During the disruption caused by the Volcano ash last week, Avis implemented a number of initiatives to help stranded customers across Europe, we kept our rates flat during the period and made sure that our one-way fees were charged at the standard rate. We temporarily removed the cancelations charges for customer and implemented a number of tactical offers to help customers including the UK one-way special for £76.

Now the situation has passed and travel in Europe is back to normal, we have re-implemented our cancellation and non-cancellation charges, for more details on these charges read our previous blog post. As a result of the large number of one-way rentals across Europe, you can now find some good deals, for example France are currently offering a €1 euro rental for one-way, one day rentals from the North of France to the South, these are available to book on www.avis.co.uk and are only available till 30th April.

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If you live in the city, chances are you don’t need a car all that often. So why waste money buying, taxing, parking and maintaining your own, when Avis Car Rental can provide the perfect vehicle whenever you need it for a fraction of the cost?

Avis car rental makes a lot of sense
With everything on your doorstep in the city, you simply don’t need a car all the time. City centre parking charges alone can be enough to encourage you to catch the bus or take the train. If you live in London, you’ll have the congestion charge to consider too. What’s more, in many city suburbs, local parking permits or garage hire can cost a packet, even if you leave your car at home. Hire a car with Avis and you’ll only pay when you need it, and have none of the hassle when you don’t.

Choose the right car
This can be a problem for the occasional user, with different trips making different demands. Collecting that antiques fair bargain isn’t easy in a sports car, but then a weekend in the country is no fun in a huge estate. By hiring from the extensive fleet at Avis, you can match a car to your plans, rather than always limiting what you do to fit your car. What’s more, you’ll always be driving the latest models with low mileage and in the best possible condition. Avis does all the repairs and servicing and pays all the tax and insurance of its fleet so no worries about reliability and no maintenance costs. Not having to waste part of your weekend car washing and cleaning is also a bonus.

Treating yourself is simple as Avis Prestige has depots in London, Heathrow and Manchester. Why not take the chance to enjoy the high life, driving cars you may never normally afford, from a Mercedes SLK to an exclusive Maserati Quattroporte. Enjoy a weekend away and impress your friends and family by taking the wheel of a top of the range supercar.

Make it easy on yourself
If you don’t own a car, hiring an Avis car is easy with delivery to your door. If you want to pick up, there are branches all over the UK and plenty across the capital, all easily accessed via the London Underground. You can even arrange one way car hire for added flexibility.

Avis makes you feel the car is your own, with all the extras you’d enjoy such as air conditioning. You can hire baby and child seats to make sure everyone stays safe, and even add an extra driver to share the miles on longer trips. Whatever your plans, Avis Car Hire can put the perfect package together for you.

When you consider the advantages of Avis car rental, and the savings you can make by not owning a car that you rarely drive, you can see why more and more people, who live and work in cities across the UK, are turning to car rental.

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Following the disruption caused by the closure of European airspace a number of customers have wanted to rent a car one-way to another country. There has been some press commentary on the levels of charges for such rentals and some unfounded accusations of profiteering. I wanted to set the record straight on this issue by explaining why Avis (and other car rental firms) have these charges in place.

As a consumer, rather than an employee of Avis, I can understand that a fee of €1,000+ for a one or two day rental might initially seem excessive, if not outrageous. However, when you begin to look at the costs involved for a car rental company in fulfilling such a one-way rental the picture changes somewhat and you can quite quickly appreciate our position.

Firstly, many such rentals will typically incur significant mileage. Whereas we would usually expect a car to run up around 100 miles a day, these one-way journeys can easily add up to 1,000 miles – plus 1,000 miles back. Therefore a “one day” rental has used nearly a month’s worth of allocated mileage! Depending on the car type, this can be £2-300 of cost to us as we will need to return the car to the manufacturer one month early.

Secondly, we are not set up to cope with a large volume of such rentals and typically need to hire a driver to take the car back. Assuming it takes 3 days on average this means a further £300 of cost. On top of this we need to account for fuel, motorway tolls, hotel and food allowances for our driver and a flight home which in total can exceed £400.

