Categories
Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

North America > United States > Puerto Rico

See: Why hire a car in Puerto Rico ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments


Car hire advice for the city of San Juan and the island of Puerto Rico (based on flyign into SJU):
Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Puerto Rico car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

cool Why? Visiting Puerto Rico using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Puerto Rico ?


  1. El Yunque — explore this superb forested region on the south of the island, one of the great natural wonders of the Caribbean.
  2. Ponce – if you just visit once town on the island, drive over to wonderfully colourful Ponce!
  3. Arecibo Observatory — when it comes to hulking great mega structures in exotic tropical locations, few places can rival the enormous Arecibo Observatory, which has been given global exposure in the film Contact, and subsequently as the location for the finale of the James Bond film Goldeneye. The dish is a little bit grubbier than the films make it out to be, but it is still a truly gargantuan site that is like no other, as even though there is no drainable lake (as per goldeneye), the structure is still built into the undulating volcanic landscape. Forget about trying to get remotely close to this extra terrestrial location in public transport, the only way to get here is in a hire car.
  4. Explore the island — just as we would say anywhere, a hire car is going to give you a lot more flexibility than any other means of getting around, and Puerto Rico can take several hours to cross from east to west.
  5. Limited public transport — there is no regional or intercity railway on Puerto Rico, and buses around the island are also fairly limited. In Europe, we would say that a public transport oriented city will enable you to start your visit with a train ride into town from the airport, but in the Caribbean, a city is doing well if it even has a bus to and from the airport. I last visited Puerto Rico in 2007, and wasn’t aware of any such bus then, although you can now at least take a bus into downtown San Juan. The city does also now have a metro, although its range is very poor compared to other European or even North American cities with urban rail systems.
  6. Rum – (Bacardi) – visit the largest rum distillery in the world at Catano. Only problem is, you have to drive to visit the drinks distillery! Needless to say, don’t sample too much of the product!
  7. Dangerous driving — I’ve never driven in Sicily or any other South American countries which are reputed to have extremely dangerous roads, but Puerto Rico is certainly the worst place I have ever actually driven in. It feels like a combination of the worst elements of American sprawling highway planning combined with that Latino temperament. Within seconds after joining the main highway out of Lewis Munoz Marin airport I was involved in the very near collision with another car, and of course I’m going to say it wouldn’t have been my fault — I had just arrived from continental America, so I was already perfectly used to driving on the right and driving automatics! If you are going to hire a car in San Juan, be prepared to do battle!
  8. First resort — most of the major resort hotels serving the San Juan area are along a strip of beach which is very close to the airport itself. Some hotels will lay on a shuttle bus, whereas to get to other hotels, you shouldn’t have to spend more than a few minutes in a taxi.
  9. By Caribbean standards, taxis in San Juan are extremely reasonable.
  10. Old town San Juan — you might have to fight your way through sprawl to get out of the airport, but once in the city of San Juan itself, you will find a delightfully historic UNESCO protected old town. You shouldn’t have any problem finding a parking garage, but this area is definitely one just to walk around.
  11. Metro — San Juan does a least now have a sparkling new Metro system (Tren Urbano), the first urban mass transit on any Caribbean island. However, it is just one single line, and in many places it follows the American run down the middle of a highway model, so it is neither particularly pleasant to use, nor all that useful as a means of getting around. However, plenty of municipal buses are available within the San Juan metropolitan area. Outside greater San Juan, you will find a taxi hub in each main town, and shared taxis operate within the larger towns and from one town to the next.
  12. Bioluminescant Bay — even more fascinating, visit Vieques Island for its superb luminous bay – an effect created when the micro organisms in the water get disturbed. A whole range of conditions are needed to create this effect, so there are only a handful of such places in the world. To get here, you will need to take a ferry from Fajardo on mainland Puerto Rico or fly from Luis Munoz airport, so a hire car is of little benefit! Corcho Beach is also consistently rated as one of the best in the world.
  13. Cruise connections — many people passing through San Juan are joining or leading cruise ships, so if you are considering whether or not to get a hire car for just a few hours or even a day or two, it is probably best not to get one.

 

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Do you need a car in San Juan? Conclusion — getting a hire car in San Juan will obviously give you more flexibility to explore the island, just as it would anywhere else. On the other hand, given the huge hassles involved with driving in Puerto Rico, and the fact that public transport here, whilst poor by European or coastal North American standards, is light years ahead of any other Caribbean island. For this reason, we suggest thinking twice before getting a hire car in San Juan.

