If you are visiting Chicago by plane, you have likely come across the issue of MDW vs ORD, or, in other words, whether you should fly to the O’Hare International Airport or the Chicago Midway International Airport. To help you understand the differences between them, we have compiled an easy guide so that when it comes time to book flights, you are all covered.

ORD Airport

The O’Hare International Airport, or ORD, is a massive airport. It covers over 7000 acres and has many flights come in and out every single day. It is the international hub for the Midwest, and chances are if you are flying from anywhere but the United States your only choice is to fly to ORD.

When flying to ORD, you will then want to pick up a rental vehicle from our location at the airport. The trip to Chicago from ORD is approximately 45 minutes, though it can be longer or shorter depending on traffic.

International Hub for the Midwest

It is the international hub for the entire Midwest, and has connecting flights and is often the prime destination for international travelers. If you are flying internationally, you likely won’t have a choice in term of which airport you fly to.

Second Busiest Airport in the Country

This is the second busiest airport in the country, which means two things: one, that it is going to be full of people, two, that it has superior amenities for its travelers.

More Flights

There are more flights coming to and from this airport than most others in the United States. This means you can get a flight at a time that suits you, or land at a more appropriate time. For business travelers, this ability to essentially land when you need to is critical.

MDW Airport

Now that you know more about ORD, you can start to make comparisons about MDW, or the Chicago Midway International Airport. This will help you decide which airport, ORD vs MDW, is better for you when flying to Chicago.

In the Heart of Chicago

Have a look at the MDW airport map and you will realize it that it is far more centrally located to Chicago. That is because it is the airport that serves Chicago, whereas ORD serves the Midwest and is located appropriately for that purpose.

Serves Local Flights

Though there are some flights to Toronto (hence why it is referred to as “international”) MDW is often the hub for domestic flights. This can be ideal if you are traveling to Chicago from within the USA.

Has a Yoga Room

MDW has a yoga room if you are waiting for your flight after your visit to Chicago or are waiting there for a layover.

Rotating Art Exhibits

Like other great airports, MDW has rotating art exhibits for you to enjoy while you wait for your flight.

Fewer Issues with Delays

As there are fewer flights going in and out the runways are less crowded, meaning that flights are far less likely to be delayed in the long run.

Low Cost Travel

MDW hosts budget airlines, meaning if you are looking for a budget flight to Chicago, this is where you should look first. ORD deals mostly with big airlines and international flights, and therefore can be much more expensive.

It is also far faster to drive to this airport to downtown Chicago, so if you are renting a car with us from this location you can expect to drive approximately only a half hour without traffic to your destination.

ORD vs. MDW Airports – Which One is Right for You?

The general debate on which airport in this case often depends on where you are flying from. If you are flying domestically or to Canada, you can save a lot of money by flying directly to MDW, whereas if you are coming in from another international destination your only choice will often be ORD.

When deciding which destination is right for you, consider your budget and needs. If you can get to Chicago by either ORD or MDW, then it is up to your budget. If you want to treat yourself, flying with a higher class airline to ORD can be ideal. If you want to get to Chicago for as cheap as possible than MDW is the way to go. Both have great on-site facilities so you can enjoy your time there before your next flight, but do be sure to give yourself at least two hours before your flight to keep things comfortable.

Where’s your next trip leading you? Are you flying to Barcelona on business or taking a week-long jaunt up the coast of California? Wherever you’re headed next, a rental car can help get you there. But before you decide on a ride, you may have a few questions. For instance, if you’ve only ever rented in the U.S., it’s worth asking how the process works in other parts of the world. Is renting in Europe the same as picking up an American car? How do the laws and standard practices vary?

Once you check out the following facts, you can rent with confidence on either side of the Atlantic, whether you’re planning to motor past the Arc de Triomphe, circle the Space Needle or see any point in between. Wherever your plane lands, you’re likely to find either an Advantage location or one of our partners from Europcar ready to get you on your way quickly and painlessly.

What Sizes and Types of Cars Are Available in Europe vs. America?

One natural question that will come up when you’re considering renting a car in Europe is the selection of vehicles you’ll have to pick from. Drivers in other countries tend not to share the U.S. preference for big cars and trucks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t find a vehicle to your liking at a European rental agency.

