My 5 Favourite USA Car’s To Appear On Screen

Hi all,

It suddenly occurred to me that this is essentially a car blog, which gives me a little bit of creative licence about what I can write about, so today I thought I’d take a little walk down memory lane and pick some on my favourite cars from tv and movies, the only criteria must be that they are driven in the U.S.

Pontiac Trans Am (Smokey and the Bandit)

I loved this film as a kid and the car was so cool, if I had the money I’d drive one now.

pontiac trans am

The Batmobile

I’m a massive fan of comics and Batman in perticular, but this was a tough one… The Bat Mobile was always going to be included but which version to pick? Christopher Nolan’s Batmobile (tumbler) is more like a tank and Tim Burton’s Batmobile is like a racing car, I love both but I’m going for the classic Adam West Batmobile which coincidently is up for sale at the moment for approximately $4 million!

batmobile

General Lee (Dukes of Hazard)

Although you couldn’t open the doors to the General Lee this doesn’t stop it from being an iconic vehicle, the General Lee which went through 3 different incarnations was always a Dodge Charger.

general lee

DeLorean DMC-12 (Back to the Future)

I’m not sure if its the fact that the car could travel back in time or that is just looked so cool but the DeLorean became a favourite of mine as soon as I watched Michael J Fox drive it in 1985. Looks great and can definatley reach 88mph.

DeLorean DMC-12

1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor (Ghostbusters)

Perhaps it was the thought of running around New York zapping ghosts but at the time I thought the Ectomobile was cool. I’d I’ll argue it still is…

ghostbusters

So there are my 5 favourite USA car’s, what do you think, what would you pick?

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Which Florida Airports Offer Free WiFi?

Hi all,

With the rise of mobile app’s and social sharing many airport authorities are beginning to realise that offering free WiFi is actually a good thing!wifi

I thought it might be handy to put together a list of airports that offer free WiFi and update this when new additions get on board.

  • Daytona Beach Airport - Daytona Beach International Airport offers wireless, dial-up and broadband Internet service to its customers. Dial-up and broadband workstations are available adjacent to the snack bar in the airport’s concourse, and construction of three more workstations is currently underway. The entire facility is a Wi-Fi Zone, where passengers can check e-mail, send and receive files and access corporate web sites. The zone supports users of laptop computers, PDAs, cell phones and other devices equipped with “Wi-Fi Compatible” technology
  • Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport - The Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport provides travelers and guests free internet access through the airport’s wireless system. This service is provided in all terminal and concourse areas. Patrons can utilize a properly configured laptop, personal digital assistant or other device that is wireless compatible and able to connect to the Web. The airport suggests using a computer running one of the newer versions of Windows or MAC operating systems and newer versions of Palm Handhelds, Pocket PCs or other portable devices.
  • Southwest Florida International Airport - Free internet access is available at Southwest Florida International Airport through the airport’s wireless system, provided in all concourse and terminal areas. In order to connect to the wireless service you need a device such as a laptop or personal digital assistant with a compatible (802.11b) wireless card. This internet connection does not provide any filtering, monitoring or scanning, and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport strongly advises users to make sure their devices are equipped with such standard safety measures as anti-virus software and personal firewall programs.
  • Okaloosa Regional Airport - Fort Walton Beach, The Okaloosa Regional Airport, in conjunction with Wavenet Technologies and the Okaloosa County Information Systems Department, has installed Wireless access in the airport.
  • Gainesville Regional Airport - Gainesville Regional Airport is pleased to announce that wireless and wired high-speed Internet access is provided in the terminal and public areas as a no-cost amenity to travelers.
  • Jacksonville Airport - Jacksonville
  • Key West International Airport - Key West
  • LaBelle Municipal Airport – LaBelle
  • Melbourne International Airport - Melbourne
  • Orlando International Airport - Wireless internet access (wi-fi) is available in all public areas of the airport and is provided free of charge. These Access Points provided by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) use the SSID “Internet”. Other access points and peer-to-peer connections which may be listed as available networks are NOT provided by GOAA.
  • Palm Beach International - Palm Beach
  • Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport - Pensacola Regional Airport recently completed an initiative to provide wireless Internet access as a courtesy to patrons using the facility. The project, developed by Mr. Gerard Basel, a graduate student in Computer Science at the University of West Florida, included the installation of three wireless access points in the terminal concourse using existing fiber optic cable. The wireless Internet access resolves one of the most common complaints received by airport administration from business travelers, the inability to access the Internet or email while waiting for flights.
  • Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport - Sarasota
  • Sanford Airport
  • Tallahassee Airport - Tallahassee
  • Tampa International - main building and both satellite terminals – Tampa
  • Palm Beach International Airport – West Palm Beach

I was a little disappointed to see that Miami Airport doesn’t offer free WiFi. You can access a connection but you have to pay approx. $5 for 20 mins.