Categories
Portugal

Porto

Europe > Portugal > Porto

See: Why hire a car in Porto ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Apart from the obvious connections with port production in the region, the most resounding mental image of Porto is out of the huge Luis I double deck bridge which spans the river Duoro.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Porto car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

The city of Porto has recently invested heavily in its transport network, and this includes a massively upgraded tram network with a tunnel under the city centre, as well as a new airport terminal. Local trains are certainly good enough heading along the coast, and Portugal also has modern high-speed trains heading south to Lisbon and then on to Faro, although they are still using old conventional tracks, so don’t be fooled into thinking you will get anything like the same speed as on the new fast lines in neighbouring Spain.

Yet a hire car is still going to be useful for heading inland, and if you’d rather tour around lots of different locations along the coast instead of just visiting a few major ones by train, then a hire car will still be useful to.

 

Driving Roads

There’s no doubt that Portugal has some great driving roads, and that a road trip started in Porto could quite nicely continue down to the capital Lisbon or even onto the Algarve – just check carefully about one-way rental charges. In particular, it might well be cheaper to hire in Faro and then work your way up from there, as Faro car hire prices tend to be more competitive than elsewhere in Portugal, but this isn’t always the case.

 

However we also think that Porto is enough of a city to enjoy in its own right, and if you are going to combine it with a short break featuring Lisbon at the same time, then this really can all be done perfectly well using intercity trains and local public transport.

It’s also well worth researching the different prices for Porto airport car hire for the whole duration of your stay and comparing this with just picking up a car in the city centre for a day or two’s usage beyond. As with elsewhere in Portugal, the prices for car hire in Porto can vary considerably, from ridiculously cheap longer term airport rates for economy hatchbacks, going up to much more expensive peak season rates. During these popular holiday periods we tend to find that the (proportional) difference between city and airport car hire rates is not so substantial.

Remember to check the fuel policy before confirming any Porto car hire deals.

 

Needless to say, if you are coming here for the love of the production and consumption of port, then there’s more than enough to see, quite literally by sticking around the city of port.
Plenty of tours of vineyards around Porto are available by bus from major hotels in the city.

cool Why? Visiting Porto using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Porto ?


  • Generally useful for exploring well outside the city.
  • The Duoro valley is still very rural once outside Porto (other than the single rail line) – a car is far more flexible.
  • Trains generally only serve the city of Porto, north-south routes near the coast,

foot-in-mouth Why not? Visiting Porto without a car

Why don't you need a car in Porto ?


  • Porto has a truly outstanding range of public transport – from streetcars to funiculars to a modern light rail metro system.
  • The most iconic bridge – the Luis I bridge, can only be fully appreciated on foot – but you can also cross the top deck by tram.
  • Porto is often overlooked in the rush to the sunny Algarve – step back, put on a good pair of walking shoes, and enjoy it!

yell Ratings: How does Porto compare?

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Should you hire a car in Porto? Probably not!

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in [table “1” does not have that cell /]
?

Categories
Poland

Poznan

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? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Poznan car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

I briefly visited Poznan when travelling by train and ferry between Berlin and Copenhagen in 2008. As with any other large European city that was previously situated behind the Iron Curtain, Poznan has a perfectly adequate tram and bus network.

cool Why? Visiting Poznan using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Poznan ?



Poznan also has a very traditional urban core and some fantastic historic buildings. Visitors will probably also want to get out a bit beyond the city and start exploring further afield. For this, we think that a hire car generally makes a lot of sense.

foot-in-mouth Why not? Visiting Poznan without a car

Why don't you need a car in Poznan ?


  • No need for a car within the city.
  • Poznan is a vibrant, historic city. There’s plenty to see and do here, so you may not want to travel much further, especially if you are here on a short city break.
  • Rail network is substantial, if a little old!
  • Buses provide links to most nearby towns and villages.

yell Ratings: How does Poznan compare?

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Is it worth hiring a car in Poznan? A rental car here is far from essential, and there certainly no need for one within the city centre, but it will probably come in handy for travelling further beyond.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in [table “1” does not have that cell /]
?

Categories
Mexico

Cancun

Should you rent a car in Cancun?