European dealerships, and rental car fleets by extension, offer cars, trucks and vans originating around the world, from Japanese cars such as Nissans to German offerings such as Volkswagens, Audis, BMWs and more. From a full-size van to carry a whole work team to a sleek Mercedes sedan, you’ll have plenty of vehicles to choose between on your next overseas trip or vacation.

One of the marks of a good car rental location is the availability of different car and truck classes, from heavy SUVs to affordable compact cars. Businesses around the world can offer this type of service, ensuring you’ll find the right ride in Europe, North America or anywhere else you roam.

European Car

Are Rental Rules and Driving Laws the Same in Europe as in North America?

There are a few questions to answer before renting a car anywhere in the world. For instance, are you of age to rent a vehicle in your chosen country or state? USA Today notes that the restrictions around young renters differ somewhat across Europe. For example, rental providers may demand drivers be 25 or over in some countries while renting to 23-year-olds elsewhere.

It’s always worth checking with the company before you take off for your trip to make sure there aren’t extra surcharges or local laws for you to encounter. Some European countries also impose a maximum age on rentals, so if you’re 70 or over, it pays to ensure you’re allowed to rent in your destination of choice.

Once you verify that you meet international age rules, check on the rules of the road. Driving in the U.K. and other nations that use the left side of the road will likely be the biggest culture shock for an American driver, but there are plenty of other norms and laws to internalize, from signage definitions to traffic light etiquette. Safety is fundamental no matter where your trip takes you.

What Are Driver’s License Requirements Like in Various Countries?

Some countries will let you drive with an American driver’s license, no new paperwork needed. That’s not true everywhere, however, so your licensure status is something else to check before you jaunt to Europe. AAA recommends applying for an International Driving Permit when driving abroad, as this document is accepted in 150 countries as a valid driving credential and form of identification. When you have such a widely accepted permit, you can avoid fines across a huge swath of the world.

Do Rental Payment Methods Differ between America and Europe?

When you work with a rental provider that operates in North America and Europe, you’re likely in luck when it comes to simple and recognizable payment methods. For example, when using the Advantage website to secure your US rental vehicle in advance, simply enter your credit card information and you’re ready to pick up your vehicle when you arrive at the counter. While the Advantage website will not accept credit card information for an international rental, international rental agencies accept all major credit cards.

A credit card is the generally accepted standard payment method for renting a car. It’s not possible to use stored value cards, prepaid debit cards and gift cards to qualify for and pay for a deposit from Advantage or Europcar. With that said, you can use these kinds of methods when making additional payments at the return of a car.

Will You Need Specialty Insurance Driving Overseas?

Your insurance situation and coverage may vary from one country to the next, and options that apply in the U.S., Canada and Mexico may not be accepted overseas. In these cases, the U.S. State Department suggests you deal with your rental provider to purchase additional coverage at least equal to the type of protection you have in the U.S.

The State Department added that purchasing insurance abroad isn’t just a good idea. In many cases, you may be required by law to have a minimum amount of insurance to drive. Being insured on the road provides assurance to local authorities that if your rental vehicle is involved in an accident, there will be financial compensation for any damage or liability.

Is Your Rental Service of Choice Available in Europe?

When you’re traveling abroad, you may wonder whether you can keep working with the same rental car provider that’s served you so well in the U.S. If you go with Advantage, you will find locations all across Europe’s largest and most vibrant cities, conveniently located near the airport for easy pickup.

Through Advantage’s partnership with Europcar, we’re present in Germany, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, the U.K. and many more countries. Simply book your rental online through the Advantage website, unlocking valuable discounts and gaining the peace of mind that your rental car will be waiting to take you across Europe.

You’re traveling to a new city for a well-earned vacation – or maybe a business trip that leaves you with some time for yourself. You’ll need a reliable way to get around town. Having a car at your command is a passport to all the sights and sounds of the city and the region around it. A road trip to see natural wonders is one possibility; a visit to see a beloved local sports team is another.

Getting a car is key to picking your own agenda, and you have a few options when finding a ride in a new city. You can go the classic route and rent a car, or you can turn to a ride-hailing app, such as Uber or Lyft, paying for each ride instead of driving yourself. Determining which of these methods will suit you best will likely come down to what your needs are during the trip. If you’re staying in a small area or you’re only going to be in town for a day, then a couple of Uber rides might be enough to get you where you’re going. But when your plans take a more ambitious turn, renting might be the better option.

