Five ways to save on car rentals

Our five handy ideas for renting a car on your next holiday could save you a bundle.

Five ways to save on car rentals

Are you heading off for a holiday that requires a car rental? It pays to know the ropes when it comes to hiring a car, and our five tips could save you a bundle.

Look out for hidden charges
Check the fine print of your rental agreement for hidden fees that may make your $50-per-day rental end up being more like $60. Sales tax, airport fees and extra costs for travelling over an allotted amount of kilometres all add up – so check the deal you think you have made against the terms and conditions to make sure you won’t get stung by hidden extras.

It’s also best to make sure you fill the fuel tank prior to returning your vehicle, because if the hire company has to do it, you can be assured of astronomical fuel costs that will take a big bite out of your credit card.

Convenience versus cost
It may be convenient to rent a car straight from the airport, but if you have a choice of hiring from a place nearby, it may be less expensive for you to do so. Airport rental agencies are usually more expensive than their suburban and metro counterparts, so do your homework before you arrive, and weigh up the price of paying for a cab to get to a cheaper rental firm over paying for the convenience of an airport rental.

Another good idea is to see if your hotel can organise a shuttle from the airport, then use that to stop at a car hire outlet and hire your vehicle at a lower price.

Review the insurance agreement
Check the details of the insurance to ensure it really is value for money. If you have travel insurance you should have a provision for excess cover, so there is no point paying an additional fee for this.

Always rent a small car
It’s a fairly well known theory amongst car rental companies that people don’t like hiring compact cars, so they’ll usually have a lot more mid- and full-size cars available for hire. So why book a small car for rental? Because rental agencies will have less small cars available and,so if you’ve booked one andthey don’t have one available for you, they are obliged to upgrade you at no additional cost.

Look out for weekly deals
If you are hiring a car for three days over a long weekend you will usually pay a premium rate per day because it is considered a peak hire period. Sometimes it pays to add a day to your hire, say, picking it up the night before you need it because the overall rate will be reduced. It may even pay to hire your vehicle for an extra day, even if you don’t need it, as the overall price you pay could still be less than if you only hire it for the weekend days. Picking a car up on a Thursday will more often than not guarantee you a cheaper overall rental rate.

It also pays to check online deal brokers or to book your car online rather than over the phone or in person. Online rates are mostly always cheaper than rates that require human interaction.

Do you have any tips for cheaper car rental? Why not share them with our members?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    12th Dec 2016
    If you can drive a manual, hire one always cheaper than an automatic, quite often they have none so get a free upgade to auto. I always use a hire car comparison site too. Vroom Vroom is a good one.
    12th Dec 2016
    Thanks for the tips Leon but does anyone know of any car rental companies in Australia that will rent a car to seniors over 75 years of age?
    It's lovely to be retired and actually have time to 'see' Australia but so restrictive if one can't travel the roads and visit areas and small towns outside of the larger cities.
    12th Dec 2016
    Thrifty :) Merry Christmas :)
    12th Dec 2016
    Thanks hevvybob, I'll give them a try ... and a Merry Christmas to you also.
    12th Dec 2016
    Make sure you read ALL the fine print. I recently booked a rental online from Economy Car Rentals, who were agents for a company in NZ. I paid the fee, thinking it was also a down payment for the rental, as it was over $200.00. When I arrived to collect my rental, the rental company had received no payment at all. I put in numerous queries to Economy Car Rentals, upon my return to Australia, to no avail and so I am out of pocket in excess of $200.00 because I missed "unticking" the box for extra Insurance.
    12th Dec 2016
    Back in October I found a car hire company called Carhood they rent cars that have been left at there airport parking sites so far only in Melbourne,Brisbane & Sydney. I hired a 2007 model for $70 for 4 days with 200 km daily allowance. They have later model cars that vary in price depending on what year they are. Had no problems with this car or there service.
    13th Dec 2016
    Did some research before hiring recently.
    Before hiring register with Avis as 'Avis Preferred' this gives you a free upgrade, so hire the car below the one you would like. Take out a Fast Cover Travel Insurance for the car hire period. This insurance covers $5000 excess so you do not need additional insurance from the car hire company. Fast cover is part of the Alliance group. I found my car hire an economical and painless experience.

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