 

North America > Mexico > Cancun

See: Why hire a car in Cancun ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Although many cities in Mexico have a substantially longer history, since the 1970s, Cancun has grown extensively around the tourism industry. This a destination which was largely developed around the car. Needless to say, airport transfers here are easy enough to come by. There are plenty resort shuttles travelling around and between the main hotel areas. However, no visit to Cancun can ever really do the area justice without also visiting some of the other coastal areas which are nearby and also venturing inland within the Yucatan Peninsula. In particular to visit the world heritage sites at Chichén Itzá.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Cancun car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

cool Why? Visiting Cancun using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Cancun ?


  • Felxibility to explore the Yucatan on your own terms.
  • No rail service in or around Cancun.

foot-in-mouth Why not? Visiting Cancun without a car

Why don't you need a car in Cancun ?


It’s also worth pointing out that many of these historic sites can also be done as part of a packaged day trip, but they are much harder to do by scheduled bus. Although there are various different scheduled bus services to and from Cancun, there is no rail service in this part of Mexico.

  • Most places can still be visited using taxis, local buses, coaches or organised tours.
  • No car needed for any beach activities.
  • Daily first class buses to Chichén Itzá will take you there in around 3 hours. You can also take cheaper, slower and less comfortable standard bus services or collectivos (large minibuses).

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Should you rent a car in Cancun? On balance, Cancun is the sort of destination where our advice leans towards getting a hire car, but it’s certainly far from essential – verdict yes.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Cancun ?

Categories
United Kingdom

Cambridge

Europe > United Kingdom > Cambridge

See: Why hire a car in Cambridge ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Cambridge car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Cambridge is the UK’s cycling capital – at least in numerical terms. The city itself is compact and driving is a nightmare. So why would you want to hire a car there?

cool Why? Visiting Cambridge using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Cambridge ?


  • Explore Cambridgeshire villages.
  • Visit The Fens and the East Anglia coast line.

foot-in-mouth Why not? Visiting Cambridge without a car

Why don't you need a car in Cambridge ?


  • There are very few reasons to visit Cambridge with a car – as outlined above!
  • Cycling city – Cambridge is the UK’s cycling city, with more journeys made by bike (per capita) than any other. Around 30% of all journeys in Cambridge are made by bike, putting it on a par with the Dutch average.
  • Easy cycle hire – starting at “Station Cycles“, which does exactly what the name suggests – hiring various different types of cycle directly outside the Cambridge station building.
  • Pedestrian friendly – Cambridge is also an easy city to walk around, with all the major attractions within a short distance of each other.
  • Take a punt – why not mess around on a boat on the Cam River?
  • Take a train to Ely.

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Conclusion – Cambridge is an obvious place where a hire car really isn’t worth considering.

Verdict – no

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Cambridge ?

Categories
Switzerland

Basel

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Basel car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

One city, 3 countries….

Naturally for the city of Basel itself, it goes without saying that as with any other Swiss city, public transport is excellent. However, unlike Geneva or Zürich, there is no direct rail link from Basel airport to the Central Station. The city of Freiburg has a long-standing reputation as being one of Germany’s greenest cities, and again the public transport is excellent. Public transport is also perfectly reasonable in the French city of Mulhouse, although it is less good for exploring the areas around it.

Once outside the cities, what are your best options?

cool Why? Visiting Basel using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Basel ?


Reasons why you might need to hire a car in Basel

  • Variable public transport — Basel is a very important hub on the Swiss rail network, and there are three routes going into south-west Germany. However, only one of the German routes is a mainline, and there is only one line going into France, although this is the line to Mulhouse, which is served by the French TGV, albeit at a slower pace than when it is on a dedicated high speed line.
  • Cost — unless booked in advance (but you can only do this up to 15 days before the date of travel), Swiss trains can be ridiculously expensive, so booking a seemingly cheap flight to Basel instead of Zürich, and then taking the train into eastern Switzerland might be a false economy. Although car hire in Switzerland isn’t that cheap either, for a group of three or four, picking up a rental car at Basel airport might well be far cheaper than taking the train.
  • Cheaper to drive? It is easy to justify the high cost of train travel in Switzerland when the views are so superb, but apart from the route to Neuchâtel mentioned below, the train routes around Basel are nothing like as special as they are heading south from Zürich or Bern. If it is cheaper to drive, then you might as well do so.
  • Vosges – go for a drive in the Ballons des Vosges Natural Park, just beyond Mulhouse.

foot-in-mouth Why not? Visiting Basel without a car

Why don't you need a car in Basel ?


