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How to Rent a Car at the Airport

rental car parked near at the plane

The process of renting a car at the airport can sometimes be stressful and time-consuming. Therefore, finding the best price and understanding the rules and regulations before and after you use a hire car will help. At VroomVroomVroom, we offer the easiest and fastest way to book a car hire in Australia that's why we have listed our three golden rules to make your booking experience a breeze.

Reserving a Car Hire for collection at an Airport

1. Compare prices online. It's a great idea to check car rental comparison websites like VroomVroomVroom, as they save you having to check individual car supplier websites such as Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Redspot and Thrifty. VroomVroomVroom compare their rates to help you find the vehicle that will best suit your budget and preference.

agent pointing on sign car hire


Before you make your booking, look into and/or ask about any additional fees specific to your circumstances (see below) . These fees are charged differently by suppliers and so can change what supplier offers the best deal all things considered.

Most common fees include:
  • Underage-driver fees: Additional charge for a driver under 25. Read our Drivers Licence Details page for some useful information when renting a car in Australia.
  • Airport surcharges: Additional charge for picking up a rental at the airport. In some cases you can avoid these excess fees by choosing to pick up your car from depots not on airport grounds (off-airport locations) however you are responsible for getting to the off-airport location yourself - no pickup is offered. Note that you can usually still return your vehicle to Airport locations without incurring the Airport or Premium Location Fee although some suppliers do charge a Premium Location Fee for some City locations but considerably less than Airport Location Fees.
  • Mileage fees: Additional charges for going over a specified mileage allowance (if your rental has limited mileage, each additional mile over the limit will be charged).
2. Consider the size of vehicle you will need. You can rent a car in any size, from compact to SUV. Make sure you also understand the difference between "compact" and "luxury-sized". When you book through VroomVroomVroom, you will see examples of models or how many passengers can fit in each car size.

Here's a quick video that runs you through the process of searching, booking and modifying your booking with VroomVroomVroom. When choosing vehicle size, remember your vehicle has to fit both passengers and your luggage.


3. Choose the same pick-up and drop-off location. One-way booking is more expensive! For example, if you are picking up your rental car in Perth and decide to return it to the Adelaide Airport, you may be surprised to find out that you will incur a 'one-way' drop off fee. Make sure that you choose the same location for pick-up and drop-off so you can get cheaper rates.  

4. Online bookings require credit card payment at the time of pickup. There may be instances that some suppliers offer cash rentals, you will need to contact them directly to discuss your individual circumstances. Their requirements along with deposits are employment confirmation, references and a substantial cash deposit, and only Monday to Friday rental in some cases and with 30 day notice. However, some major locations allow you to use a Debit Card with the Visa or Mastercard emblem on it.

5. Adding additional features that you may need with your rental car. Optional extras such as baby seats and GPS can be included after the reservation is confirmed. The details of charges are in the terms and conditions of the supplier so make sure to check "not included in this quote" on the booking page to see the amount. Note that different car models will have different options, so keep that in mind as you choose a car size and model.

booking a car insurance via rental car

6. Excess reduction purchased directly from a car rental company is optional. Choosing to reduce your risk by purchasing Rental Vehicle Excess Insurance or Collision Damage Waiver from an insurance company or car rental supplier is entirely your choice.
  • However, in the event of an accident (major or minor), suppliers will immediately charge your credit card a maximum damage excess fee of between $3,000 and $8,250 depending on the car type and the supplier. Excess reduction reduces the amount of immediate out of pocket expenses for a limited range of vehicle damage.  It is very important to read the full details as you may find an Insurance Policy is more appropriate for your needs due to their reimbursement amounts. For more information, check out our insurance guide.
7. Changing the booking details can cost you. Keep in mind that any change to a rental such as dropping back the vehicle early or changing the times, will mean the supplier(s) will re-calculate the rate. Rental prices are calculated in exact 24hr timeframes e.g. pickup at 10am on Friday and drop back at 10am Saturday will be a one day rental, whereas pickup at 10am on Friday and drop off 11.30am Saturday will be 2 day rental. Suppliers offer rates that vary based on longer vehicle rentals, or rentals that include a weekend or public holiday, or rental specials that were valid at time of booking etc.  a change of rental day or date or time could mean that you are no longer eligible for a discount that your previous rental dates or times made you eligible for - even if you return a car earlier, it could cost you more.  Taking this into account, changing the drop off point or return date/time, may increase the final costings dramatically so it is worth asking for a quote before making the change.
  • Finalize all booking details and make sure you have the correct dates, times and pickup/drop off locations already included in your booking.
  • Ask for a quote for a change of date or time before going ahead.
8. You can make your reservation by phone if you would prefer.  Our outstanding Customer Care team will be delighted to assist you.