If you know of any other Florida Airports offering free WiFi please feel free to post below.

regards,

James

 

 

USA State Nicknames

Hi all,

As I’m sure you all know the U.S. is divided in to 50 states, each of these states has its own nickname to help give new arrivals a sense of what the state represents.

For example Florida is the Sunshine state for obvious reasons…

Below is a list of all 50 state’s nicknames, do you have any favourites in there?

Alabama – Sweet Home Alabama

Alaska – The Last Frontier

Arizona – The Grand Canyon State

Arkansas – The Natural State

California – The Golden State

Colorado – The Centennial State

Connecticut – The Constitution State

Delaware – The First State

Florida – The Sunshine State

Georgia – The Peach State

Guam – Where America’s Day Begins

Hawaii – The Aloha State

Idaho – The Gem State

Illinois – The Land of Lincoln

Indiana – The Hoosier State

Iowa – The Hawkeye State

Kansas – The Sunflower State

Kentucky – The Bluegrass State

Louisiana – The Bayou State

Maine – The Pine Tree State

Maryland – The Free State

Massachusetts – The Bay State

Michigan – The Great Lakes State

Minnesota – The North Star State

Missouri – The Show Me State

Mississippi – The Magnolia State

Montana – The Big Sky State

Nebraska – The Cornhusker State

Nevada – The Silver State

New Hampshire – The Granite State

New Jersey – The Garden State

New Mexico – The Land Of Enchantment State

New York – The Empire State

North Carolina – The Tarheel State

North Dakota – The Peace Garden State

Ohio – The Buckeye State

Oklahoma – The Sooner State

Oregon – The Beaver State

Pennsylvania – The Keystone State

Rhode Island – The Ocean State

South Carolina – The Palmetto State

South Dakota – The Mount Rushmore State

Tennessee – The Volunteer State

Texas – The Lone Star State

Utah – The Beehive State

Vermont – The Green Mountain State

Virginia – The Old Dominion State

Washington DC – The Nations Capital

Washington – Washington, The State

West Virginia – The Mountain State

Wisconsin – The Badger State

Wyoming – The Cowboy State

Some crackers in there, big shout out to Washington, who obviously put a lot of thought it to their’s…

Are there any amendments that you think are need to these nicknames? For example Florida – Mickey’s House…

regards,

James

 car hire USA

usrentacar.co.uk Guide To Tipping In The USA

Hi all,

One of the most frequent questions I see asked on Florida forums relates to tipping; how much, when and even should I tip?

Today’s post is our guide to tipping, please feel free to add to this guide in the comments section below.

Tipping

Unlike the UK, the U.S. is very much a tipping culture, especially in any service industry, waiters and waitresses for example, make up a certain amount of their take home wage based on tips.

Remember to factor in to your budgeting tipping, as I’ve seen written in other articles “If you can’t afford to tip then you can’t afford an American holiday”…Harsh maybe but true.

Tipping amounts

Tipping however is still a mark of the service you have received, each industry though has different expectations

Dinning/Restaurants

The average tip or service charge expected after a meal is approximately 15-20%, expectational service should be rewarded at a higher rate than this.

Remember you are tipping the service you receive from the waiter/waitress not the standard of food!

Self service restaurants or buffet style places expect a smaller tip around 10/12%; typically a bar man should get $1 for every $2/3 you spend and rest room attendants a $1 a pop.

Accommodation

Hotels could be the first place you are expected to tip, and for me was the place I massively over-tipped.

A good rule of thumb is porters should be tipped $1 per bag and $2 per heavy bag, housekeeping staff should be tipped anywhere between $2 and $10 per day depending upon the class of hotel and the level of service. Room service should be tipped at 15% of the bill and doorman should be tipped $1 if he hails a cab and $2 per bag if he assists with your luggage.

