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Ask RiotACT: hiring a car to get to Sydney

By dundle - 11 December 2015 33

Ask RiotACT

Due to the incredibly unfortunate pricing of flights between Canberra and Sydney, I’ve heard it’s popular to hire a rental car to drive up to Sydney airport prior to international travel.

I can’t take a bus as I am carrying ALL THE LUGGAGE.

I just checked Hertz, Budget and Thrifty, and the first wanted $250 for a car hire, the second didn’t allow a drop-off in NSW and the third didn’t allow a 24 hour rental.

Has anyone done this? Which car company? It’s been mentioned to be many times before so I know it happens, but I can’t figure it out. Or am I stuck with the $250 option? Thanks.

What’s Your opinion?

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33 Responses to
Ask RiotACT: hiring a car to get to Sydney
TuggLife 8:58 am 14 Dec 15

I’ve done it in reverse, but it was still $200 for a 24 hour rental – which is not too bad if there’s more than one person travelling. I don’t think I’d plan to do it again, though, because it’s just another layer of things that can potentially go wrong, and if there’s any surprise charges from the car hire company, you’re not going to be in a good position to argue, with a flight departure deadline. Arriving back home after a long flight, it’s really lovely arriving home and knowing that there’s a 2 minute walk to the car, and a short drive home.

Like rommeldog56, I’ve never had any trouble with luggage when I’ve booked the flight all the way through from Canberra, because the international luggage allowance is part of that booking. It’s only marginally more expensive to book from Canberra than Sydney, and you can check your luggage right through from Canberra (although you do have to get it off on the way back to go through Customs and check it in again).

Looking at the Murrays website, though, it’s only $10 per extra bag, sporting equipment is $20 and prams and wheelchairs are free of charge. A fully flexible fare is $42, and a discount ticket is $20. Much cheaper than any rental car deal you’ll find.

rommeldog56 10:35 am 13 Dec 15

Car Hire : I recently used qautoEurope to book cars in UK and Italy. Worked fantastically well and much cheaper than dealing direct with the car hire rental company (AutoEurope is a middle man only – a booking agent). Service was great. You can book Canberra-Sydney on their site too:

We never had a problem in returning to a location other than from where the car was picked up from. No additional charge even if you changed drop off location after we picked the car up. Maybe they have much larger fleets in Europe so it doesn’t matter as much.

eg. 4 weeks car rental in Italy (a Citroen C4 wagon – which was almost brand new) with unlimited mileage and full insurance (incl. collision damage waiver), was euro 796. Cheap compared to car rentals in Oz.

Or use bus as suggested earlier. Just watch check in time for international flights.

rommeldog56 8:01 am 13 Dec 15

When travelling OS, I’ve always found it quite good value to book the domestic connections at the same time as the International flights – Travel Agents do that regularly. If the international carrier has a partnership with a domestic carrier or in the case of Qantas or Virgin, is also a domestic carrier, then the domestic connection legs are much, much cheaper in my experience.

Most international carriers have arrangements with domestic carriers.

But, needs to be booked at same time – that’s where a travel agent comes in handy.

This is my experience only. Worked great for me.

Masquara 9:01 pm 12 Dec 15

If the problem is that you want to take international luggage allowance up, and the domestic flight luggage is a lower limit, if you have a Qantas international flight out of Sydney, Qantas will let you have international baggage on the domestic flight CBR to SYD provided you organise it with them in advance …

creative_canberran 8:01 pm 12 Dec 15

Thrifty’s website says they’ll do an 8am pickup in Canberra and drop it off at Sydney Airport around 1:30. They simply add a one-way drop off surcharge. Ends up around $115, but there’s probably an extra charge too if you return it not filled with fuel. Add to that you’ll be driving 3hrs (on a good day), and the risk if you damage the vehicle you’ll be paying hundreds and a 1hr Virgin flight for around $130 Canberra to Sydney sounds better.

madscientist 4:55 pm 12 Dec 15

Used to be a bit easier than it is now. But you’d have do the round of the booking sites until you found one that didn’t charge a relocation fee (i.e. they needed cars moved in each direction). So if you’re getting $250 consistently, they just might not need cars moved. Remember there’s always additional costs, like fuel (and excess reduction if you want it, although if you have travel insurance it will often cover rental car excess).

The other option if you have your own car is to drive up and park in one of the off-site parking places, which can be a fair bit cheaper than either flying, hiring a car or parking at the airport. However, depends how long you’re going for.

Maya123 10:59 am 12 Dec 15

I don’t understand the luggage problem. If you have regulation luggage to carry on a plane, what’s the problem? You are not supposed to take oversized luggage into the plane cabin, so any large suitcases need to be booked through for the plane flight, so why can’t it also travel with the other luggage on the bus, and from my experience, luggage on buses is treated much better than on a plane.

rubaiyat 10:04 am 12 Dec 15

Use Murrays, as cheap as $18, prepurchased, and don’t take everything bar the kitchen sink, it just makes getting out of the airport and getting around miserable.

Both my wife and I spent 2 months in the USA recently and only took our usual cabin luggage, half full because you buy stuff when you get there and fill it up.

When we travel to ski we don’t even take our boots. Hire everything.

sandysusie 9:52 am 12 Dec 15

We used to do this – for the two of us hiring a car wasn’t much dearer than going on a coach, and more convenient. Then a few years ago, Avis and Hertz and I presume most of the others started charging a one-way hire fee between Canberra and Sydney which as you’ve found makes the hire prices ridiculous. We usually go with Murray’s now.
Another possible option – on one of our trips we drove our own car to Sydney and parked it at one of the commercial car parks while we were away (Sydney AirPark I think). That worked out fairly well too; it was stored under cover while we were away and it was very nice to have our own car to drive when we got back.

123Bobb123 11:18 pm 11 Dec 15

We did it a few years ago, worked well. Not sure what company we used but try a wide google search. It was very convenient to put all the luggage in it, drive to the door of the international terminal and drop the car walking distance away. We had 4 adults so very cost effective but I have also done it with 2 adults for the convenience and it was only about $100 from memory.

dungfungus 10:12 pm 11 Dec 15


Masquara 10:05 pm 11 Dec 15

Kambahbarry said :

Cheaper to take the bus and pay extra for the luggage

Yep – there’s always heaps of luggage room left on Murray’s coaches to Sydney! And the fare is, what, $35?

Kambahbarry 5:13 pm 11 Dec 15

Cheaper to take the bus and pay extra for the luggage

maureen52 3:38 pm 11 Dec 15

Sorry, missed the luggage para!

maureen52 3:37 pm 11 Dec 15

Don’t know about hire cars, but the coaches do a drop off at the international terminal.

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