Hiring a car is the most economical and definitely the most convenient way to travel around New Zealand,  but how do you make sure the rental company you’re dealing with is both honest and reliable? The best way to achieve this is by asking the right questions before handing over any money.

Your first question should be “what happens if I break down?”  Every rental company should provide breakdown assistance and if it doesn’t seem to be included in the price get it added as an optional extra. Those extra few dollars will seem well spent if the worst should happen so don’t cut corners just to save money at the start of the trip.

Is it the right deal for you? Renting the right car

You’ll want to ensure that the vehicle offered is suitable for the trip so don’t be afraid to ask about the different models available. Keep mind that the bigger the car, the more it will cost to hire.
While weighing up the cost of renting, carefully review what’s included in the policy. Nobody enjoys surprises where money is concerned, so to avoid paying out extra when returning the vehicle get a full list of what the occupant is liable for before leaving the rental car branch.

Special Circumstances

Separated into two main islands, New Zealand presents a challenge for renting vehicles. Most rental agencies will have a base on both islands, but check beforehand that they are happy for the car to be driven on both sides of the crossing.  Decide whether you want to take the car on the ferry or swap cars either side of the crossing, and find a rental car company that suits your preference.  Under 25’s should inform their car hire company when they book. While in New Zealand it is common for those under 25 to hire a car, there are extra insurance charges or a bond that will need paying when arriving to collect the car.

Kids on Board?

If travelling with an infant, any parent will want to secure their child safely. Reputable car hire firms will provide a baby seat at a small cost so don’t be afraid to ask, and some such as Omega Rental Cars will even provide them free of charge. Most rental agencies will ask if a baby seat is required at the time of booking so make sure one is available for the dates you require.

Whether on a strict budget or wanting to pay for the very best, there are always a number of choices and healthy competition between car hire firms in New Zealand. Ultimately, finding a great rental car comes down to research, planning ahead, and  asking the right questions.

Isreal Hartley is an author, an internet marketer an avid traveller who loves the outdoors, great food and great wine.  Isreal has written on a wide range of topics, including finance, travel, online marketing, design and software. Follow him on Linkedin and on Google+ @ Isreal Hartley

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