*** Updated February 2020 ***
I love a bargain. Who doesn’t right? While I’ll quite happily drop a grand on a pair of shoes (red soles are my weakness what can I say), when it comes to car hire I am a lot less generous. I’m not a car person. Of course I can appreciate the luxury of a sparkly new beamer as much as the next guy, but I just don’t see the point in paying for unnecessary luxury when the banger will still get you from A to B just fine. So it goes without saying that when it comes to hiring a car I am looking to pay the lowest amount possible and Airport Rentals have helped me to do just that on more than one occasion. Are you down with paying minimal car hire fees? Read on for all the details …
Airport Rentals Overview
Airport Rentals are not your traditional car hire joint. In fact they don’t have any cars at all. Car Rental Republic are specialist car rental bookers that operates this dedicated airport car rental website that searches hundreds of car hire companies to find you the very best deal. To date they have organised over 1.5 million rentals and offer 24h customer service 7 days a week should you need it. To sweeten the deal they have a price beat guarantee so if you find a better deal they will beat it by $1 and give you a 25% discount on their protection plus policy (see below) where available.
Booking With Airport Rentals
Booking with Airport Rentals could not be simpler. I booked with Airport Rentals for the 5th time for our upcoming trip to Tasmania. While it’s fresh in my head I’ll take you through the simple booking process. 1. Enter your dates and destination. 2. A long list of results will appear in price order; in my case 113. Use the filter at the left to narrow your choices. I find the ‘on airport’ and ‘shuttle’ option particularly handy. Of course I would much prefer to pick up and drop off at the terminal but sometimes a short shuttle ride results in BIG savings so don’t be too quick to write it off. 3. Choose your extras. I choose nothing but additional insurance. The standard rental price will usually come with Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) but the excess can be hefty. The ‘protection plus excess insurance refund’ policy I chose is pricy, almost equal to the rental itself, but it will refund your whole excess if something nasty happens and you are forced to pay up. I have never had an accident in a rental and have often thought of giving it a miss, but my luck and Murphy’s Law says the one time I do the inevitable will occur. Up to you one this one. If you do take this up be wary of any attempts to up-sell further insurance when you collect your car. I always carry my own GPS in Australia as these costs can really add up. 4. Pay a small deposit and for the extra protection if you have taken it. Airport Rentals only accept Visa and Mastercard which is a little annoying for this Amex toting customer.
As you can see above, my rental with Keddy (Europcar) totals $200.08 for 6 days and I have added the optional protection plus for $141.00 against an excess of $4,950. As a comparison, going through Europcar direct would be a base price of $629.75 with a $4,180 excess for the exact same car. They have three insurance upgrades priced at $178.84, $223.55 and $292.64 respectively. You need to take the top cover to reduce the excess to nil.
My Experiences With Airport Rentals
The Hubs first found airport rentals on our last trip to the Gold Coast. I remember being a bit skeptical at the time about how cheap it was and thinking there must be some sort of catch, but our Nissan Micra rental at Brisbane airport through Keddy (Europcar) went off without a hitch. It was too long ago to remember how much it cost. Soz!
When I was in the Sunshine Coast with my bestie we also turned to Airport Rentals and hired an automatic Hyundai i20 through Bliss. When we arrived we were presented with a little white manual Nissan Micra. Luckily I can drive a stick shift, but my companion couldn’t so I was designated driver all weekend. Cost $67.20 for three day plus we added the $67.50 protection plus. Total $134.40.
*** October 2016 Update *** The Hubs and I were down in The Great Ocean Rd when we used Airport Rentals for the third time. This was the first time we had used a ‘shuttle’ to an off airport location for our Atlas pick up and drop off. We booked a Nissan Micra again for two days at a cost of $72.22 plus $51.10 for protection plus. Imagine our surprise when we were presented with a Renault Megane convertible instead. Thrilled doesn’t even come close. This baby had everything from remote control ignition to heated seats. I never wanted to hand it back and it was just perfect for our road trip. And hell yeah we drove with the top down despite the fact that it was freezing 🙂 I kid you not, this is the best photo I have of The Hubs ‘smiling’. What can I say, he can’t concentrate on three things at once, you know, like driving, turning his head and smiling!
*** November 2016 Update *** Our first international booking through Airport Rentals was for our road trip through New Zealand’s North Island in November 2016. We collected our Hyundai i20 from Alamo NZ which was a short shuttle ride from Auckland International Airport. We chose a shuttle as the on airport options were almost double. Alamo NZ have only been in operation for a few months which meant we got an almost brand new vehicle. Yay! They did mention they are hoping to get an ‘on airport’ position from October 2017. We only paid $119.63 for six days plus $96.42 for the optional protection plus. That’s a seriously good deal in my book especially when you look how much it would have cost to book direct (below). While I do love and upgrade, I’m secretly glad we didn’t get one in Auckland as petrol in NZ is expensive so our fuel miser was appreciated. Now you have the cheap car sorted, check out my tips for booking a bargain flight to save even more and if you are heading to New Zealand for the first time my New Zealand Travel Essentials post tells you everything you need to know before you go.
*** January 2017 Update *** We started our Tasmanian road trip in Launceston and collected on the booking that inspired this post. We flew Jetstar for the short trip from Sydney and we were in row seven so were first at the Eurocar desk to pick up our car on airport. Instead of the Nissan Micra we booked we were ‘upgraded’ to a Toyota Yaris. I say ‘upgraded’ because honestly I can’t really see the difference between the two. Tasmania is made for road trips and those on two wheels will be particularly thrilled with the endless kilometres twisty, windy roads. The Hubs did most of the driving and was not a fan of the Yaris. He claimed it was under power dealing with steep hills and tight turns but in those situations he did appreciate the manual gearbox. The car was near new and immaculately clean when we picked it up. It would have been a tight fit to squeeze our Samsonite in the boot so we dropped the back seats down for ease of access. Overall the Yaris did everything we needed it to do even if it wasn’t exactly to The Hubs’ liking 🙂
*** February 2020 Update *** Renting cars in Waikiki can be expensive. We have been to Hawaii more than a dozen times and have rented cars on three of those trips. On our last visit we rented a Chevrolet Spark for two days for AUD$113.39. My NAB credit card comes with extra cover for rental car excess, but I messed up this time and booked my Jetstar flight to Honolulu on my Amex which doesn’t have the same cover so I took up the extra protection for AUD$40. Live and learn right? When we picked up our car from Hertz we were upgraded to a Kia Soul. Nice! Parking in Waikiki is ridiculously expensive and we noticed plenty of people hiring for multiple days as single bookings and dropping them back off in the evening to avoid the parking fees. The best deal we found was USD$30 a night at the Shoreline Hotel where we stayed. We couldn’t change our booking, but we did drop the car back at 9pm on the last night rather than 9am the next morning to save a few bucks. We used the car to do a spot of shopping in Waikele Outlets and see some of Oahu’s best sunsets on the West Coast and the North Shore. We were blessed with torrential rain on one of the days which did hamper our exploring somewhat, but we made the best of the cards we were dealt.
Have you used Airport Rentals? Do you have any secrets for scoring a low cost rental car? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
Until Next Time …
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Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. I paid for all my car rentals with Airport Rentals in full and as always, all opinions are my own.