Picking up the Rental Car at the Airport

1. Upon arrival at the Airport, go to the location where you have reserved your rental car.  Note that suppliers Kiosks are located at the Arrivals Terminal either Domestic/International airport.Make sure to prepare the following things: 
  • Booking details, reservation number found on your VroomVroomVroom confirmation
  • Mode of payment (Credit/debit card) 
  • Valid drivers licence/international drivers licence
  • Flight details. It is very important to add these to your reservation as flight information indicates to suppliers where and when to have your vehicle available. There are rental company kiosks at each airline terminal, including domestic and international terminals. Also, if your flight is delayed, suppliers will ensure a staff member and your car  is available for a confirmed reservation, even if the new arrival time of your flight is after the scheduled closing time of the car rental counter.  If you need to have flight details added to your booking, make sure to ask our Customer Care team.
2. Review your rental contract. Make sure all of the information is correct, and the price you were quoted when you reserved is reflected in the contract.

customer giving his credit card for the- payment of his car rental

3. Pay for the rental. When making payment at the pick-up location, make sure you provide the reservation number as well as your driver's licence and credit card.
  • It's recommended to pay with a credit card when possible. Credit card companies will often cover some of your insurance, which makes using a credit card in this instance a smart option for many.
  • Different car rental companies have various policies on whether debit cards can be used. Our Customer Care team are happy to contact the supplier on your behalf.
  • Note also that some require a credit card and will not accept debit cards. Others will allow you to pay at the end of the rental with a debit card, but need a credit card in order to book a hire car. Some will allow you to use a debit card only if you're dropping the car off where you picked it up. Note also that some require a pre-authorization charge that puts some of your funds on hold until you drop off the car. Our Customer Care team are happy to contact the supplier on your behalf to check the specific depot for your rental. Deposit details are listed on the suppliers terms and conditions on this link.
4. Check the car carefully for pre-existing damage upon pick up. Be thorough here. Take at least two minutes to check both the exterior and interior of the car as well as the engine. You can also take photos or videos of any pre-existing damage using your smart phone, to have proof of the car's condition at the time of pick-up, in case the supplier believes you have damaged the vehicle. Damage must be identified upon pickup and checked at drop-off so that no misunderstandings happen.
  • Never accept any rental car with major damage or make sure you inform the supplier if there's slight damage so you can ensure that this is documented.
5. Drive away. Collect the keys and a copy of your contract and you are on your way.

Returning the Rental Car

1. Express return. There are "express return" boxes for early returns (usually from midnight to 6 am), as most depots are not manned 24hrs a day. There are security drop off return boxes built into the counters similar after hours return process. As soon as the staff arrive at work, close off your contract and send on a receipt.

a mans hand filling up a rental car with fuel

2. Fill the rental car with fuel before drop off at airport. Note that some rental car contracts allow you the option of returning the car without a full tank of fuel, but you will be charged extra. You can usually save $$$ by filling up just before you return the car.

3. Clean the car. Do not leave any rubbish or dirt. If the agency has to do more than a quick vacuum, you will be charged a cleaning fee. Check the car thoroughly, remove all of your belongings and make sure to lock the car before you leave.

4. Return the car back at the agreed upon date and time. Do not be late. Keep in mind that the time you collect the car is when your contract begins. After 24 hours, the second daily rate starts. Most suppliers allow a 29-minute grace period. So if the rental car is not back within the grace period, they charge around 1/3 to 1/2 of the daily rate per hour! Also, all insurances are charged at the full day rate, even if the vehicle is only 30 minutes past check out time.

5. Drop the keys in security box at the counter. Or hand over the keys and wait for your receipt. 

Check out our Rental Information page for some informative articles that you may find useful when you book a car hire with us. You may also get in touch with customer care team for other queries.

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