Saving money by visiting Basel without a car?

  • Cost — even if you have a choice of arriving in two countries, neither France nor Switzerland, nor Basel in particular are good value for car hire.
  • Swiss rail passes — a number of different rail passes are available in Switzerland, usually giving unlimited travel on a set number of days. If you take advantage of this option, it doesn’t matter that Basel is further away from some alpine destinations than Zürich.
  • Swiss transfer ticket — another option for long-distance train travel within Switzerland is to take advantage of the Swiss transfer ticket, which gives halfprice travel to anywhere in Switzerland on the same day that your flight arrives (or departs on the way out). Basel is a good airport to use for the Bernese Oberland, or for continuing through the Lotchberg Base Tunnel and on to the world-famous resort of Zermatt, which sits under the iconic Matterhorn.
  • Swiss trains — Swiss trains are famous for good reason, and this needs no introduction — see our Zürich and Bern pages for more information.

Where to visit?

  • Neuchâtel — the lake and city of Neuchâtel are one of the most underrated places to visit in the Swiss Lowlands. The view from the city across the lake with the Alps behind is superb. Take the train from Basel to Moutier, then to the bilingual city of Biel / Bienne via Sonceboz, and then towards Geneva via Neuchâtel, and you can enjoy outstanding scenery for virtually the whole journey.
  • Vitra — whether you are appreciative of good design or great architecture, the Vitra design Museum, designed by the late deconstructivist architect Zaha Hadid, is in nearby Weil-am-Rhein (Germany).

yell Ratings: How does Basel compare?

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If you started with the natural assumption that there would be no point in hiring a car in Basel, then there are plenty of reasons to think again. Whereas it might be clearer that a hire car in either Zürich or Bern is a bad idea, it is much less clear-cut in Basel. Therefore, relative to Swiss expectations, a hire car is certainly worth looking at.

Verdict — yes

Categories
Bahrain

Bahrain

Do you need a car in Bahrain?

Asia > Bahrain > Bahrain

See: Why hire a car in Bahrain ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments


Hiring a car in any of the Gulf states is never for the fainthearted. Although the roads in this part of the world tend to be on the wider side of life, and many of them are brand spanking new, this region is also notorious for its astonishingly high accident rate, and naturally this puts off many visitors from wanting to drive at all.
Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Bahrain car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

cool Why? Visiting Bahrain using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Bahrain ?



Generally, we don’t advise any particularly strong reasons for wanting to hire a car in Bahrain.

foot-in-mouth Why not? Visiting Bahrain without a car

Why don't you need a car in Bahrain ?



In some other Gulf cities, it’s easier just to bite the bullet and get a rental car anyway, because trusting your faith in local taxi drivers might not be that much better either. However, in Manama we really don’t think there’s any need to get a hire car at all, because tiny Bahrain is also one most densely populated countries on the planet, and there really are very few places to drive to, unless you want to venture across the King Faisal Causeway into neighbouring Saudi Arabia, which is another matter altogether (and not easily done without going through a long visa process)!
For transfers to and from the main hotels in Manama, local buses and taxis are more than sufficient, and the same applies to travelling within the city.
Do you need a car in Bahrain?Therefore our Manama/Bahrain car advice is a strong no.

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Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Bahrain ?


Do you need a car in Bali?

Asia > Indonesia > Bali

See: Why hire a car in Bali ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments


Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Bali car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

The natural starting point for a beautiful island like Bali is that this is the sort of place where you might well just want to kick off your shoes and relax in and around your resort for a week, indulging in as little movement as possible. There are certainly no shortage of absolutely stunning luxury resorts in Bali which offer the full pampering service, with no expense spared!
However, if you are looking for a car in the first place, then the purpose of this advice is to consider whether or not a hire car is the best way to get around. We’re not here to say you should just go back to your resort and do nothing! If that’s your plan, you wouldn’t be here!
Yet it’s also worth saying that Denpasar itself has become increasingly commercialised, and that the romantic charm is completely lost amongst the tacky shopping malls and congested 6 lane highways that people think they are coming to Bali to get away from. But there is also no substantial form of organised public transport in Bali, outside urban buses in Denpasar, and a small number of scheduled buses shuttling between the other major cities on the island.
You might well be able to take an organised tour around some of the more impressive temple sites, but the ultimate question is – is this really the best way to see the island?
On balance, a hire car here might be quite a good idea.

cool Why? Visiting Bali using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Bali ?