Always remember that you are tipping for the service you have received, if you are unhappy with the level of service you have received instead of leaving without tipping the best way to convey disappointment is to leave a low tip, this way the server will acknowledge that you were unhappy with the service level rather than simply forgot to tip.

Thanks very much to Alan from our facebook friends who helped put the tipping percentages together and added some great insight.

I would love to read any comments you have regarding good or bad service or if you think our percentages are off, please feel free to comment below.

regards,

James

 Florida car hire

Which Colour Car Do You Want Most?

Hi all,

On Saturday I was sent some statistics from a PR company informing me of the most popular car colours customer select when picking up their USA Car Hire.

The most popular colour according to this document was white! Which I thought was a little strange, probably because it wouldn’t be my personal choice.

The full results read like this

  1. White
  2. Red
  3. Silver
  4. Green
  5. Yellow
  6. Pink
  7. Gold
  8. Black

Now I don’t know about you but these ranking just didn’t ring true in my experience, I’m not sure I’ve ever met a majority of people who would prefer pink to black!? or perhaps I’m moving in the wrong circles…

So to test my theory I asked our facebook friends the same question.

What’s your favourite colour for a car?

These were the results.

  1. White
  2. Black
  3. Red
  4. Blue
  5. Silver
  6. Yellow
  7. Green
  8. Pink

As you can see White was the most popular in both poll’s,  however as I kind of guessed Black did indeed prove to be more popular than pink!!

What’s your preferred car colour of choice?

regards,

James

 car hire USA

4 Things Travel Writer Simon Calder Could Have Done To Prevent Car Hire Charge

Hi all,

I read an interesting article in the Independent on Friday regarding celebrity travel writer Simon Calder’s experience renting a Car in California, you can read the full article here but to cut a long story short, Simon discovered on his return that he had been charged for an upgrade locally that to his knowledge he had not agreed to.

On investigation Simon was shown a rental agreement that he had signed unwittingly agreeing to the charge and upgrade.

Here are 4 things Simon could have done to help avoid his situation.

Read Your Rental Agreement

Simon stated in his article that he was “Weary, after a flight of nearly 12 hours” and yes he probably was, we all generally are and that’s even if you don’t have children with you.

However the rental agreement that Simon signed is a contract between the driver and the supplier and should be read fully and only signed once you are happy you fully understand it. Remember this is a legal document and requires your full attention.

Supplier Guarantee

Something Simon could have been told about is the suppliers 24 hour satisfaction guarantee, most car rental suppliers offer a no quibble refund on anything purchased locally if they are contacted within 24 hours of purchase.

The details of this can be found on the rental agreement and paperwork offered at the time of collection.

Tip: When you’ve reached your accommodation and are relaxing just give the rental agreement a quick once over.

Pre-Register

At certain locations with suppliers, customers are offered the opportunity to pre-register their details before they arrive in the U.S.

By pre-registering your details, for example with Dollar Rent A Car you can take advantage of a dedicated line and in some instances go straight through to the car park to collect your vehicle without having to even speak to the person on the desk.

Tip: You can pre-register your details on usrentacar.co.uk by clicking  here

Read this blog

Without blowing my own trumpet too much, this blog hosts over 400 car hire USA related articles with numerous hints and tips.

Here are our top 5 posts regarding collection of your hire car

  1. Will they try and sell me something extra?
  2. What your car hire usa package should included
  3. What does an Alamo rental agreement look like? 
  4. usrentacar.co.uk Top 10 Fact and Tips for USA car hire
  5. Alamo Rent A Car’s 24 hour Satisfaction Guarantee
So by following the information on this post Simon could have saved himself the cost of an unintentional upgrade.
Luckily for you guys you’ve read this post :-)
regards,
James

 car hire USA

Boston International Airport The Next Airport To Get A Consolidated Car Rental Facility

Hi all,

From a press release dated the 16/02/12 the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) approved a rolling five-year program costing more than $1 billion to fund 340 projects as part of the Authority’s  improvements.

$300 Million of this cash (the largest amount to be invested) will be used to build a brand new consolidated car rental facility at Boston International Airport.

The $300 million project will enhance customer service, ease airport roadway and terminal curbside congestion and replace rental car diesel buses with alternative fuel buses and improve air quality.

Reports state that the funding for these projects will come from Massport, customer and passenger facility charges and federal grants.

