Renting a Car in Sydney Australia

Is it worth it?  (1) It is more cost-effective for a family of 4 adults than for one or two persons. (2) You actually taste the way of living in a foreign land, instead of just being a tourist being whisked around in a coach.

Update 12 December 2015: I got an upgrade to a Ford Kuga 4WD SUV on collection day.  Loved the powerful car though it’s petrol-sucking and has no manual economy mode.

Renting a Car in Sydney Australia (from Singapore online)

This is a journal of my search for the right car.

  • The schedule.
    • 12 Dec 2015 10am, pickup car at Sydney.
    • 17 Dec 2015 10am, return car at Gold Coast Airport.
  • Where to rent a car in Australia?
  • Zuji Car HireLet’s start with what I know cars.zuji.com.sg. The price varies depending on which part of Sydney you pick up the car.
    • International Airport. from S$132 to S$1364. Thrifty and Ace looks affordable.
    • Domestic Airport. same rate as international airport.
    • Central – look expensive. S$913 to S$1208. Mostly AVIS.
    • York Street – no car
    • William Street – no car
    • George Street. S$595 to S$6812… mostly Keddy and Europcar.
    • Kings Cross. S$913 to S$1208. Mostly AVIS.
    • Pitt Street. S$913 to S$1208. Mostly AVIS.
    • Domain Car Park. no car
    • Downtown. S$563 to S$962. Mostly Europcar, Keddy, Budget.
    • North. no car.
    • Blakehurst. no car.
    • Auburn. no car.
    • Revesby. no car.
    • Looks like a good choice to pick up from the airport with Thrifty.
  • Expedia.com.sg Car RentalLet’s now compare prices with Expedia.com.sg, another SG website. The search is much simpler, only one choice, from Sydney Airport. The way the search engine work is almost the same as Zuji’s (maybe it’s the same parent company or the same app).
  • Sites similar to Zuji Let’s compare some more quickly. Sites similar to Zuji: Expedia, Skyscanner, Webjet, Priceline.
  • Go deeper with expedia vs webjet vs priceline. Thrifty vs Ace vs Rentalcars.com.
    • Priceline uses data from rentalcars and thrifty.
    • Thrifty.com It cannot register Gold Coast as a location. Not useable. Skip.
    • Acerentalcars.com.au Only premium cars. Out!
    • rentalcars.com. Part of booking.com. This is by far the best search platform.  I can see where and choose my car pick-up point.  S$147 to S$277.
  • Must select type of car: Economy, compact, mini, mid-size, full-size, standard, premium wagon, premium car, premium SUV, luxury.  Must fit 4 adults, 1 big luggage, 1 small luggage, and 4 hand-carry luggage… and cheap.
  • Make a decision. choose my car out of these:
  • We booked the the car from rentalcars.com. A 5-seater Toyota Corrolla.
  • Only $210 for 5 days.
  • But Then came the SHOCKER. Fine prints and unannounced prices.
  • Add $350 for one way trip (aka drop charges, drop off fee, relocation fee).
  • Add $3000 for deposit.
  • The car may end up costing more than the rest of the trip.
  • There is no transparency upfront! Comparing cheap prices don’t mean anything until you add up the hidden costs.
  • If it is that expensive, we might as well get the car from a bigger company which charge almost the same price after adding up all the hidden costs.
  • One week later, Sister-in-law recommended Hertz. She used it in Australia and the holding deposit was only AU$200 to AU$300.
  • So we researched Hertz.com.sg directly and MY GOSH… They reveal the costs all broken down into components so we know what we are paying for and what  EXTRAS we we going to pay there.  All this before we even entered our email and credit card info.  THAT’S TRANSPARENCY!
  • Cancelled ReantalCars booking (hope they return my credit card deduction).
  • Reserved a Hertz Toyota Yaris at AU$519 for 5 days.
  • They never asked for my credit card, which is required only on the day of collection.
  • There is an online “check in” option to submit credit card and driving licence info to speed up the collection admin process.
  • Two days later, we confirmed bringing 2 big luggage.
  • Modified the reservation to a bigger car, a Nissan QashQai.
  • Then I found this… https://www.drivenow.com.au/car-hire/sydney.jspc#/home
  • And this… https://www.carhire.com.au/ by VroomVroomVroom AU.
