This is not an affiliate post, and we are not being paid in any way to promote the provider of this amazing deal (unless they are reading this right now, then by all means feel free to thank us generously!). This is just a really good deal that we thought was too good not to share with our readers. We really did rent a brand new car in Ireland for 28 days for only €240, read on if you would like to know how…
Tip number 1: Wait until you get to Ireland to book the car.
When we were looking online for car rental deals whilst we were still at home in Australia the prices that we were being quoted were in Australian dollars and much, much higher. Why is that? Cookies dear friends, cookies. Websites know what country you are in and price accordingly, back home we call it the “Australia Tax” everything just seems to be more expensive when we are searching from Australia. Do you really need a car to drive from the airport? Probably not, after 30+ hours of transit do yourself a favour and get a cab to take you to your hotel, then jump online and book a hire car for the next day. But don’t forget to clear the cookies from your browser and change your search engine to a local one, use google.ie NOT google.com.au!
Tip number 2: Use rentalcars.com to search for a great deal
In the beginning I was searching all the big names in car hire and coming up with some very nasty prices. Then I stumbled across rentalcars.com* and I got a huge surprise! The deals were so good, that I actually thought that there must have been some kind of catch, but nope, we really did pay €240 for 28 days. Rentalcars.com searches through all the big companies, and a few smaller ones as well, in hundreds of locations all over the world. Their prices will even beat the rental company that they refer you to. Don’t believe me? Check for yourself. In our case there was hundreds of Euros difference!
Tip number 3: Leave it to just before you need the car to book.
I booked our car just two days before we collected it and it was €20 cheaper for a larger car than I am currently seeing for smaller cars for next month. I’m going to keep an eye on the prices, because I think that booking at the last minute might have made a difference. In Ireland you can only book a car for 28 days at a time. For such a great rental price, we are currently doing the maths to see if it is worth it to buy a car for our 3-6 month stay or just keep renting every 28 days. Sure if we buy, we’ll have a car to sell at the end (which could be a hassle) but we will also have to pay for registration tax, insurance, tyres and repairs during the time that we own the car. Because our insurance history will not be taken into consideration it can be really expensive for Australians to insure a car here.
Tip number 4: Use your travel insurance to cover the excess insurance.
At the time of booking the car, and again when we collected it, we were asked if we wanted to purchase the additional excess insurance which would have more than doubled the price of the 28 day rental. We already have rental car excess insurance up to the value of AU$3000 with our policy from World Nomads so why pay for it twice? If you decide to waiver the additional excess insurance, the hire company will put a €1300 hold on your credit card though, as it is up to you to pay an excess and then retrieve it from your travel insurer if the car is damaged. The €1300 will be released when the car is returned safe and sound.
Tip number 5: Avoid school breaks and holidays.
OK so this one is a bit harder to do if you are travelling with kids, but we have noticed that prices jump a lot over Christmas for our next months rental inquiries. Having said that, the prices on rentalcars.com is still a lot less than searches on other car rental sites even over Christmas. Given that the house we are moving into this week is right in the centre of town, and walking distance to everything, at the moment we are considering just not having a car for the two week school Christmas break if the prices don’t drop just before we are ready to hire again. We will be keeping an eye on it anyway.
Tip number 6: Look for hidden costs.
I’ve already mentioned the additional cost of excess insurance, other costs that you may not be aware of include, returning the car to a different location, choosing an automatic transmition (I know tough for Aussies and Americans) and paying for a second driver. In our case Simon is doing the driving. It would have cost an additional €49 for me to be listed as a driver, and since the car is a manual transmition (haven’t done that in 20 years!) and the roads here in Ireland are sooooo narrow, I am happy to sit this one out to save a few bucks, (yup, it was a tough decision 😉 ).
If we decide to rent again next month, we know that we might not be as lucky as we were with our current car. This one is brand new, this year’s model, lovely to drive (Simon says) and only 22,000km on the odometer. But hey, at least with a rental, if the car is a piece of junk you can call and have it replaced / fixed at no cost! So, now we just have to decide whether to keep renting, or buy a car of our own, what would you do? We’d love to know if anyone has discovered any other rental car secrets during their travels 🙂
*Since the time of writing this post, we have also secured excellent car hire deals on SkyScanner.