We haven’t received confirmation of how the customer facility charges will be collected however historically its been via car rental companies but I will keep you posted on any announcement.

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Driverless Car The Answer To Distraction? (Infographic)

Hi all,

As I previously posted about, Google have been working on a driverless car for a while now, the thought behind it is to help reduce the amount of fatal accidents that occur, with the rise of the smart phone and manufactures looking at how they can tap in to the social graph and improve connection the amount of distraction accidents looks to be heading towards a steep rise.

Is google’s autonomous vehicle the answer to safety fears?

Check out this great Infograph that seem to apply it is.

Driverless Cars and Distracted Driving Infographic
Source: Law Offices of Daniel R. Rosen.

 

regards,

James

 car hire USA

How Car Manufacture’s Are Improving Connection Safety

Hi all,

Here in the UK we are use to not being able to operate our phones while driving, however in the U.S. this is pretty much a new concept especially texting;  which is being met with some resistance.

A distraction motorist lobbying group point to studies, including one by researchers at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, which show that talking on a mobile phone increases the risk of a crash or near-crash by 1.3 times over regular driving, while physically dialing a number increased the risk 2.8 times. A person is more than 20 times more likely to be in a crash or near crash while sending text messages.

Such data, which was gathered by monitoring hundreds of hours of drivers with cameras in day-to-day driving, has guided auto makers and the administration to the conclusion that “hands-free” activities are safe.

Car manufactures are looking in to ways of making connection from your motor safer and more assessable .

I mentioned in a previous post how the Chevy Cruze is integrating with facebook to allow status updates via voice controls and how other manufactures we’re looking too tap in to social media to not only embed the most up to date technology but to also help make sharing safer, below are a few examples of technology we can expect this year.

General Motors

This spring GM will release an 8-inch, touch-screen display for online applications, navigation and music that can be activated through voice, touch or steering wheel controls.

Ford Motors

Ford already allows drivers to receive Twitter feeds and stream online music through its Sync technology.

Mercedes Benz

New Mercedes-Benz cars this spring will tap into Facebook and perform Google searches. Mercedes drivers won’t be able to enter text while the car is in drive, but prewritten phrases can be selected with a click.

Are there any features you’d like to see added?

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Why The Travel Industry Should Use Pinterest.com

Hi,

You can be forgiven for not having heard of the new social website on the block, as its still invite only however pinterest.com for me is going to be huge for the travel industry and here’s why…

As described on their website

Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Traffic

In the last 6 months visits to Pinterest have risen 4000%, according to TNW in one week in December they received over 11 million unique visitors. Remember they have achieved all this despite being invitation only.

Some companies are reporting greater referral traffic from Pinterest than facebook.

SEO

Search Engine Land also points out that Pinterest is a great way to improve your search engine optimisation as it allows you to back link to your own site.

Viral

The buzz word of marketeers everywhere, viral marketing refers to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increased brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives. A good example of Viral marketing was the Cadbury’s Chocolate’s, Gorilla advert, which was popular on facebook and youtube.

Pinterest’s users are loyal but more importantly, active, which increases the chance for your campaign to go viral their recent additional of pinning to facebooks timeline also adds to the viral opportunities.

Engagement

Companies should take every opportunity they can to engage with their customers, Pinterest offers a unique and simple way to interact.

We interacted with more customers in the first week on Pinterest than we did compared to the first week on twitter or facebook.

Pinterest also allows users to re-pin or even comment on the information  you provide, users don’t have to be following you or “like” you.

Shop

Remember when there were tons of independent travel agents on the high street, windows full of holiday offers. Well Pinterest can be that shop window, pin a picture of your holiday, your tour or your car hire offer and add a price to it.

but most importantly…  

Visual

Selling travel is a very visual experience, hence the use of brochures and companies investing heavily on image based websites for example; four season’s recently spent $18 million on their new website.

Pinterest allows companies to create a board based on inspiring images, these images should promote your destination, tour or even car hire.

Do customers react more to an image or to text?

Can an image say more that words?

For me, facebook, google plus and twitter are the go to sites for companies committed to social media, however I think Pinterest is best suited to travel, I for one wont be surprised when a whole host of companies get on board.

You can visit the usrentacar Pinterest board here, for those of you who aren’t on Pinterest yet, but are interested, we still have some invitations left, see our previous post.

regards,

Gavin

 car hire USA


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