The Airport Rentals guide to off-site car pick-up

Off-airport car hire, what do you want?  

At we operate across more than 2000 airport locations, giving us a unique insight into delivering the right vehicle when you land. But there are many factors to consider when making your choice. So… what are the most important elements when booking on or off the airport?
  • Cost: Are you working to a specific budget and seeking the cheapest deal?
  • Convenience: Are there a few people in your party, including young ones? Perhaps speed of pick-up and departure is the highest priority.
  • Brand: Is there a specific car rental company you trust and always book with? If they’re not available, you need to come up with a Plan B.
  • Flexibility: Remember that certain day rates can be cheaper than others. Business people tend to travel on Mondays and Fridays, so prices can be inflated. If you can book midweek, an off-airport deal may be too good to refuse. However, if you're travelling to a more weekend-friendly region (i.e Queenstown), the opposite applies.
  • Economy: Off-airport sites often have an impressive selection of economy cars available. While the smaller-car option may not be your first choice, these vehicles are often reliable and cost-effective, so don’t dismiss the idea.

Compare top rental brands, save money

In the uniquely competitive car rental sector, airport hire is a billion-dollar business. From larger airports in major destinations such as Sydney, London and Singapore, to smaller, regional terminals scattered around the globe, hundreds of brands are competing for your dollar. It’s not just the big names like Hertz and Budget – there are local companies with off-site booking opportunities. This basically means you have to travel (generally via a shuttle service) to pick-up your car rental. On average, this will take around 5-15 minutes, although it sometimes varies.
The main advantage to this process is you can often find cheaper deals online. Airport Rentals even has a filtering option, where you can choose a car rental pick-up from the airport itself, or opt for a shuttle to the relevant depot. Experienced travellers will know that you can save quite a bit of cash if you’re prepared to be flexible and take one more short journey. Sometimes the office is even on the way to the town centre, so you’re effectively going in the right direction anyway.

What suits you? Consider all car rental angles

Well-established car rental brands have offices and depots on-site at airports. However, they are subject to various taxes which can make deals a wee bit more expensive – this is just a fact of life. But if you’re travelling with children and have flown a fair distance, would you rather just collect your keys at the airport and hit the road? Your flight may have been delayed and you are already well behind schedule, leading to extreme stress levels. Perhaps this is a convenience worth paying some extra cash for. A terminal office can be clearly marked, with a friendly face behind the counter. That immediate human interaction and reassurance is often a godsend. Also remember that on-site rental depots are handy for shorter bookings or if you are time poor. If it's just one or two days of rental, your cash save may not be particularly significant with an off-airport booking. 

The Checklist

Here are some key things to remember about on- or off-site airport rentals:
  • Make sure you have printed out the contact information for the shuttle depot – phone number, email, address, etc.
  • If you do book off-airport, make sure your phone is charged and has credit when you disembark from the plane, as you’ll probably have to make a call for the shuttle service. But what about international roaming – will you even be make a phone call and there are limited payphones at modern airports.
  • Many off-site depots will have spacious waiting areas and tea and coffee facilities. If you want to get away from the airport, a quick phone call and 10-minute wait may be worth it.
  • Larger rental companies offer loyalty programmes, so check them out. If you’re taking to the skies a few times a year, these bonus schemes may influence your decision.
No matter which way you decide to travel, let Airport Rentals guide you and get your trip off to the perfect start.

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