Q: How do I plan a road trip if I don’t own a car?
A: No wheels? No problem! People who don’t own their car still have options for exploring NSW on a road trip, from hiring a car to vehicle relocations. This does add some extra elements to planning, but here are some tips to smooth over the process:
Advantages to car hire: Some car owners prefer to rent a vehicle for a long trip rather than take their own car. “Some travellers do not necessarily want to clock up the kilometres on their own vehicles, so it is a good option to treat yourself to a nicer car,” says Ashleigh Robinson from DriveAway, a self-drive specialist that provides competitive deals on car hire around the world. “With unlimited kilometres included in the price, you can drive for as long as you want; plus you may need additional room for luggage. And if the car gets dirty, you don’t need to clean it!”
Basic requirements: The only prerequisites for car hire in NSW are a valid full driver’s license and a credit card. Surcharges for drivers aged between 21-25 may apply. There is no requirement for a special license for motorhomes in Australia.
Check for special deals: “Our recommendation is to look out for last-minute deals and pre-book, which saves time once you have arrived at the destination,” says Robinson. “Motorhome deals are constantly changing with new extras, including discounts and additional items such as linen, kitchen and bedding kits, so look out for these.”
Take out insurance: “Our recommendation is to always be safe and purchase additional insurance for your excess,” says Robinson. “We have our own DriveAway Excess Refund Protection that can be purchased at the time of booking, which is cheaper than purchasing directly with the suppliers. This will cover excess of up to AU$5,000.” Note that additional insurances are required for windscreen and tyre damage.
Limitations: Rental cars are not permitted to be taken off-road, on sand dunes or on beaches – doing so will waive insurances. Most hire companies only allow 4WD vehicles to be taken on unsealed roads, unless accessing national or state parks or your holiday accommodation.
Other options: Some rental companies require cars or campervans to be relocated between branches, and offer special deals fordrivers willing to undertake the transfer. These can be for as little as $1 a day – but insurances do apply, which raises the cost. Check out www.transfercar.com.au.