Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by Kristin


Heading to the Land Down Under? Having your own vehicle is a great way to discover the famous Aussie beach towns or embark on one of Australia’s great road trips such as the Great Ocean Road or Red Centre Way.

Ready to hit the open road? Here are some tips to know before you go.

Essential Tips for Renting a Car in Australia

Book a car before you go. Waiting to book your reservation until you’re in Australia will almost guarantee that you will pay more than you need to. Most major car rental companies allow free cancellations, so go ahead and book your trip from the U.S. ahead of time. The further ahead you reserve your car, the better the chance of landing a deal because you can watch out for price drops.

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You’ll drive on the left.

As a former British colony, Australia is a country where people drive on the left. This should not deter you from renting a car there, but it’s important to stay off the road until you’ve recovered from jet lag. Consider starting your car rental a day or two after your arrival.

You do not need an International Driving Permit.

Obtaining an International Driving Permit is not necessary in this country where everyone speaks English. After all, the purpose of an IDP is to translate your license into multiple languages and must be obtained before you leave the United States.

Pay for the rental in Australian dollars.

You may have the option to pay for the rental in U.S. dollars, but this option will cost you more in the long run. Pay in the local currency to avoid Dynamic Currency Conversion fees. If you opt to pay in U.S. dollars, the rental car company converts the purchase amount from the local currency on your behalf. But this process is entirely unnecessary, since your credit card company will process the transaction in either currency, and you will pay through the nose for the non-convenience.

Rental cars include third-party insurance.

Understanding insurance requirements when renting a car outside the U.S. is crucial.Australian rentals include third-party insurance with the collision insurance factored into the price. You can also reduce your liability for the damage or loss of a vehicle by opting to pay an extra fee. If you plan to drive on unpaved roads or in remote areas, check with the rental car company to ensure those activities are covered.

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Inspect the car carefully before you drive away.

While it’s tempting to pick up your vehicle and get on your way, make sure to inspect the car extra carefully for any dings, dents or scratches on the surface. Take photos of every inch of the car. Otherwise, you could end up paying for those imperfections if you don’t document them before you leave.