If your are seriously into independent travel then having a car ‘to do what you want when you want’ is paramount. This will often mean it’s more cost effective than going organised tours especially when travelling as a family and often cheaper than the cost of airfares in getting to your destination if you are travelling as a group. Whenever I am in need of car hire I always explore the best option to match the occasion. For instance, leading up to a trip to the US with my family, I did a lot of research on the cheapest deal on a new hire car which included 24 hour road side assistance. I wanted a new car as we planned on travelling a lot of miles and I wanted to mimimise our chances of being stranded in Death Valley in the middle of summer with kids if we broke down for days on end. I found rentalcars.com to be very competitive at the time and it is always cheaper than going direct to the car hire company. They act as a broker for the big global names in the industry such as Hertz, Budget and Thrifty as well as the country’s own hire companies.
However, on a recent trip to New Zealand I ended up with a vehicle rental company that hired out older cars for very good prices. They also had a breakdown service and I wasn’t so concerned about breaking down in New Zealand because it is such a small country and we wouldn’t have wasted much time if we did have a problem. We found an excellent company with a great reputation called A to B Car Rentals.
East Coast Car Rentals also have some great off peak deals at different locations along the east coast in Australia and New Zealand.
If you only need to get from point A to point B, another vehicle rental consideration is a one way rental although this will usually cost more. You can always trawl forums and online classifieds to see if anyone needs a car transported as it will be cheaper for them to have it driven rather than transported on a train or truck, but read the fine print and make you you are covered if anything goes wrong.
Adding a collision damage waiver (CDW) to your car hire agreement can really eat into your budget and if you compare quotes with and without it you will notice a big difference. If running the risk of having an accident and having to cough up all that unexpected dosh isn’t really in your schedule then you need do something, but it won’t have to cost as much as you
might think. Check your travel insurance policy carefully as this will more than likely cover the excess anyway. I can highly recommend World Nomads for international travel insurance. However, my credit card company actually offered travel insurance but after reading the fine print I noticed this was only valid if driving in my own country. When we hired a car in South Africa we found Bidvest to be cheaper than the big names and they are well known there. We didn’t pay for the extra insurance with them but took out additional insurance with RentalCover.com as they cover extras that usually the rental car company won’t. If you are hiring a car in your own country and are worried about your level of cover then it is best to consider taking out a domestic insurance policy. A weeks cover with an insurance company such as Columbus Direct will cost under $40 in Australia which will waive a vehicle rental excess up to $3000 yet if you arrange the same cover with the car hire company or broker will set you back nearly an extra $300.
If you are really on a shoestring and are touring Australia then consider checking out Cars 4 Backpackers as they have listings for buying and selling cars, vans and motor homes and there is great advice about want you need to know about buying, registering, insuring and selling a car in Australia.
Revolutionising the rental car business is a new player to town and that is the Airbnb of the car world, Turo.com.
Get yourself some wheels because you never know where the road may take you.