Uber vs. Rental Car: Compare the Convenience

The main question to ask yourself is how often you’ll need a car, and in what situations. While it might seem convenient to simply hail a ride on a mobile app to get you from the airport to your hotel, this strategy doesn’t hold up if you’re interested in sights and sounds farther from the city. Traveling to a park or hiking trail is more easily accomplished if you have your own transportation. Finding a driver and paying for the long trip both ways is a sharp contrast to simply hopping in your rented car and heading off.

Availability of ride-hailing vehicles is a constant concern, especially during rush hour and periods of high demand. If you’re on a business trip, you don’t want your arrival time at an important meeting to be dictated by your Uber or Lyft driver’s schedule. And if you’re on vacation, trying to find a ride to each new destination can break the flow of your trip. Since leading rental providers also offer vehicles in other countries, even international travel can go smoothly in a rented car.

Compare the Costs

In addition to car availability, think about cost. Not knowing how much your next ride-hailing trip will cost is just part of the deal with these apps. Will you be part of a “pool” car with more passengers and discounted rates? Maybe, if one is available. Has the service activated surge pricing due to heavy demand? You’ll be forced to make a tough choice: wait, or pay the higher rate? This is one area where the cost of a rental car provides a simple contrast. The rate is the rate for the whole day or days that car is yours to drive where you want.

If you’re traveling for business, one rental car bill is much easier to claim as an expense than a disconnected series of ride-hailing trips. Vacation planning also becomes easier when you know what your car expenses will be. Taking an unexpected detour to try a fun local restaurant or follow the signs to a nearby landmark is easy when you’re driving a rental car; just make the turn. When you’re going everywhere via Uber or Lyft, that means racking up a new bill to go see the sights – and another to get back.

Choose the Right Provider

If you’ve decided that a rental car is the right choice for your next trip, your choices aren’t quite finished. Make sure you’re getting a car from an established and trustworthy rental partner. When you fly into a new city, it’s reassuring to pick up your car directly from the airport. To get that kind of service,choose a rental company with a location right on the premises. A new generation of car-sharing apps are attempting to enter the rental car market but can’t promise the same kind of convenient service that comes from traditional rental companies.

Car-sharing apps often argue that they are legally technology companies, instead of rental providers. This claim has led to disputes with state regulations with New York and conflict regarding the apps’ ability to offer cars for pick-up at airports. Add this to the fact that traditional rental firms offer fleets of inspected, nearly new vehicles rather than the mixture provided by sharing users, and it’s easy to see that licensed rental companies can offer a higher level of certainty for your next trip.

Pick up your Car and Go

While there are some scenarios where using Uber or Lyft make sense, and others where you’ll be fine relying solely on public transportation, longer vacations and long-distance drives call for a car rental. When you return home after a lengthy trip powered entirely by ride-hailing, the total cost may make you wish you had rented a car. It’s better to think ahead and make the call in advance: Will a rental car get you where you’re going?

Part of the fun of any trip is exploration, whether that means heading out into the countryside or simply finding interesting new routes between the airport, a hotel and your business meetings. With a rental car, your journey is in your hands. Instead of breaking down the journey into a series of potentially expensive Uber rides, it’s all covered in one simple, predictable bill. Business travelers and pleasure seekers alike will agree that this is the way to go.

You should get started on checking out the different features available for rental cars in your destination city. Looking at the vehicles on offer can provide new inspiration. Maybe that all-wheel-drive SUV is just right for a trip to a national park. Perhaps a sporty coupe could take you all around the downtown area of a fun new city. Be sure to pick something that fits your travel needs – the next step is up to you.

The best places to spend the 4th of July are the cities that go above and beyond for the celebration. Sure, you can go anywhere and see red, blue, and white adorning the towns, but if you really want to make this year’s Independence Day something special, rent a car with us and make a road trip to these top four destinations:

New York City

New York City

The Big Apple is a hot spot for all types of celebrations, including the 4th of July, and that is what makes it one of the best places to spend the 4th of July.

Where to See the Fireworks

In NYC Macy’s hosts the 4th of July fireworks. They shoot off from the Brooklyn Bridge. There is another fireworks event, known as Freedom and Fireworks Festival, that is hosted in Jersey City. If you want, you can actually see both – just make sure you have good visibility of both the fireworks locations.

