When is the most expensive time of year to rent a car?

Don’t be robbed by car rental companies this summer, try these services instead.

Driving holiday highway robbery

New research shows that self-drive holidaymakers over the Christmas period will pay roughly 3.3 times more for car hire than they would renting a car for the same time this month.

Car rental companies are raking in the big bucks, taking advantage of a typically popular car-hire period during the week of 24–30 December. During this week, car renters will pay up to  300 per cent more for car hire than most other times of the year.

The difference between renting now versus over the holidays is an average jump of $595.

“Travelling is pricey enough without having to pay a Christmas tax for car rental. A mark-up of more than 300 per cent is outrageous. There are plenty of other, smarter options that Australians can take advantage of to help keep more of their hard-earned cash in their pockets this holiday season,” said DriveMyCar chief executive officer Chris Noone.

Drivers looking to avoid car rental highway robbery may wish to consider boycotting traditional car rental companies and instead using a peer-to-peer service such as DriveMyCar, or any number of car-sharing services.

These services rent cars from private owners or direct from manufacturers and dealerships, at prices up to 59 per cent less than traditional car rental companies during the Christmas period. There’s a diverse range of vehicles from which to choose and you’ll still get insurance and bonus roadside assistance.

Another inexpensive way to get around in the summer is to use the TripGo website or app. This enables you to combine cheaper transport modes, such as trains, buses, ferries, trams, taxis and ride-sharing services to personalise your trip on a budget in any state in Australia.

By hiring a caravan, you could solve your accommodation and transport needs with one solution. It also gives you the freedom to move around your destination without having to worry about getting back home – home is stuck to the back of your car! And you can save around 20 per cent off normal rates when you use the MyCaravan platform.

If you’re travelling interstate, alone, you could see if someone could give you a lift to your destination. CoSeats is a cool carpooling service that hooks up drivers and passengers to and from cities all over the country. Or, if you’re travelling within Melbourne or Sydney, you could try UberPOOL, share a ride and pay only half the usual fare. Or you could find a friend who’s keen for a drive and jump in the passenger seat with them, or share the driving.

So, rethink your car rental options this summer. Get creative and save!

Do you need to rent a car over summer? Were you aware that the rates go up by such a high amount? Would you try one of these services instead?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    28th Nov 2018
    Not bad Leon. We rent for months at a time but start 10 months ahead of our trip. In that time specials come and go but it works out pretty cheap.
    We did France for a month for AU$650 and Italy for the same period for AU$980. The going rates are double that but long term rentals are much cheaper. The longer you go the cheaper it is. And for the France rental we got mid sized vehicle with inbuilt GPS and 12,000 km on the clock.
    Never tried any of the sites you list but will run some data through them to see if they are worth the effort.
    28th Nov 2018
    Just tried your DriveMyCar site. Useless.
    First is the website is not international. Ok.
    Second is they do not have cars.

    Sounds very much like a start-up with no customers. Of no use to most travellers Leon.
    I'll stop there. Cheers
    28th Nov 2018
    I always go on comparison site VroomVroomVroom and book well ahead. Another tip, when hiring in the UK get a manual vehicle, it is a lot cheaper than an automatic sometimes by 50% .
    28th Nov 2018
    If needing to hire a car in Eastern States, I use a fantastic company - not one of the 'big ones', and their rates are just SO much cheaper. I have never ever had any trouble with them, get practically new cars, and excellent service. Have friends coming in 2019 during school holidays, and hiring a larger SUV for 2 weeks - just over $320. Other companies were close to $1600.
    And NEVER pay the insurance through the hire companies! I use a 3rd party company...for same 2 week period, I am getting 100% excess cover for $130. Through hire car company - was going to be $396.
    I would NEVER hire a car through the big name companies.
    17th Dec 2018
    Make sure you shop around. I know a couple who hired a people mover for 4 or 5 days at a lower price than some did for 2 days. They were also able to pick the car up earlier in the day, and have it back at an agreed time the day they returned it. It wasn't labelled with a company name at all and part of the time it was used as a wedding car

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