• Explore the island in full, at your own pace.
• A hire car is very useful to get well outside the city of Denpasar.
• Denpasar is very commercialised, but public transport is still relatively poor.

cool Why? Visiting Bali using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Bali ?



• Many places can still be reached using local buses.
• Denpasar is congested and strangled by 6 lane highways. Driving is not particularly pleasant until you get well beyond the city.
• To reach really “unspoilt” places, you may prefer to keep them that way and stay on foot!

yell Ratings: How does Bali compare?

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Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Bali ?

Categories
USA

Phoenix

North America > United States > Phoenix

See: Why hire a car in Phoenix ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Phoenix is the ultimate car dependent sprawl city, yet as it offers almost year-round sunshine it has consistently attracted more and more incomers, and has thus become even more sprawling as a result. We still have to start with the assumption that most visitors to Phoenix know that it is heavily reliant on the private car, so is there any reason to consider visiting the city without one?

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Phoenix car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

cool Why? Visiting Phoenix using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Phoenix ?


Driving in Phoenix

  • Driving city! Phoenix is thoroughly suburban in nature, with wide roads and residential neighbourhoods which are all geared around the car.
  • Public transport is poor. Despite recent investments in the Valley Metro, the system still only has a very limited mileage, given the vast size of Phoenix.
  • In a city like Phoenix, bus passengers are very much made to feel like third class citizens.
  • It’s hot — we need not state the obvious, but Arizona can get ridiculously hot, and this, combined with the traffic and general lack of decent sidewalks can make it very unpleasant to get around either on your own two feet.
  • No railway station — Phoenix must be one of the biggest cities in the Western world at least not to have any kind of railway station within its boundaries. The closest station is in Maricopa, about 20 miles south of downtown Phoenix.
  • Taliesin West — situated right on the edge of Scottsdale,Taliesin West is one of the most famous Frank Lloyd Wright houses, and is open for tours. However, getting a nearby bus, and then walking the final stretch in the Arizona heat isn’t much fun. Also worth a visit is the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, designed very much in the Frank Lloyd Wright style.]

Beyond the City

  • Great outdoors — you name it – golf, fishing, camping, hunting; Arizona offers all of this and more, but as there is little by way of fixed public transport infrastructure, you’ll need a car for most of this.
  • Verde Canyon railway — this is a great experience for anyone who loves trains or who just wants to enjoy this fantastic canyon. The trains themselves are hauled by historic diesels rather than by steam, but the open top carriages more than make up for any lack of such traction. The only problem is that this railway is not connected to any passenger networks, so you’ll still be much better off getting there in a hire car.
  • Grand Canyon — Arizona is the Grand Canyon State, and this world-famous landmark is perhaps the single best known natural wonder anywhere in the Americas. Naturally, having a hire car is going to be the easiest option for getting up to Flagstaff and then into the Grand Canyon National Park. Allow around five hours for the drive from Phoenix to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
  • Monument Valley — Monument Valley might not be as well visited the Grand Canyon, but it has certainly appeared in enough films to etch outlines of mesas and buttes onto the back of many a retina. Whereas you can reach the Grand Canyon by public transport (see below), you will certainly need a rental car to reach Monument Valley. Allow a good eight hours to reach this region.
  • Sedona — sitting pretty below the stunning Cathedral Rock, Sedona is a new age liberal enclave in a conservative state. You will still be best off using a car to get there.
  • Other great scenic locations — it doesn’t really matter which direction you head out of Phoenix, once you get beyond the sprawl, you will be in superbly scenic areas very quickly.
  • Lake Havasu City — rumour has it that developers thought they were buying London’s famous Tower Bridge, but they ended up with the less dramatic London Bridge, which was still disassembled brick by brick and then reassembled on site at Lake Havasu city. If you happen to be heading through the eastern reaches of Arizona, it is certainly worthy of a brief detour.
  • One-way rentals — the most obvious one-way drive to do from Phoenix is to take your car via Sedona and the Grand Canyon and then on to Las Vegas. Combining a visit to Arizona with California is another popular option. If you stay within the South Western states, you should be able to get a one-way car hire deal without having to pay extra fees, although this does vary from one operator to the next. In terms of open jaw flights, getting to Phoenix from anywhere within the USA or Canada shouldn’t be a problem at all. The only European airline offering direct non-stop flights to Phoenix is British Airways, who are also the only airline to offer flights to Denver or San Diego from London. However, with other airline networks, you should be able to easily find open jaw options from most major European airports, without having to change more than once in each direction.

