People who visit Australia and planning for a road trip usually would use car rental service as it is very easy to drive in Australia, especially outskirt. During our road trip from Queensland Gold Coast to Victoria Melbourne, we use car rental Alamo. We booked online before our departure and pick up the car at Gold Coast Airport where we land.
There are several car rental companies in Gold Coast Airport, we found, Avis, Hertz, Thrifty, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, and Redspot have their rental counters conveniently located at the exit of the arrival.
Why we choose Alamo
The simple answer is it provides the cheapest price in Rentalcar.com
Alamo Car Rental agency is a US company and it is not so famous yet as compared to Avis, Hertz and Budget. You will see these big brands more often than Alamo.
What do I need to rent a car in Australia?
1. Valid driving license
2. The driving license must be in English with a photo. If it is not in English, you must get the international driver’s permit before your departure.
3. You must pay a damage deposit when you pick up the vehicle – credit card is needed.
4. Insurance – you can either purchase insurance online: Rentalcover or at the counter and do remember to print out the hardcopy to show to the front desk so that they don’t press you for another purchase of insurance. We experience paying twice for the insurance; online and paying at the counter when we picked up our car in Japan because they do not believe that we have already purchased online.
Why we did not purchase car insurance online
For our 2 weeks self-drive road trip in Australia, we did not book the rental cover online so Alamo asked us if we need the insurance cover. Their insurance price for 2 weeks costs about AUD 400-500 (I could not remember the exact number) and that is ridiculously expensive! There is no way we are going to buy the car rental insurance from the counter, it is way too expensive!! We panic for a few seconds as we did not purchase online before our departure thinking that we should purchase when we pick up our car rental. As I mentioned, we had experience paying twice (online & pay at counter) from our car rental experience in the UK and Japan. So, that is the reason why we did not purchase the insurance online.
Luckily there is wifi network as we had our mobile data roaming working, so we check online immediately and found out that the online from Rentalcover.com is only cost SGD 159.55 coverage up to SGD 104,400. That is about 3 folds cheaper than buying from the Alamo counter desk. I guess this is how they made money. Renting a car is cheap but the insurance and adding in other services can be very expensive.
All I can say is my car rental experience are different from each country. Like Japan self-drive and the UK self-drive, they wanted to make sure their customers have an insurance cover so if you did not print out the hardcopy or no proof of the soft copy, they will press you for another insurance, else you cannot get the car.
For my Thailand self-drive car rental experience, the car rental company allowed us to get the car without showing them the proof of insurance cover. They are ok with it.
For our US car self-drive car rental experience, we did not purchase online and their insurance cover costs similar to the online price.
In conclusion – Do get your car rental insurance online and to play safe, print out the copy of insurance in case the car rental staff press you for another insurance cover.
Once you have done with all the paperwork, the staff will give you the key and ask you to walk over to the car park to pick up your car. The staff will not go with you as there is only one staff, she needs to station in the rental counter desk.
The parking lot is just at the opposite of the arrival hall. Walk over and there are few signs showing the rental car pick up point.
Go find your rental car and the rental car staff will walk over to you and inspect the car with you. Sign some paperwork then you can drive the car away.
You need to check what kind of fuel to fill in. In the UK, we pump in diesel and not petrol. Don’t pump in the wrong fuel. The petrol station is widely available and usually self-serve in Australia. Pump first then pay.
We picked up our car at Gold Coast Airport and dropped off at a different location, at the Melbourne Airport. However, there is a drop charge or mileage charge for this kind of service. We paid about an additional AUD300 for dropped off at a different location.