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Car Rental

 One of the biggest dilemma many people have when renting a car to travel Australia is which type or model of vehicle to rent. Do I need a four wheel drive, a sedan, a campervan or a motorhome? The answer will depend upon where you want to go and for how long. If your travel plans include excursion to the "outback" or to beaches and places in the middle of nowhere, it is better have a good 4x4. In opposite, if you will only play around town, a very economic sedan is the pic.

In travelling between cities and with more than 3 people onboard plus luggage, space and power in the motor are a better choice not to suffer too much in mountainous terrains and bumpy roads. A medium size sedan will do the job. If travelling with family or another couple, it is better to have a bigger car for overtaking response and comfort. These situations describe above are for those planing accommodation in Hotels, Motels, or other convenience of the same type. For those planning to do the trip in a budget of staying in open spaces such as a caravan park, we strongly recommend a Campervan or small motorhome depending about the number of people travelling with you. Caravan Parks in Australia are fantastic with very nice comfort and infra structure. Travelling by a Campervan or motorhome also allow you to overnight for free in some places. A book called " Camp 4" highlight some of these spots. Each way to travel has its advantages and disadvantages.

A Car "X" A Campervan or Motorhome which is the best option? My answer is...In terms of economy none, unless travelling in a happy group of 5 or more. For example, 4 people travelling together in a Motorhome will reflect more economy per head than only two persons. In a motorhome, you save hotel and the cost of a normal car is part of the cost of the rental of a motorhome. If you are planning to stay in caravan Park them you will need to ad the cost of the park on the top of the Motorhome. This will cost about the same than 4 people travelling in a car and staying in budget hotels or  motels. The advantage of the motorhome (or a campervan) is that you can go to locations without too much accommodation infra structure and you have beds and a kitchen to solve the problem inside the car. We will give a base of prices (average) and you will be able to work out financially where the difference is. For a motorhome (4 people) about A$ 200/day. For a non budget Campervan A$ 120/day (2 people), for a car A$ 45 per day (2 or 4 people),  for the motel A$ 80 per night (2 or 4 people) For a Hotel from A$ 100/night (2 people) and for a Caravan Park, A$ 25/night (2 people + A$ 8 for extra person). If you make all possible combinations you see that the cheapest one is the Campervan parked to sleep outside a Caravan Park, but not much less than a car + motel with much more comfort. The conclusion is that the best deal depends about what, for how long, and where you want to go in Australia. Each situation is different and the way people like to travel too. As we said before, you will spend about the same dividing by the number of heads.

One of the biggest mistakes when renting a vehicle is to make confusion between the insurances. Most rental cars companies have already a Comprehensive Insurance included in the price, but this insurance do not cover 100% of all cases. To explain better, the insurance covers the vehicle only if it is in a road accept by them. In other words, an official road with pavement or bitumen. Some short gravel roads beside some small towns are accepted for in a road that the rescue of the vehicle could be very expensive such as some outback roads, the coverage is void. So, if you are planning to go somewhere out of the square, you'd better consult your car rental company to check if it is OK. Second, the Insurance doesn't cover what they call " Excess". It means that for small damages, despite your insurance being "comprehensive" you will have to pay a certain amount. Example, I got an scratch at the side that will cost A$ 500 to fix. You will have to pay from your pocket unless you buy the excess before. The excess can be purchased at the same time you rent the car. I've found good to buy some excess, but not all. Each car and company have different values, so research is a must. Another things not covered by the Comprehensive insurance neither by the excess is damage to tires and windscreen, but you can also buy them. In my latest trip from the Gold Coast to Port Douglas, the windscreen of my car was broken buy rocks on the road twice. (cost A$ 220 each time but I had insurance for that).

There are plenty of Car rental Companies in Australia. From the traditional big companies to very budget ones. It is very important to research in forum on the internet what people is saying about them. There a cases very hairy to tell, and some others that I wish to give an award to the company. Prices have great variation from one company to another, but don't forget that very cheap prices can cost you a fortune in case your car breaks down and the company can't deliver another one to you or the fixing of the car takes many days of you precious travel time. Research, research and research on the internet forums is the Key to find a good one, besides the well know traditional ones. Some companies also have different prices depending about the age of the driver. Usually a driver younger than 25 years old pays more. As it happens around the world, in Australia as more days you rent a car, less the cost per day is. During the high season, some companies don't accept rents for less than a week (Campervans and Motorhomes mostly). The Australia currency to rent a car is the credit card, where all the debt goes including bond, excess, insurance and the rental itself. 

Some Australian Car rental Companies to research:
Yes Honey, There are only 21.789 Km remaining to circle Australia!
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