How to Spend the Day

Before the fireworks shoot off, however, you will want to spend the day in full 4th of July flair:

Visit Coney Island

For good old fun visit Coney Island for a taste of that classic 4th of July spirit. Great for families. Go watch the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest!

Enjoy the New York SummerStage

NYC hosts SummerStage in the summer in Central Park. On the 4th of July there will be many great performances, music, and eats to enjoy. Do check in advance, however, because some of these events are ticketed.

Washington D.C.

Washington DC July 4th

Where to See the Fireworks

The best place to see the fireworks in Washington, DC is to go to the National Mall. As this gets very busy, however, you will want to get there early. Bring blankets, food, drink, and be ready for the crowds to come in. If these crowds aren’t your thing, then find another location that gives you a good view of the sky over the Jefferson Memorial.

Tip: check what the latest security restrictions are for this year before you go.

How to Spend the Day

Watch the Independence Day Parade

Visit Constitution Avenue NW from midday to 2pm for the Independence Day Parade.

Step Back In Time

If you really want to see something special during the 4th of July, then the best place to go for 4th of July is George Washington’s Mount Vernon. You will need to rent a car from us, as it is located 30 minutes out of the city. Once you are there you will see a full re-enactment of the battles that occurred at Potomac River.

Chicago

Downtown Chicago

The city itself does not host fireworks any more (not since 2011). Thankfully many institutions and communities within Chicago have taken up the mantle, so you are spoiled for choice when it comes to see fireworks.

Where to See the Fireworks

Navy Pier

Pay to visit the pier during the fireworks, or enjoy a free show by getting a good spot with views nearby. Fireworks will start at 9:30pm.

Northwest Fourth Fest

This festival is huge, and you really don’t need to go anywhere else for your 4th of July celebration. There is a parade, carnival, water park, food, beer gardens, and concerts. The fireworks can be seen anywhere from the festival grounds.

How to Spend the Day

Grant Park Music Festival: Independence Day Salute

Though you should spend the day at any of the aforementioned locations, another great way to spend your 4th of July before the fireworks is at the Grant Park Music Festival, where they will play patriotic anthems throughout the day.

Take an Independence Day Cruise

If you want to enjoy great views of the fireworks, take an Independence Day cruise.

Boston

Things to do in Boston

Where to See the Fireworks

The fireworks in Boston are known as the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. It is free to go to and occurs at the DCR Hatch Shell, so find a great view of that location.

How to Spend the Day

Explore the Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is what Independence Day is all about. Walk along it, enjoy the festivities, and enjoy a great 4th of July. This 2.5 mile walk will take you through Boston and into Charlestown and you will get to see all of the historic sites from Paul Revere’s home to Sam Adams’ grave. There are plenty of great stops along the way for food and drinks as well. Make an afternoon of it!

Enjoy the Annual Harborfest

Harborfest is a great place to be, as it hosts over 200 events with over 100 of them being free to go to. Great way to spend the day with friends or family before the fireworks celebrations.

Make new 4th of July traditions in any of these great locations. To really enjoy the best parts, remember to rent a car with us so you can see historical reenactments, visit festival grounds, or just to see more of the city before the fireworks.

The majority of drivers are still driving in the same way that their driving instructor taught them. Unfortunately, this is inevitably the wrong way. For a very long time, the most common lesson given to new drivers was that your hands need to be placed in the 10 O’clock and 2 O’clock position on the wheel, as if the steering wheel were a clock. If you’re still using that method, then you’re exposing yourself to some risks that your driving instructor didn’t envisage. In fact, driving with hands on the steering wheel at ‘ten and two’ is downright dangerous, and exposes you to some serious injuries should the worst happen. This is largely down to safety improvements, and airbags, in particular, are a big factor. That’s why state transportation agencies and the AAA now recommend using the 9 and 3 O’clock position on your wheel.

The Correct Clock

While most driving organizations recommend the 9 and 3 O’clock positions now, others have suggested that the 8 and 4 O’clock positions are safer. Doing the 8 and 4 does reduce the risk of more serious airbag-related injuries in the case of collision, but it has been suggested that this does actually give a little less overall control of your vehicle. Stick to the 9 and 3 option and your vehicle handling will be noticeably better. Distance is vital. The further apart your hands are when you hold your steering wheel, the more precise you will be and the more control you will have of your vehicle. That’s why the 3 and 9 position is the ideal hand position on steering wheel designs of every kind.

