Self drive minibuses come in a variety of shapes, sizes and number of seats. They are mostly comfortable and efficient vehicles, easy to drive and if well-maintained then very reliable. Minibuses are ideal for group outings, day and weekend trips or short holidays. Read our tips to help you get on your way.

Plan your trips or holidays

Plan, plan, plan. Before you even start getting minibus hire quotes, estimate how far you need to drive, whether you need to go abroad and how many people will you have on board. It is vital to get this right, as some companies for instance do not allow trips abroad due to their insurance policies.

Van hire holidays

When traveling within the UK, make sure you accounted for enough time to get safely back from your holidays or trip destination. Note that there are usually good discounts available for longer rentals.

When planning, most people with car licences will find that they are entitled to drive a minibus as long as it is not for commercial purposes. We also require all hirers to be 25 – 75 years old with full UK Licence with D1 Category.

When you plan your minibus rental, it is really important to ensure everything is taken care of in advance. Different companies will have different terms and conditions, so it is vital that you are aware of all of them when you book.

How many seats in a minibus?

When planning to hire a self drive minibus you need to be certain about how many passengers will you have on board.

Minibus interior

Note that just one more unplanned extra seat will see you ending up upgrading to a much more expensive vehicle having the price increased significantly.

For general minibus hire purposes, the most common sizes are 8 or 9, 12, 14 or 15 and 17 seaters (including the driver’s seat).

Compare pricing of local minibus hire companies

When comparing minibus hire prices, we recommend searching around for the best prices available. However be aware the prices you are quoted, especially online, may not always be the price you pay.

There are many possible price additions that may not be made clear at the time of booking. These may include mileage, insurance, excess waivers or credit card fees. Ensure that you are fully aware what is included and what is excluded in order to avoid unexpected surprise.

Especially insurance can vary dramatically, therefore do check what you are covered for with each minibus hire company and do not assume that a cheap deal will include all you need.

Always go for unlimited mileage deals where possible. Ensure that you have read and fully understood the full terms and conditions before booking your vehicle.

Prepare correct documentation and identification

The documentation required can vary dramatically depending on the supplier. We do not require a full UK Licence with D1 Category. Additionally we will ask for the following:

  • Photocard Licence
  • Proof of address (e.g. utility bill, bank statement, etc.)
  • One additional document (e.g. proof of address, passport, credit card, etc.)
  • UK Licence holders must complete a licence check
  • Non-UK licence holders must bring a passport or National ID Card
  • 25 – 70 years old

Inspect your minibus before taking off

Once you have been issued a rental agreement for your minibus, you will be required to inspect the vehicle. Most companies will bring a damage report sheet to mark down existing damages. If you have a camera (or camera phone) take your own pictures of any damage.

If the company has a policy for returning the fuel at the same or a preset level, take note of this level before departing. Also, take note of any contact numbers in case of emergency such as a breakdown.

Driving minibus in London

Some people find the idea of trying to navigate through London in a minibus as the ultimate nightmare. Huge foot traffic with pedestrians stepping into the streets, vehicles honking, buses pulling out unexpectedly and so on.

Van hire holidays

And although it’s a good idea to avoid driving in central London particularly at peak times, the reality is not that grim. And while London can be scary to drive, following certain rules and tips will see you navigating through the city in confidence.

Find the tips as follows:

  • Check live traffic updates for London frequently
  • Scrap the distractions – That means turning off the radio, putting your phone on silent and removing all moving objects from your view
  • Watch out for motorbikes and scooters in London
  • Watch your speed inside and outside built up areas
  • Be aware of wider turning radius and higher centre of gravity
  • Make use of your external mirrors when reversing
  • After collecting your minibus, practice driving for a while around our premises
  • Remember that the braking distance of a minibus is much greater than of a regular car

Returning self drive vehicle

When dropping off a minibus, ensure you return the vehicle in the same condition as it was  collected. If you are dropping off your minibus out of hours, check where is the 24h return facility to leave the keys. Avoid returning the minibus late as this may incur extra charges.

If you need to extend the hire, you should do so during the agreed hire period as the vehicle may not be available for extended periods. Also check your credit card statement later on to ensure that no additional charges have been made.

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