Finally, we need to account for the opportunity cost of the likely missed rentals we miss while the car has unexpectedly been taken out of its home country, which again could mount up to hundreds of pounds of lost revenue.

Once they understand the very real and significant costs incurred by us, customers I have spoken to about this over the past couple of days have recognised that Avis is acting reasonably to apply these fees, however counterintuitive it may seem at first glance. Indeed in many cases we will end up losing money on these rentals. Volcanoes notwithstanding, there are usually better ways for customers to make such a journey, for example by plane!

We would like to ensure that customers still returning from the Continent inform us before bringing any continental car into the UK. This will ensure they are fully aware of costs, and also avert the potential for them to be driving uninsured in the UK (which may be the case if we are not informed at point of pickup).

Avis UK has taken a number of steps to help our customers over the past few days. Firstly, we have waived one way fees for left hand drive cars being taken back to their home location on the continent. Secondly we will of course refund or amend prepaid rentals which were meant to pick up during the flight ban and will not be applying our standard non-cancellation fee. Thirdly, we are making sure we cater for the needs of customers finally arriving back into the UK by moving fleet to key ports and airports, extending opening hours and until Sunday offering a one-way rate within the UK for only £76 for up to two days to help people get back home (this offer is valid until midnight on Sunday 25th April 2010).

I hope this post helps to clarify the situation, and would be happy to answer any further questions.

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May Bank Holiday ideasThe two Bank Holidays in May are always welcome but after the winter we’ve had this year, they definitely need celebrating. With an Avis car, you can make any trip, near or far, just that little bit more special…

Impress your friends…
Bank Holidays are great for catching up with friends you haven’t seen for a while. Especially if you have pals who live somewhere that has better scenery. Make the most of it by hiring a car instead of taking your own – you don’t have the expense of a hotel, so why not travel in style? Rent a BMW or a Mercedes for the weekend and enjoy the celebrity lifestyle. If you are not 100% sure where you are going Avis GPS to make sure getting lost doesn’t spoil your image.

Enjoy the UK as a tourist…
Living here tends to make you take Britain for granted. Bank Holiday travel outside your own country doesn’t mean going too far when there are three others to explore within the UK.

A really good trip is to take the sleeper to Edinburgh, explore the city and then pick up your Avis rental car to get out to a small family run hotel on the Scottish Coast. Driving back in stages can then take you to Holy Island and the historic city of York. With additional driver cover, you can share the driving and the sightseeing.

Or head further north to Inverness and taking the car to the highlands. Otherwise fly to Dublin then pick up the car at the airport and spend the Saturday evening toasting the Bank Holiday with smooth single malt or some real Irish Guinness. From Dublin you can then take the car up the coast and spend a night in Belfast before flying home from there. Single tickets are available to and from any airport, and a car can be dropped off at any Avis desk, so just make your own rules.

Some early spring sun…
May Bank Holiday weekends at home can be a lot of fun but it’s tempting to plan a longer European break at Whitsun as the kids will be off school at half term. Getting a fly/drive deal is easy and there are so many possibilities within 2 hours of major UK airports.

A plane to Bergerac or Toulouse will deliver you straight into the heart of the French chateaux region to spend a few days driving around the gorgeous medieval villages and dining in style in the warm evenings. A trip to Alicante, Malaga or Lisbon in late May will mean packing sun lotion as the temperatures will be in the mid 20s at least. But if the thought of sunbathing makes you feel hot and bothered, check out flights to Venice – it’s one of the busiest regions in Europe for Avis and a great base for renting a car and exploring northern Italy.

With Avis car hire available at all major European airports, why not make the most of your May breaks?

If you have some great May Bank holiday tips or top locations let us know.

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During the period of air travel disruption across Europe caused by the volcanic cloud, Avis Europe is committed to trying harder to fulfil the travel needs for all customers who have been affected.

On bookings during this period,we will not be charging the non-cancellation fee (normally applicable when customers don’t fulfil their reservations and don’t cancel their booking at least 24 hours prior to pick up) so customers do not need to call us to cancel a reservation.