Dangerously Common Habits

Drivers can pick up bad driving habits very quickly, and once you start driving in a certain way it can be very difficult to shake free of those habits. Consider how many times you have seen someone driving using just one hand. Whether you’re using your spare hand to check your phone or for playing with your sound system, driving one-handed is one of the most dangerous ways to drive. You lose control of your vehicle the second that you don’t have two hands on the wheel, and it can only take a second for an accident to happen. While most cars in the US are automatics, those with stick-shifts often prefer to drive with one hand on the stick. They think that this makes them safer and more responsive, but the fact is that you should have both hands on the steering wheel at all times, and only take your gear changing hand off the wheel when you actually need to change gears.

Holding the Inner Wheel

It might not be quite as common as those drivers with one hand on the wheel, but a surprising number of drivers still hold their steering wheel in the central hub. Some even do this using just one finger! It’s easy to see why this habit can develop. It’s a remarkably lazy way to drive, and it’s surprisingly comfortable. Of course, driving in this way is highly dangerous and gives you almost no control over your vehicle, especially in emergency situations. If you drive using the central hub then you need to rid yourself of this dangerous habit immediately, because the results will inevitably be bad.

Twelve O’clock Steering

This is a very common issue, but driving with both hands at the top of your steering wheel is no safer than driving with one hand. That’s because if you need to react quickly, then you will overreact because both hands will be doing the same thing. You lose a massive amount of precision by driving with both hands together, largely because you are losing some of your internal resistance. Not only that, but should you collide with something and your airbags deploy then your hands and arms are going to be forced directly into your face at high speeds. That will inevitably cause serious injuries that can be easily avoided by keeping your hands further apart.

Don’t assume that your driving lessons are going to mean that you know the right way to drive. Technology has changed the way that cars are designed, and no matter how long you’ve been driving in the same way, your car will respond more and be safer to drive if you rid yourself of those bad driving habits. You might have to relearn how to hold steering wheel types, but doing so will keep you much safer on the roads.

There’s nowhere on earth quite like Los Angeles. With celebrities seemingly on every corner and enough sun to satisfy everyone, LA is on more than a few bucket lists. From Rodeo Drive to Venice Beach, there’s something for everyone, and that means choosing the right airports so that you can guarantee that you see and do everything that sprawling LA has to offer.

The three big airports in Los Angeles are LAX, Ontario International, and John Wayne, and the one that you choose to travel to or from will depend on your itinerary and expectations. There are some significant differences between the three, and if you want the best vacation, then it pays to know a little bit more about what to expect.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Just west of downtown Los Angeles, LAX is a mixed bag of an airport. It’s absolutely vast, and constantly being renovated and updated. That means that it often ranks high on the lists of worst airports in America! There can be some long waits at LAX, especially when it comes to getting through security or picking up your luggage. With over 40 million visitors every year, it’s no surprise that things can get a little slow. However, it’s close to some of the most popular sights, with Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Santa Monica all close by. It can certainly be a bit of a chore making your way from terminal to terminal, so you should really try and avoid LAX for connection flights.

Food is an issue as well, but there are some basic fast food options if you get desperate while waiting. LAX is one of the more convenient airports near Los Angeles for getting to where you need to go, but it’s far from a delightful place to spend too much time.

Ontario International Airport (ONT)

Just to the east of LA is Ontario international. Located in San Bernardino County, it’s definitely better to fly here if your itinerary includes the National Forest. You definitely want to make sure that you have a car rental ready and waiting for you because transport out of ONT can be a bit of a nightmare, with public transport amazingly inefficient.

However, being smaller than LAX comes with some real advantages. If you’re a racing fan, then it’s the perfect airport to land in if you want to get close to the NASCAR and Indy Car Races that happen on a regular basis. However, if you’re planning a trip to Disneyland then you’ve got some distance to go in the notoriously bad traffic, and the 35-mile trip will take a lot longer than you expect. Overall, this should only be an option to consider if you have managed to find a bargain flight through one of the smaller low-fare airlines that fly into ONT.

