are home to a growing number of residents, keen to move out of the city, but still within commuting distance. The same can be said for the booming industries relocating in the surrounding business and science parks. Also, with the 2012 Olympics coming up, it’s a great time to strengthen our network in the Greater London area.

The Manager, Jeremy, says having this new location to manage is a dream come true and his team, which include Mike and Richard, bring a wealth of London experience with them. Combine that with some traditional Avis “We Try Harder” service and who knows where they will be next year.

Have you rented from Enfield? Let us have your feedback

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Please note:

The details of all blog posts are correct at the time of publication. Information and offers are subject to change without prior notice. Please check www.avis.co.uk for the most up-to-date information.

All comments will be moderated so there may be a delay in your comment going live. We will filter out anything that is confidential, inappropriate, abusive, defamatory, profane, or anything considered as spam or an advertising link. We promise not to cut something just because it's not favourable to Avis.

We ask that if your feedback is regarding a past rental, you include your reservation details (which will be removed from the live post). If your comment is a customer service issue, you can email customer.service@avis.co.uk .
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Why we love to blog

At Avis, we really do try harder. We pioneered blogging in the car rental world and we aim to make our blog much more than just an information source. You can use our blog to ask questions or tell us what’s important to you when you hire a car. We try harder because we care what you think, so we really do value your feedback.

New to car rentals? Our blog gives you tips and advice on getting the most out of your Avis car hire experience. You can find information about booking and hiring your car, safety tips, and eco driving. We also provide driving advice and the latest news about our fleet.

We understand that hiring a car is just one part of your trip, so our blog covers other aspects of holiday and business travel too. Whether you want to know more about business travel hire conditions, access to location and city guides or ideas for families travelling with children, it’s all here.

But that’s just a taster – find out more about the Avis blog.