This was a big lesson for me, and perhaps you too.
Prices for past few months have been averaging about $50 a day for a 10-day rental, with pickup and drop at the domestic airport. This is quite a bit more than I have paid a few months ago when I was used to rates on a small car being around $35 a day. But it appeared to me that with all the major car rental companies at Sydney airport prices had gone up.
So when I needed to book a car in mid-May for 5 days I thought that I would give the big mega-search site www.rentalcars.com a go. They came up with Ace Car Rentals as one of the cheapest, and as I had used them in NZ and was very satisfied, I was interested in their price for a small car. A Toyota Corolla was $157.94 – about $32 a day. That looked good.
OK they are not at the airport and a 5-minute drive by shuttle which runs about every 15 mins so I would need to allow extra time. And the cars are a bit older but still in good condition. I was just doing some driving around Sydney so not looking for anything “flash”.
As a matter of interest, I thought I’d just check on Thrifty and WOW . Yes WOW. For the 5 days with a pickup at the airport, I could get a Mitsubishi Mirage for $145.86 – less than $30 a day and no messing about with shuttle bus transfers.
Now keep in mind that at Sydney airport ALL car rental companies with cars actually at the terminals charge a premium airport collection fee of between 28% and 30% – on top of all their other charges!!!
So even allowing for this huge amount on top, Thrifty was still cheaper than the budget company.
Why is Thrifty so cheap this time? It’s all about SUPPLY AND DEMAND. Things were quiet, so they dropped the rates dramatically
So what are the lessons?
Never never never assume that because one car rental company was the least expensive last time, it will be so the next time!
And car rentals off the airport are not always the cheapest – sorry Ace Car Rentals – perhaps next time.
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