John Wayne Airport (SNA)

If you can’t wait to hit the ground running, then SNA is an excellent little airport to fly into. It backs up right onto the freeway, so getting away from the airport is an absolute dream, and far easier than LAX or ONT. In fact, if it comes down to LAX vs SNA airports, then the only real dividing decision that you have to make is how close to the tourist attractions you want to be. LAX is certainly closer to some of the theme parks, but being based in Orange County means that travelers have easy access to Disneyland, and can even make use of the dedicated shuttle services (although these aren’t cheap and the journey can take a while).

Chances are that you won’t get to do much in the way of celebrity spotting at SNA, although you might end up seeing some C-listers from The Hills. International flights can be very limited, so unless Mexico or Canada is on your itinerary, then you might be better off with LAX or ONT. Despite this, John Wayne Airport is great for those travelers heading to Costa Mesa or Newport Beach, and SNA is certainly a more relaxed and pleasant place to land in than both LAX and ONT.

If you do get stuck in one of the three terminals, you aren’t going to be as uncomfortable as you would be in LAX. The terminals are quite beautiful, and they are all connected for easy movement. They are also decorated with some gorgeous artworks by local artists, and even your WiFi is free. If you do land in John Wayne Airport, then take the time to take a selfie next to the iconic statue of the airport’s namesake, which you’ll find near the baggage check line.

Whether you’re heading to LA to find fame and fortune, or you simply want to spend a fortnight exploring the House of Mouse, you aren’t going to be disappointed by Los Angeles. Choose the airports in Los Angeles that get you closest to where you need to be, and you’ll have a much faster start to your LA adventures.

When you’re getting ready for a road trip in the summer, you should be sure you and your car are both ready for anything and everything you might encounter on the road. The warmer months are easier to deal with than the winter when it comes to weather hazards – no snow and ice will be getting in your way in most parts of the world! While it’s a pleasure to be driving under sunny skies6, there are a few things you should make sure of before you set out to make sure everything goes well.

Summer Driving Priorities

When you’re getting ready for a long trip in the summer, remember to pack for any kind of weather that may crop up. This means umbrellas and ponchos – a summer thunderstorm can dampen your vacation plans if you’re not ready. You should also carry all the gear you need, like mobile device chargers. If you’re navigating on your smartphone, you can’t take chances with a low battery.

If you’re traveling with kids, you should be certain you have the right size and style of child seats for your little ones. Installing these seats right is an absolute must before you get going. It’s also important to check the AC. If you’re driving with kids or elderly passengers, it’s especially essential to get the climate control right. Checking your tires is another major priority: Tires should be fresh rather than worn down, and inflated to the right pressure.

Rent a Car and Be Sure

One way to help your summer road trip go right is to rent a car. Advantage’s fleets of nearly new vehicles are available in every shape and size to accommodate your trip. Wherever you’re going, a well-equipped rental car will get you there in style this summer.

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There are some basic differences when it comes to looking at American and European rental cars. Trying to work out just what makes them so different feels a bit like comparing oranges and apples! They might be the same kind of transport, but there are some massive differences when you look a little closer. That’s partly due to the car culture that has grown to become such a huge element of the US persona, while European countries view their vehicles as nothing more than a tool to get around with. That has lead to some fundamental differences in design and building, and some of those differences are quite radical.

Size Matters

European roads are noticeably smaller than those in the US, so it’s no real surprise to find that cars in the States are going to be bigger than their European counterparts. It’s not just down to road size either. The whole ‘bigger is better’ mentality that runs like a thread through American culture is never more obvious than when looking at transportation! However, many people seem to think that European roads have a size limit when it comes to their cars, but that’s not true. It doesn’t mean that you’re likely to see large Cadillacs and massive SUVs everywhere, but they aren’t illegal. The reason that larger vehicles aren’t quite as popular in Europe as they are in the US is that cities in America were designed with cars in mind, whereas European cities grew far more organically, leading to narrow, winding roads and cramped urban driving. They can be very difficult to navigate in a large car!

Looks are Everything

When it comes to aesthetics, there’s a very clear divide when comparing American vs European cars. Cars in the US are built to last, and they are renowned for being tough and durable. European cars, while still long-lasting as a rule, tend to have much more thought given to the overall design. That’s why they always tend to look a little sleeker than their American counterparts. It’s all about the personality difference, with Europeans just as likely to choose a car that looks good on the driveway as it does on the road. Americans want their vehicles to be practical and extremely long-lasting. Car culture in the States is very different to that of Europe, and that’s nowhere more obvious than when looking at the popular designs of both.

