Harland: A motoring holiday

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By Robert Harland


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

AS MUCH as I love living in the Philippines, a trip back home to Britain is always a treat. I'm planning to take the family there in July.

We usually fly on Cathay Pacific, but this year we've decided to try out PAL's new direct flight from Manila to London. The British ambassador, Asif Ahmad, was on the inaugural flight and said he enjoyed it so why not give it a try? Fifteen plus hours of flying is a bit daunting, but great that there are no stop-overs.

In my opinion, by far the best way to enjoy a holiday in Britain is by car. It's a fascinating country - in tradition, culture, natural beauty, not to mention a roaring night life.


If you're going to rent a car, it's important to choose the right company. There are many to choose from. I've tried most, but for reliability and service, I think Hertz is about the best. I feel comfortable with their people and their cars and that's important when on holiday.

We usually hire a modest car such as a Ford Focus, but one of these days I might be tempted to splash out on one of the Hertz luxury rentals. They have a terrific selection in the UK including Lamborghini, Bentley, Porsche and many more. One day perhaps when I have a few extra pounds in my pocket.

So, should you decide to get behind the wheel in Merrie Odle England, here are few driving tips.

Remember we British drive on the left-hand side of the road. I'm always amused when Americans say "You limeys (American slang for Brits) drive on the wrong side of the road."

There is no "wrong" side of the road. Countries either have left or right-hand driving. It's also a mistake to think that only the Brits drive on the left. You may be surprised to learn that a quarter of the world does, including the Japanese.

If you're used to driving on the right, moving to the left takes a bit of getting used to, but you'll soon get the hang of it.

In Britain, the police implement the law and very strictly so you need to follow the rules. You also need to be careful when it comes to speed limits. Many British cities make a fortune with speed cameras. If you see a flash when you're driving that means you've been caught, but if you're a foreigner, chances are there'll be no follow-up.

British drivers are generally well disciplined and polite, but they don't take kindly to drivers not following the rules. So Manila-style driving tactics should be avoided!

Although Britain is well sign-posted and maps are kept up-to-date, a real benefit is having GPS, which is called SatNav in England. Hertz offers a remarkable system called 'NeverLost.' It's terrific and I've no idea how I managed without it before.

As for accommodation, bed and breakfast is a good choice. They will introduce you to the locals and your fellow travelers and also start your day off with a hearty full English breakfast.

As there's no new language to learn, Britain is a very popular European vacation destination for English-speaking tourists.

Good motoring!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 14, 2014.


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