Budget Car Hire
Travelling NZ on a budget?
Car rental in New Zealand is more affordable now than it used to be. As new car prices have reduced so have car rental rates - and there is plenty of competition in the market. But how do you go about getting the best deal for your New Zealand Car Hire? How do you make sure you're not renting a lemon and that the car you have booked will be there when you arrive? Here are a few tips from some frugal Kiwi travellers:
Tip 1) It is not necessary to rent from one of the handful of car rental companies that have a booth inside the airport terminal building.
These are generally the larger international rental car companies and they pay big money to the airport companies just to be there. This in turn pushes up their rental car rates. If you're on a budget it's probably worth foregoing the convenience of the in-terminal desk. If you pre-book your rental car some of the off-airport rental car companies (Omega Rental Cars being one of them) will pick you up from outside the terminal building in their courtesy shuttle van and take you to their depot just down the road to sign the rental agreement and collect your car.
Believe it or not we still have to pay the airport companies to be allowed to pick up customers in this way - so you might also want to consider buying some shares in Auckland Airport while you're being all fiscally responsible!
Tip 2) Choose a company that's been around for a while.
Budget rent a car companies have earned a bit of a reputation for over-booking in the peak periods, resulting in customers being kept waiting while they sort the situation out. At Omega Rental Cars we have been in the business for 20 years and we won't pretend we have never made a mistake or mis-calculated our supply and demand. But we can say that after 20 years we now have systems in place to make sure we get it right and all of our Branch Managers have many years car rental experience (which just for the record is not the same thing as getting old!).
Tip 3) Select your vehicle carefully, and look for a 'deal'
At Omega we are one of the largest independent rental car companies in New Zealand, so we have a large fleet to draw on and a full range of vehicles to suit every customer's individual requirements. When you put in your dates a selection of vehicle types with the price for each pops up.
We often have what we call 'deals cars' available. These are older model, high kilometre vehicles that have been in our rental fleet for a while. They have been regularly serviced and well maintained but remember - you get what you pay for. We also have budget and economy cars, check the specification, size and age to see if they are suitable. Our fleet range includes family wagons, elite hatches, Previas and brand new Subaru Forester SUVs, so it's a case of horses for courses - select the vehicle most suitable for you and your budget.
Our safety record is second to none, with all vehicles no matter their age, budget or specification put through a rigorous 40-point safety check before each hire. And all of our vehicles are covered by 24 hour AA Roadside Assist. We can't guarantee all other rental car companies will be just as thorough.
Tip 4) Check for Relocation Specials
When we need vehicles relocated to suit seasonal demand we will often post 'relocation specials' on our website. These are a great way to pick up a car for an extremely low price, some for as little as a $1 a day.
Just check the conditions, some relocation deals have a maximum number of kilometres you can travel or a maximum hire period.
Tip 5) Beware of low daily rates with hidden extras
As competition in the rental car industry is high, some companies have resorted to advertising low daily rates then insisting that their customers have to pay extras at the counter. So be sure to check what's included before you book. At Omega Rental Cars we provide lots of free extras that will not only save you money on your car hire, but also on the tourist attractions you may wish to visit.
Insurance is an area that often causes confusion. All our rental rates include standard insurance with a $2000 excess. If you wish to reduce this excess you can pay what is called CDW or Collision Damage Waiver, the amount varies depending on the age of the driver and the type of vehicle - but this all clearly pops up as you go through the booking process. Just make sure if you are comparing rates with another rental car company that this is just as clear so you're not 'sold' other extras at the counter that you don't need.
If you are a New Zealander you are covered by ACC so will not require Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) and if you are an international visitor then you probably have travel insurance that covers you in this scenario.
Tip 6) Just because you're on a budget do you really want to look like a tourist?
All our cars are completely free of rental car company stickers and signwriting and most of our customers prefer this. Be aware that most of the other off-airport rental car companies love their stickers and brand their cars as their primary marketing method.
Just something to bear in mind.