Control and Handling

There’s not much difference when you look at the handling of European cars vs American cars. There are some slight differences though, and they can make a surprising amount of difference if you start driving a type that you’re not used to. European cars tend to be designed for much faster speeds, thanks to the speed laws that are much more forgiving in Europe (some motorways even let you go up to 150mph). Those higher speeds mean that European cars have to able to handle well when driving fast. That’s not to say that American cars handle poorly, but that they don’t handle as well when your foot is pressed down as hard as it can go.

Gears and Sticks

If you’ve got an American car, then chances are that it’s an automatic. This is by far the most common gear system in the States, but Europeans consider automatic cars a bit like cheating. They are available, but stick-shift cars are the norm. It used to be that America was the same, but over the years there has been a steady transition to automatic. There are still American cars that come with a stick-shift, and there are always going to be drivers that prefer it over the far easier automatic option. If you haven’t driven a car with a stick-shift before, then you really don’t want to try it for the first time without some lessons, as the change can be very challenging.

Fuel Efficiency

It’s all about the price of gas for any driver, and Europeans have to pay considerably more for theirs. That means that their cars have been designed with maximum fuel efficiency in mind so that they can get more miles to the gallon. When it’s so expensive to pump your car full of gas, you want to avoid doing it as much as possible. American cars are notoriously thirsty, and their engines tend to be larger and more demanding too, especially when you look at things like V8s. The change to diesel cars is going a lot faster in Europe than America, and that too is down to the insane gas prices that they are forced to pay.

Cars vary all over the world, and they are surprisingly representative of the personality of a nation. Just as Japanese cars are different from those in Europe, American cars have a uniquely American design that makes them perfectly suited to traversing the country at your own pace and in total control.

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You might think that racing through Tampa is essential if you’re heading from Orlando to the Gulf Coast, but don’t be so hasty. Tampa is an attraction in itself, and you can spend plenty of time there without running out of activities, adventures, and sights. Modern developments have transformed the city, and those improvements only add to the reasons that you should make Tampa a destination to seek out.

Whether it’s a family trip, a solo adventure, or a romantic getaway, there are so many fun things to do in Tampa that you’re going to be spoiled for choice. No matter what time of year you visit, here are just a few of the many delights that Tampa has to offer. You might find that even a month spent on this lush destination isn’t going to be long enough.

Busch Gardens

Florida has more than a few theme parks, but Busch Gardens is an amusement park that is world renowned. It’s owned by Seaworld Entertainment, and that means that there is a massive variety of activities and spectacles in Busch Gardens to enjoy. Not only can you spend many hours enjoying the Serengeti Safari or the Guided Adventure Tours, but there are a huge number of live entertainment options as well. With plenty of themed rides and attractions that are targeted straight at the younger members of your group, you can easily spend an entire weekend in Busch Gardens.

The Tampa Museum of Art

Don’t be fooled by the brutalist architecture of the building; the Tampa Museum of Art is one of the most popular destinations for tourists visiting Tampa. It houses some truly stunning artworks, ranging from mind-boggling antiquities to more contemporary offerings that will surely delight. This is a truly creative space, so if you’re looking for a little artistic or creative inspiration, then you’re definitely heading to the right place. It’s always a good idea to check the museum’s calendar as they frequently offer a number of educational programs, workshops, and even lectures that vary from academic right down to children-focused. The fact that the building is located right next to the Hillsborough River is just the perfect finishing touch.

The Tampa Riverwalk

Speaking of the Hillsborough River, the Tampa Riverwalk is certainly something to visit while you’re there. For couples, it couldn’t be more romantic, and holding hands as you take a slow stroll down the pedestrian pathways is hard to beat. Keep following the walk and you’ll eventually reach downtown Tampa, where the waterfront and public parks are the perfect place just to sit back and relax. This is also where you’ll find some of the best restaurants in Tampa, so it pays to take your time. If you feel like spending the day on the Tampa Riverwalk, you can take some detours to the Florida Aquarium, Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, and the American Victory Ship — all of which are close enough to justify an excursion.

