News How to find the perfect car rental type for your road trip

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How to find the perfect car rental type for your road trip

When you’re on holiday, renting a car is a great way to give yourself the independence to really get to know the destination. A car is so much more than a means to get from A to B, it gives you the freedom to explore the city and the surrounding area at your leisure.

While public transport and organised tours are a great way to see the main points of a city, having your own car lets you discover little extras along the way.

If you’re not sure what type of car to rent, we’ve come up with a few pointers to set you on your way.

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What type of rental car suits your travel needs?

Consider what type of travel you’re embarking on and what your rental car priorities are. Do you want comfort? Style? Space? Economy? Different journeys call for different cars.

  • The road trip: a long road trip requires comfort, reliability and a decent GPS. A fullsize car with plenty of luggage space is a must.
  • City driving: the likelihood of stop-start traffic when driving in a city makes manual transmission a good option; a mini or compact vehicle makes for easier parking.
  • Family driving: a spacious family vehicle is the obvious choice, with people movers and SUVs popular options for families. Baby/infant seats are offered by most rental companies for an added fee.
  • Adventurous driving: if you’re taking on difficult terrain or steep and winding roads, manual transmission and four-wheel drives should be considered.
  • The YOLO trip: sometimes you’ve just got to treat yourself to that convertible or luxury car.

What can you rent if you’re a young driver?

For all major car rental companies in Australia, the minimum rental age for drivers is 21 and extra charges and restrictions apply to drivers under the age of 25.

Young drivers can be restricted on the types of vehicles they can hire, with premium and powerful cars often off-limits. However, there are still plenty of options across different vehicle classes for young drivers to rent including mini, compact and fullsize vehicles.

Things to look out for when choosing your rental car

The wide range of factors to consider when renting a car can make it seem daunting, but its simply a matter of searching and filtering results with Skyscanner. You can control your search using the following parameters:

Number of passengers

If there’s more than two of you, a convertible may not be the best option. Large groups or families may want a passenger van or SUV rather than forking out for two vehicles.

Car class

Mini, economy, compact, intermediate, fullsize and premium – see more details in the table below.

Car type

Car types can be filtered by number of doors, SUV, estate, van, convertible etc.

Pick up options

Where do you want to collect the car? Picking up your car at the airport can save time, but this can also limit your choices. Meet-and-greet services and free shuttle buses can widen your scope.


Choose the bonuses (or must-haves) you want, such as air conditioning, free cancellation, unlimited mileage, free breakdown assistance, free additional driver, GPS and four-wheel drive.

Fuel policy

There are two main options: full to full (your car’s tank is full when you pick it up and must be returned full to avoid a fee) and same to same (you simply refill the tank to the level it was when you picked it up).


The simple choice of manual or automatic. While automatic are just as common in Australia, other countries like the UK strongly favour manual cars.

Star rating

Pick between three, four or five star rated vehicles, which often links closely to your budget.

Booking website

You can filter results by your preferred websites if you have some that you prefer over others.

Drop off point

When searching for rental cars in some cities, you can elect to return your car to a different drop off location to your collection point. That may be from one airport to another or you may want to pick up your rental car in the city and then return it to the airport.

Different rental car classes

Class Description Best suited to
Mini 2-5 doors, room for two adults and two children, space for two small suitcases.
Usually hatchbacks.
Singles, couples, city driving.
Economy2-5 doors, room for two adults and two children, space for one large and one small suitcase Couples, small families, short drives and city driving.
Compact2-5 doors, comfortable for four adults for short trips, two adults for longer trips. Couples, small families, short drives, city driving.
Intermediate 5 doors and 5 seats, comfortably seats four adults, suitable for longer trips. Bigger than a compact car but not quite fullsize. Medium and longer drives.
Fullsize 5 doors and seats, seats four adults or two adults and three children, fits three large suitcases. Medium and long drives, comfortable driving.
Premium The number of doors and seats and luggage space varies. Premium cars include convertibles and luxury cars Travelling in style and comfort.

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