[whynot city=”Phoenix”]

There are very few reasons to suggest visiting Phoenix without a hire car, but here goes:

  • City centre — although the area around Phoenix seems like endless sprawl, most of the major places of interest, such as the Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum and the Arizona State Capitol are all within a few blocks of each other in the downtown area.
  • Skyharbor airport — some cities grow out towards their airports, some cities end up building new airports well out of town, but in Phoenix, the city has simply engulfed the airport and grown in all directions around it. Phoenix Skyharbor airport is just 4 miles away from downtown Phoenix. There is no need to get a rental car just to travel by the downtown Phoenix, or to nearby Scottsdale or Tempe, as these can all be easily reached by taxi.
  • Airport connections — The airport is constructing a people mover which will connect the terminals together and then provide a link to the “Metro Rail” tram service into the downtown area. This will include a dramatic bridge over the north-south taxi way, the first place in the world where passengers will be able to take a train over moving aircraft. However, the first phase of this is not due to open until 2013.
  • Arizona Canal — if you want to see a sign within the city that cyclists, walkers and joggers do at least get a bit of their own continuous space, then head for the trail along the Arizona Canal. Numerous other individual walking trails are available within the mountain areas that overlook Phoenix, including the South Mountains and the “Phoenix mountains” to the north.
  • Hiking and cycling country — naturally, given the vast open landscapes that Arizona has to offer, together with slightly less intimidating forests and mountainous areas, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking and for cycling, including mountain biking as well as road cycling.
    However, Phoenix is not the kind of city where it is a pleasant experience just to ride out of your hotel and continue straight out into scenic areas. You will either need to hire a car to transport your bikes to individual cycling trails or you will need to find a tour provider who will do this for you. If you are venturing out on any of the public roads, make sure you have a good map to avoid having to ride on dangerously busy highways, and of course take all the usual outdoor precautions to deal with the harsh climate.
  • Shuttle buses and coaches — just because public transport in Phoenix is less than ideal, it doesn’t mean that services don’t exist. As well as scheduled bus and coach services either within Phoenix itself or to and from other cities in Arizona, a number of private shuttle services operate to and from Phoenix Skyharbor airport.
    For example, if you were visiting Sedona, you might take an airport shuttle from and to Phoenix Skyharbor, and then use local bus services to get around. In a smaller destination like Sedona, there are plenty of hiking and cycling trails which are easily accessible without needing a hire car.
    Within the Phoenix area, buses are branded as “Valley Metro”. Whereas in Europe, buses tend to feed local train and underground services, in Phoenix, the buses cover three roles, from local to express to the faster “RAPID” commuter buses.
  • Raft or hike the Grand Canyon — I’ll have to admit that when I visited the Grand Canyon in 1996, I took the coach excursion from Flagstaff, so I only ever got to see the area around the South Rim. I’d love to go back and hike right the way down to the Colorado River, but to do this you need to plan carefully, and it is not safe to try and do such an excursion in just one day.
    Even more exhilarating is to go white water rafting on the Colorado River. If you are going to spend two or three days in the Grand Canyon area, then the chances are that all a hire car would do is bake in the heat. You can at least expect local transport to be provided if you go white water rafting.
  • Grand Canyon Railway — take a step back in time and ride the steam train that runs from Williams, Arizona to the Grand Canyon South Rim. You can also take an Amtrak Thruway bus from either Flagstaff or Williams through to the South Rim, and this connects with Southwest Chief trains that run through Arizona on their way between Los Angeles and Chicago. Other coach services are available to connect between Phoenix and Flagstaff.
  • Multicity tours — Phoenix doesn’t lend itself particularly well to visiting multiple cities in the same trip, unless you go by air. However, you can still take the train to Los Angeles from Maricopa to make a two city trip. Alternatively, you could travel between different locations in Arizona by bus to make a multi-city tour, especially if you based yourself in Phoenix first, and then headed up to Sedona and on to Flagstaff for the Grand Canyon.