Big Cat Rescue

Everyone loves big cats, which is why the animal sanctuary in Citrus Park is so popular. Big Cat Rescue was established primarily to tackle the devastating private trade in exotic felines, but their ongoing efforts have resulted in a fantastic place to explore and learn more about big cats. They also offer guided tours that are both fun and informative – especially those that take place around feeding time. Big Cat Rescue is home to over 100 felines, but the highlights are undoubtedly the tigers and mountain lions.

Not a Clue Adventures

Not a Clue Adventures really does have something for everyone. Owned and run by Jeanene Arrington, visitors get to experience some amazing outdoor activities. Camping, kayaking, hiking, and fishing are all on the agenda, and all are guided and run by Jeanene herself. You don’t even need to pack any of your own equipment, as everything is provided for you. You could choose from a fully catered camping trip with your entire family, or simply enjoy the miles and miles of peaceful kayaking. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, they also offer birdwatching trips, survival courses, and horse riding lessons. An exhausting trip for some, but certainly one of the most fun things to do in Tampa.

Don’t make the mistake of just driving through Tampa. There’s plenty of activities, adventures, attractions, and excursions to take advantage of on your trip. You might find so much to do in Tampa that you start planning your next visit before your first is even over.

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Rental cars are a necessity for many people and serve multiple purposes. They provide a need for people who can’t afford a car or choose not to own a vehicle yet need to use one from time to time. As a result, rental cars have come to save the day, and they don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

With that being said, when it comes time to rent a car, there are so many different options to choose from. Aside from being able to select the brand, year, and model of a car, you can also choose one that is environmentally friendly too.

Another option you will find is getting a compact vs. standard rental. If you don’t know the difference between the two, continue reading below. 

What is a Standard Rental Car?

Before the difference between two cars can be established, you should first know what each one is individually. With that being said, starting with a standard car, it’s essentially a larger medium-sized car and is more comfortable for longer journeys.

A standard rental car is usually a great choice as it has enough space for luggage depending on how much you intend on carrying. Also, they have good gas mileage which is ideal for your average driver. A perfect example of the standard car is the Hyundai Sonata.

What’s a Compact Rental Car?

Moving onto what a compact rental car is, it’s essentially a smaller medium-sized car. While it does seat 5 passengers and can be used for longer trips, it is more ideal for one to four people on shorter trips.

Regarding the capacity of a compact rental, it can have anywhere between 12-14 cubic feet of luggage space. What can be so attractive about this car is that as a result of the space and gas mileage, you’re able to get decent value for money.

What’s the Difference?

Now that you have an understanding of what each car is, it’s time to look at the difference between a compact vs standard car. As noted above, the primary difference would be in the size and capacity of both cars.

Standard and compact cars are relatively affordable to rent, but the standard has noticeably more space than a compact car does. With that being said, the differences between the two will determine which is most suitable for the person renting it.

Which is Best for You?

To determine whether you should get a standard or compact car, think about what you’ll be using it for. Ask yourself questions such as how many people will be riding in the car with you, how much luggage space you’re going to need, as well as how much time you’ll be spending in the car. The answer to these questions will give you a better answer regarding which type of car you should get in the end.

It is also important to note that both cars are fuel efficient seeing as that’s a significant concern and expense for people who will be driving any type of rental car these days.

How to Cut Costs

In case you have intentions of renting a car soon, there are some tips that could help you save money. Keep reading if you want to see a couple that you could keep in mind moving forward.

  • Prepaid Rentals: Many rental companies offer special discounts for prepaid rentals, and they are a great way to save a little extra money on your trip.
  • Pay Attention to Cancellation Fees: While a prepaid reservation can usually be re-booked without penalty, a complete cancellation may incur a cancellation fee. So if you are thinking about prepaying for a trip that you might need to cancel, be mindful of potential cancellation fees – you should be able to find these in the terms and conditions of the rental or the location policies for your pickup location.
  • Rent For Longer Periods: Another quick tip for saving would be to rent the car for longer if you need it. Although renting for a few days will still work out cheaper than renting for a week, in the grand scheme of things, the longer you rent, the more you save.
  • Use a Credit Card that Covers Insurance: At times, it isn’t the price of the rental that is expensive, but it’s the optional rental insurance. For this reason, to save on your rental, check to see whether any of your credit cards offer primary coverage as part of their perks. Your auto insurance policy might cover car rentals as well.

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