  • Anyway, that’s enough research on car rental companies. Let’s move on to other stuff…
  • Requirements
    • Age limit: from 21 or 25 to 70 or 99 yo. Car hire companies may charge more if driver is under 25 or over 70 years old.
    • Insurance: Understand excess, bonds and extra coverage.  Note that travel insurance and credit card insurance does not cover many things in the fine print.
    • Foreign driving license: You can drive through Australia using your current license. But make sure that your license is in English.
  • Tips, guide and rules:
    • Booking
      • Ensure price should include all compulsory fees and charges such as GST, insurance, kilometres and will eliminate add on costs once you arrive to collect your vehicle. (include full comprehensive insurance with a standard liability, all compulsory fees and charges and 500kms per day for passenger vehicles)
    • Collecting
      • Inspect the vehicle before accepting it and if you’re not happy with it, it’s your choice to accept it as is, decline to take it, or perhaps negotiate a better rate if you can.
      • Look at the bodywork from different angles to try to see if there are any tiny dents or scratches
      • List ALL dents, scratches or issues with the vehicle on the inspection report PRIOR to leaving the premises.
      • Ensure that you receive a copy of this report and put it somewhere safe.
      • Make sure that you read and understand the Terms & Conditions completely.
      • Take photos of the car on delivery as “evidence” that the car was in a particular state or condition at the time of delivery.
      • Remember to get the number for your rental car company so you can call them and ask for advice if you experience any problems.
    • Driving
      • Plan fuel stops before departing. Prices are higher in remote areas.
      • Adhere to the speed limit signs posted along all major roads.
      • Stop every 2 hours to stretch your legs and get some fresh air.
      • Check road and weather conditions regularly for unforeseen closures.
      • Do NOT pick up hitch hikers, under ANY circumstances.
      • Bumped From Behind? Do not pull over and stop, especially in a secluded or dark area. Drive to the nearest public area and call for police assistance.
    • Returning
      • Make a note of the time you return the vehicle, and the name of the person to whom you handed over the vehicle.  
      • When you return the vehicle, ensure that the customer service representative inspects the vehicle with you and signs off on all paperwork that may be required.
  • Note to self:
    • Aspire Hotel to Darling Harbor. 8 mins by car.
    • Aspire Hotel to Sydney Airport. 30 mins by car.
    • Australia time is +3 hours ahead of Singapore time
    • 1 Australian Dollar = 1.02 Australian Dollar
  • To do:
    • Read reviews.
    • Find promo code.
    • GPS Satellite Navigation System required? Can Use iPhone with data?
    • What should I know when driving on the roads of Australia?
      • Toll Roads: How to pay and how much?
        • Some toll roads have booths where drivers can pay per use. If no booth or cashless, then what?
        • Buy an electronic tag from the toll road operator to use on toll roads. Buy where? How much?
        • Get the “Emu Pass”, specifically be designed for tourists. Buy from participating petrol (gas) stations and convenience stores – where to buy an Emu Pass.
        • Ask your hire car firm in advance if they have an electronic tag available for you to use during the hire period.
        • The cost of tolls vary for different toll roads and also depend on the type of vehicle you drive.
        • Toll roads in Sydney
        • Toll roads in Brisbane
        • All motorists who use toll roads are required to pay the toll within 48 hours of useage.
        • The hire car company will then charge your credit card for the toll plus any fees that it may incur as a result of your failure to pay the toll.
      • What are some rough estimates parking fees?
  • Done:

About the Author

AdrianLee

I am Adrian Lee from Sunny Singapore. My passions are in digital electronics, quantum physics, and exploring lifestyles. In this personal blog, I journal my thoughts and lessons. Enjoy!

Leave a Comment or Ask a Question