Summary – although Phoenix has made some effort in recent years to make itself more accessible for people who either don’t have, or don’t want to rent, a car, it is still by far the most car dependent city featured on Car Or No Car.com. Even if you wouldn’t do so in other places, should you rent a car in Phoenix? Absolutely! Even though there are some great activities to do which don’t require a car in themselves, including mountain biking and canyon railway trips, you still need a hire car to get to the start point in the first place.

For these reasons, Phoenix is a firm yes

yell Ratings: How does Phoenix compare?

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

 


Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Phoenix ?

Categories
Thailand

Bangkok

Bangkok car hire advice – would you even consider getting a rental car in the Thai capital?

Our Bangkok car hire guide will start by stating the obvious – Bangkok is a huge congested metropolis which has also recently invested heavily in rail-based mass transport, yet all of the most popular attractions are a relatively short distance from each other.

 

To give an idea of its size, it’s worth noting that Bangkok also holds the distinction of being the world’s most populous city when considered as a multiple of the next largest city in that country (in this case, Chang Mai), yet most of this size is based on endless development beyond the central core where the main tourist sites are located.

 

Anyone planning a visit to Thailand which starts with a long haul flight into Bangkok is almost certainly going to be looking at where else to visit outside the capital. This then begs the obvious question – even if you might well want to avoid driving in Bangkok like the plague, is it worth getting a rental car and then driving down to some of the more famous coastal resorts such as Krabi, Phuket or Koh Samui.  All of these destinations are essentially a good day’s driving from Bangkok, so you might prefer just to take a bus and let someone else do the driving. Alternatively, they are both just a short flight away from Bangkok. Please see our Phuket and Koh Samui car advice pages the further suggestions about whether or not it’s worth driving in these destinations when you get there.

 

Another popular excursion from Bangkok is to visit the Burma railway and to see the infamous Bridge on the River Kwai at Kanchanaburi. Naturally, this is an excursion that is most appropriate to do by train, but in reality, many people do by tour bus. Yet there is still little point in hiring a car to go in this direction, as the main points of interest are all easily reached on foot.

 

If you’ve only got a few days in Bangkok and just want to take a short coastal break away from the city, then the best place to do this Pattaya, which can easily be reached by bus or train.

 

Getting a hire car in Bangkok might make sense if you want to start exploring further inland, and especially if you want to visit some of the national parks heading towards Chiang Mai. However, on balance, Bangkok is the sort of place where the great majority of visitors will be better off without one.

 

Verdict – no

 

 

Categories
Indonesia

Bali

Asia > Indonesia > Bali

See: Why hire a car in Bali ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Bali car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

The natural starting point for a beautiful island like Bali is that this is the sort of place where you might well just want to kick off your shoes and relax in and around your resort for a week, indulging in as little movement as possible. There are certainly no shortage of absolutely stunning luxury resorts in Bali which offer the full pampering service, with no expense spared!

However, if you are looking for a car in the first place, then the purpose of this advice is to consider whether or not a hire car is the best way to get around. We’re not here to say you should just go back to your resort and do nothing! If that’s your plan, you wouldn’t be here!

Yet it’s also worth saying that Denpasar itself has become increasingly commercialised, and that the romantic charm is completely lost amongst the tacky shopping malls and congested 6 lane highways that people think they are coming to Bali to get away from. But there is also no substantial form of organised public transport in Bali, outside urban buses in Denpasar, and a small number of scheduled buses shuttling between the other major cities on the island.

You might well be able to take an organised tour around some of the more impressive temple sites, but the ultimate question is – is this really the best way to see the island?

On balance, a hire car here might be quite a good idea.

cool Why? Visiting Bali using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Bali ?


  • Explore the island in full, at your own pace.
  • A hire car is very useful to get well outside the city of Denpasar.
  • Denpasar is very commercialised, but public transport is still relatively poor.

cool Why? Visiting Bali using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Bali ?


  • Many places can still be reached using local buses.
  • Denpasar is congested and strangled by 6 lane highways. Driving is not particularly pleasant until you get well beyond the city.
  • To reach really “unspoilt” places, you may prefer to keep them that way and stay on foot!
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Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Bali ?