Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Van hire, avoiding moving pains

I have been moving house ever since I can remember. I don't think my family ever lived in one place for more than 6 years at a time, and since I moved out of the "family home", I have stayed at 8 different flats in 4 years, that's an average of moving every 6 months. In the majority of the cases I was just renting a room or moving in with a girl, so the only things I had to move were the books, DVDs and clothes I own. However, recently, came move number 9, and for that particular move I had furniture and decorations to take with me, and I was moving in with very good friends who were also leaving their old flats. So we needed a big van to move all the stuff around.

Due to bad communication we ended up with a Ford transit, which of course could not fit all the gear of three young professionals. So we had to run multiple trips. On the upside, we knew the move was going to take all day and the van filling up gave us an excuse to stop for lunch after we unloaded the first two sets of boxes. So we took a couple of hours off and then headed out for the last of the things. Even though the transit had served us well in central London and we were able to navigate between all the parked cars, we came to a standstill during rush hour in a suburb where 2 lanes become one. I counted 14 buses ahead of us. But we were in no rush, switched the engine off, turned the radio on, and one of us jumped out into the immobile traffic and went to the shop for sweets and soft drinks. We felt like proper van drivers, looking below us to the puny cars surrounding us and the driver would chat with anyone in a convertible brightening everyone's day.

Initially, I had been against the transit because I thought it would have been too small and had recommended something a bit larger. But if you would rather take a break half way through the day and don't feel comfortable driving a Luton (they are pretty big) perhaps that is the type of vehicle you should consider. It is also a good idea to hire your van from a company that has several drop off locations, as we managed to save a couple of hours (and a lot of petrol) the following day by dropping off van at the branch that was near our new flat.

One of my favourite things about the company we hired from, SixT, is the safety tips for people who have not driven a van before, which I wish we had looked at before driving, as we did not know about blind spots and the such. Still we all got to our new flat safe and sound and did not cause any havoc of the roads.


There are a few companies that have excessive fees for late return of your rental van. A quick check of the terms is all that is needed to discover any of these potential fees.

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