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Best tips for cheap rental cars in Australia – and the whole wide world.

Road trip in Australia, here you go! But what if you don’t have a car yet? Traveling the outback with backpack only will be really tough. I heard there are some crazy guys travelling Australia by bike, but 40°C+ are not the best conditions for long hikes or bike tours. Let’s stay realistic. If you are planning a road trip in Australia, make sure you have a road worthy car. Make sure to have enough fuel with you and do not underestimate the distances.

Most work and travelers and backpackers are buying an own car or they rely on one of the few bus services. The train network is not really existent. Another possibility is hitchhiking. But for those who come to Australia to travel for one month, the easiest option is probably a rental car. Thus, one month is a pretty long time it is important to really look for and find the best rental car deals.

Let’s say one thing in advance: Getting a rental car if you are younger than 21 years will be really hard. Some rental car companies who allow folks to rent cars below 21 years will be added and listed later.

Here are the best tips for your rental car bookings:

  • Subscribe for Newsletters: This is helpful if you are planning or if you have to rent cars more frequently. Just opt in to the newsletters of rental car companies or price comparison companies like rentalcars.com. Often you’ll get promotion codes which offer you about 10% discount or vouchers for 10$.
  • Reserve and cancel your booking: A lot of companies offer a free cancelation of your reservation or booking up to 24h prior your rental car pickup. One advice is to book your rental car early and just some days before your travels you check the rental car prices again, if you find a cheaper one, just cancel the reservation and book the cheaper offer.
  • No GPS needed: As long as you have a smartphone with you, you do not need an overpriced GPS navigation. Just download the free HERE Maps app and enjoy the 100% free and 100% offline functionality of high-quality maps. HERE Maps is used by a lot of navigation device companies like Alpine, Garmin and BMW. Furthermore, you will probably not need GPS that much. Apart of the big cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, the most roads are leading hundreds of kilometers just straight and the signage is often precise enough to travel without GPS navigation.
  • FULL/FULL: Often you have to decide between FULL/FULL or FULL/EMPTY rentals. FULL/FULL means that you pick up your rental car fully fueled and you return it also fully fueled. Pay attention with FULL/EMPTY rentals! If you chose FULL/EMPTY rentals, you buy a full tank of gasoline for a very expensive service price or you have to pay the missing fuel with an expensive price per liter. Sometimes you have the offer the rental car company gives you one tank for free. That only makes sense if the rental car offer is the cheapest.
  • Credit card limit: If you are planning to rent a car, make sure that you have enough credit card limit to cover the caution. The caution is composed by your percentage excess, fuel and fees. It is very rare that you have the possibility to pay the caution with cash, thus a credit card is a must have!
  • Use price comparisons: Use price comparison platforms like billiger-mietwage.de or rentalcars.com to find the cheapest rental car. You will find no name brands as well as brands and you can easily compare their prices and insurances.
  • Do not book with the local service agent: If you book locally you will often get a much higher price than those in the internet or on price comparison pages. If you are already at the airport and you need a rental car as soon as possible, ask the agent for the lowest price and compare it immediately online.
  • Young Diver Fee: In most cases you will pay an additional young driver fee if you are between 18 and 24 years. This fee is often more expensive than the whole car rental. There are a few providers who will offer you a lump price (already including the young driver fee), this is often a lot cheaper than paying the fee locally at the rental car station. If you use billiger-mietwagen.de you have the possibility to choose “without young driver fee” in some countries. If you are younger than 25 years, you really need to check every detail of the rental conditions!
  • Additional driver included. If you are renting a car in Australia you will probably drive a few thousand kilometers. Stay safe and change the driver every 200km. If your fellow passengers have a valid driver license, make sure to state them in your rental contract. Chose an offer where at least one additional driver is already included, otherwise it will be pretty expensive.
  • Sufficient insurance. Always chose a fully comprehensive insurance with 0$ liability. Your third party insurance should include at least 1M$. If you are planning to drive dirt roads make sure to study your rental conditions, often it is forbidden to drive such roads.
  • Weekend offers. Often it is cheaper to rent a car over the weekend than during the week. It is also cheaper to rent a car from Friday to Monday than from Friday to Sunday or Saturday to Monday. Compare the prices if you add one additional day to your rental. You do not need to use the last day, just drop off the car when you do not need it anymore.
  • Avoid brands. If you think about car rentals you will probably have Sixt, Avis, Budget, National Car Rental and Europcar in your mind. And that’s not by accident. These companies spend a lot for advertising. With no-name brands you can easily save 15%. You can find these no-name brands on sites like rentalcars.com or billiger-mietwagen.de
  • Ask for an upgrade. As it is with airlines, it is with rental cars: Just ask for an upgrade. What you don’t ask, you don’t get! Maybe you are happy to get a upper-class vehicle instead of a compact car.