Road & Rail

The 5 things to watch out for when booking car rental

Chris Noone

In this guest opinion piece, Chris Noone, CEO of DriveMyCar rental service, gives agents five things they need to be mindful of when booking a client’s (or their own) car rentals.

Been longing for a getaway but stuck when it comes to budget? There’s something to be said about the humble roadtrip.

As a long-time Aussie holiday staple, renting a car and hitting the wide open road to explore what our country has to offer can be a quick, cheap and easy alternative to fuel your travel bug.

When it comes to booking car rental online, there’s a few things to look out for to avoid turning up to collect your car and being presented with a list of necessary extras that send your rental rate through the roof.

Keep these things in mind when renting from a traditional car rental company and you’ll be on your way to avoiding any pricey surprises.

1. Insurance

Think insurance is included? Think again, or at the very least double check. Many companies will hike up the daily rental fee if you want to include insurance and we all know it’s better to be safe than sorry. Keep an eye out and factor this into your budget to save yourself from being slapped with a damage liability of up to $5,000 in the event of an accident.

2. Premium location fees

You’ve just stepped off a flight, and the thought of finding a bus and dragging your bags into whatever city you’ve arrived in fills you with dread. We’ve all been there, but the alternative is even less appealing. Some car rental companies hike prices by as much as 29 percent for the convenience of airport collection. Doing a little homework on the best place to pick up your rental is the key to saving you big bucks in the long run.

3. Relocation fees

If you’re only road-tripping it one way, and not returning to your pickup location to drop off the vehicle at the end of your hire, you’ll need to factor in the additional fee most traditional car rental companies charge for this service.

4. Extra hire costs

Seemingly minor conveniences such as GPS systems, baby seats and even road tolls are actually extras that will be added to your rental. If you’re after any of these, be sure to check in on the cost, as it may be cheaper to bring your own.

5. Admin fees

Many traditional car rental companies charge admin fees at rates of 3-4 percent on top of the total cost. Sometimes this can even be coupled with registration recovery charges and other random fees, so read the small print and don’t get surprised.

While these all seem like small costs on their own, together they can tip the scales to transform what was once a cheap getaway into a costly vacation.

So how can you avoid all these costs? Start with the terms and conditions and weigh up all the options before locking any one service in. Inclusive pricing will become your best friend and explore options like peer-to-peer car rental and car sharing, which often offer better deals on better cars.

Stay focused on the total cost rather than the advertised rate and you’ll be on your way to making sure your road trip is unforgettable for all the right reasons.

Chris Noone is the CEO of DriveMyCar, Australia’s first and largest peer-to-peer car rental service.

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