However if customers wish to cancel or amend their bookings, they can do so online by visiting the modify your booking section of the website.

Also, any pre-paid bookings made for pickup during this period, that cannot be taken as a result of these travel disruptions, will be fully reimbursed. Customers can claim their refunds by emailing the customer service department at customer.service@avis.co.uk

We are also offering one-way car rental for the hire cost plus the normal standard fee in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria – please book directly on this website www.avis.co.uk or call Avis UK on 08445 81 81 81.

Please note our call centres are experiencing a high volume of calls – if you call us we will make sure we answer as soon as we can.

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Amidst the confusion that has been caused in the travel and tourism markets by the eruption of the Icelandic volcano, many consumers are in the dark about how to obtain refunds on car hire bookings they will be unable to fulfil.

Here at Avis Car Hire we are happy to announce that we are taking steps to ensure our customers are not out of pocket due to the unforeseeable events of the last 36 hours. Avis will be waiving the Non Cancellation Fee that customers face if they fail to turn up to collect their vehicle – a cost of £40 per vehicle – as well as offering full refunds to pre-paying customers who contact their local customer service centre.

We are keen to help our customers get to their destination wherever possible and this move is designed to minimise the impact of these extraordinary events.

If you need to cancel or modify your booking please visit the air traffic disruption page on our website.

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escape-the-cityGetting out into the British countryside after working hard all week is great for relaxation and family time. So why not guarantee the car of your choice with Avis Select Series and make the most of your weekends this summer?

I am sure you’ll agree that spring is definitely in the air and it’s the perfect time to start planning weekend getaways for the warmer weather. So when Friday afternoon comes, leave the stress of work behind, arranging to pick up your rental car and look forward to exploring the beautiful British countryside. But don’t forget to plan the route before you leave.

Spoilt for choice

With Avis car hire available locally you can take your pick of UK destinations within 150-200 miles of home. Wherever you live there’s plenty to see, so check our favourite places to get some inspiration for your weekend getaway:

Devon boasts more than 300 miles of stunning coastline with 60 beaches of every kind for surfing, sailing, relaxing in the sun or strolling along the cliffs. With theme parks, castles and forts, zoos and aquaria, landscaped gardens and farm attractions to visit, it’s hard to fit it all into one weekend.

The Cotswolds in central England are famous for gentle rolling hills, charming villages and enticing tea shops. Stay in a lovely small hotel or wake up to breakfast at a local farm and enjoy the peace of the countryside. If that’s not your thing, why not visit Bath or Cheltenham for their rich history, impressive architecture, or even just the boutique shopping.

Brecon Beacons is a National Park in south Wales packed with vast natural landscapes, traditional market towns, canal paths, castles and lots of family attractions. Just being in the rolling countryside and valleys, big open spaces, and near to rugged waterfalls and caves makes work pressures vanish. Wales is a perfect place for guided walks, wildlife, camping and canoeing – and with a roomy Avis luxury car such as an Audi A4, there’s plenty of space for all of you and your kit.

Yorkshire is the largest county in England and is packed with weekend treats. Cruise around the beautiful Dales near Ripon and Harrogate, the Yorkshire Moors up by Pickering and Malton or along the coast to take in the delights of Scarborough and Whitby. After a bracing walk, why not stop for Sunday lunch and all the trimmings in a traditional Yorkshire pub before heading home in comfort.

With a rental car you won’t miss the train…

Trains are fine but with a rental car you don’t have the restriction of timetables or the fight for cramped seats, or getting the family’s suitcases from one train to another, especially after commuting all week long. Plus rail companies often resort to doing engineering works at the weekends which causes major delays for weekend breakers. It also means arranging extra transport to your hotel the other end and then relying on local buses if you want to explore… Not exactly a stress-free break. With Avis car hire you can book a luxury rental car for the whole weekend, take all the luggage you need and go exactly where you want, when you want.

We hope this helps you with inspiration for you weekend get away, but if you have any other suggestion of your favourite weekend getaway locations in the UK we would love to know.

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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.