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Rental car rort: Hire car costs skyrocket 151% over the Easter long weekend

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Holidaymakers planning an Easter getaway could be in for a nasty surprise, according to new research by Finder.

Finder analysis found the cost of a rental car over Easter in 2023 has drastically increased over the last 12 months.

Travellers who planned their Easter long weekend last April – 12 months in advance – were looking at an average cost of $215 over the 4-day period for a rental car in Australia.

This has gone up by a whopping $324 on average since then – a 151% increase in price. Those hoping to snap up a last-minute domestic trip are looking at forking out an average of $539 for the long weekend.

Angus Kidman, travel expert at Finder, says hire cars are no exception to the trend for rising prices.

"The cost of hiring a car is typically much more expensive during peak holiday periods, such as the Easter long weekend.

"Car rental companies charge higher rates because they can get away with it during periods of peak demand."

Holidaymakers with plans of going to Perth will cough up the most ($769). A trip to Adelaide will only set travellers seeking a hire car back $365.

Jetsetters with plans to head north-east of Australia will splash $463 for a hire car in the Gold Coast and $534 in Brisbane.

Kidman said despite the price hike, there are still ways to snap up a good deal.

"Remember, renting from the airport counter usually costs more, because the car rental company is paying a hefty rent for that prime location.

"Opting for a peer-to-peer rental through companies such as Uber Carshare can save you money. While not available in all locations, they're a useful option because you are paying a local person to borrow their car.

"Some companies, including and DriveNow, feature price match or best price guarantees. If you find a comparable deal, call them up to match or even better the price."

Finder research revealed 13% will travel for the long weekend and plan to spend an average of $471 – that's $1.3 billion toward Easter trips.

Kidman said where possible, say no to the extras.

"Extras like a GPS and booster seat come at an added cost. Use your phone instead of hiring a GPS and bring your own booster seat if space allows.

"Buy your own car rental excess insurance online before you pick up the car. If there's any damage to your rental vehicle and you don't have car rental excess insurance, you could be stuck with big expenses.

"Don't pay too much for your rental. Finder's car hire comparison tool searches over 900 companies across 53,000 locations worldwide for the best-priced car rental for your dates and destination," Kidman said.

Price of a rental car over Easter 2023
AirportApril 2022November 2022March 2023% difference
Gold Coast$215332$463115%
Source: Finder analysis of Data samples collected in April 2022, November 2022 and March 2023. The lowest price for a vehicle available for drivers aged 30–55 over a period of 4 days during Easter.

Looking to hire a car over the Easter long weekend? Finder's car hire comparison tool searches over 900 companies across 53,000 locations worldwide.

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