7 Things to Take Note of When Planning a Self-Drive Trip in Melbourne8 June, 2017
One of the best ways to get around like a local in Melbourne and its surrounding attractions e.g. Great Ocean Road, Dandenong Ranges, Philip Island, is to drive around by yourself. That may seem pretty straightforward. After all, you just have to walk up to a car rental service and arrange for a car hire right? Well, that may seem ideal but if you want to have a cost effective and convenient trip, there are 7 things you will want to take not of when planning a cost-effective self-drive trip in Melbourne.
1. Check out Special Offers and Discounts at Hertz before you book
Many people make the mistake of booking the first deal they see without first going to the car hire service’s website to see what offers and discounts are available. Avoid this mistake by hitting up Hertz’s Special Offers page before you pull out your credit card. You will most likely be surprised at the range of available offers that could save you money that you should be spending on your holiday e.g. for our trip to Melbourne, there was a 10% off promotion for Hertz car rentals in Australia!
2. Enjoy the benefits of Hertz Gold Plus Rewards – Expedited Pick-up and Drop-off of your Rental Vehicle
If convenience is important to you, then sign up with the Hertz Gold Plus Reward programme. Not only will you skip the counter queue and get your car faster than everyone else but you will enjoy a host of other benefits such as pre-booking your child seat if you are travelling with family as well as sorting out your arrangements for your Neverlost GPS beforehand.
If you are new to Melbourne airport, you may get lost trying to find your way to the rental car collection counter. First of all, if you have already pre-booked your Hertz rental car, ignore all the rental car booths (including Hertz) at the airport. The counters are only for you to reserve a vehicle and not for collection. Get out of the airport and look across the road towards the multi-storey carpark, you will see the logos of Hertz and other rental vehicle brands there. This is where you collect your vehicle if you are not a Hertz Gold Plus Reward programme member. Be prepared for long queues at this counter.
If you are a Hertz Gold Plus Reward member, walk straight into the carpark towards the Hertz booth and they will help you with expedited pick-up of your rental vehicle.
One thing to note about your Neverlost GPS is that it will appear not to work once you started it up while you are getting ready to leave the carpark for your Melbourne adventure. In fact, it will also not work very well even after you leave the carpark. You will need to drive further out – I suggest driving out to the nearby MacDonalds and wait for the Neverlost GPS to start functioning normally i.e. detect its current location and allowing you to map out a route to your destination. When there are too many concrete buildings in the area or your vehicle is under shade, the GPS tend to not very well. Also ensure it is plugged in to the power outlet in the vehicle as it will usually auto shutdown or sleep when not plugged in.
3. Print out your Australia Hertz Value Vouchers to enjoy discounts off attractions and tours
Not only does Hertz offer you the best deals on car rentals but you can also save a ton of money by taking advantage of their value vouchers. Head to their website to see what discounts are on offer for local attractions and tours as you may be surprised at what’s available. For instance, Hertz offers 20% off the admission price for Werribee Open Range Zoo where you can enjoy an African adventure in a natural surrounding just 30 minutes outside the city.
Do print out the relevant pages of the booklet and bring it along with you to the attractions where the Hertz Value Voucher discount is applicable. You will have to show your Hertz key with the relevant voucher. The best part of the deal is that the discounts are applicable to the occupants of your Hertz vehicle!
4. Get a Hertz Toll Day Pass if you are going to be driving on Melbourne toll roads
One of the most annoying issues you will face when driving in Melbourne is trying to figure out all the toll roads in Melbourne and how to pay for the tolls. Unless you are a local, toll roads can be confusing to pay. To make matters worse, there are no toll booths to answer your questions so there’s no way to know how much you are being charged. Key roads such as Tullamarine Freeway between West Gate Freeway and Bell Street or heading in from the Airport to the City attract tolls which confuse a lot of visitors. To save all that time and effort, it’s much easier to just get a Hertz Toll Day Pass which charges you a fixed fee per day.
5. Parking in Melbourne City – What to Expect
Parking in Melbourne is expensive. Private car parks charge up to $12 an hour and street parking can be anywhere from $8 to $15 an hour. To make things worse, the City of Melbourne imposes strict rules on how long you can park on the street. You don’t want to violate any rules as there are ground sensors on all street parking and breaking the rules can attract heavy fines. Here are a few things you can do to avoid paying hefty parking in Melbourne:
- For long term parking, say parking greater than 2 hours, consider private carparks.
- Look into parking promotions at shopping malls like Westfield Doncaster or Melbourne Central
- Park just outside the Melbourne CBD and walk into the city and travel using the city free tram in the Free Tram Zone!
6. Drive with a peace of mind with Loss Damage Waiver
The last thing you want on holidays is to ruin your experience by getting into an accident with your rental car. To relieve your stress, Hertz offers a Loss Damage Waiver as part of their car rental package which relieves you from all financial responsibility in the event of a loss or damage to the car. Another benefit of getting an LDW is that it eliminates the stress over filing claims on your own. Travel insurance usually covers a few hundred dollars of vehicle damage only. Get a LDW for a peace of mind.
7. Drop off any passengers before returning your car at the airport
Before dropping off your car rental with Hertz at the airport, you are best off dropping off your travel companions at the departure section at Terminal 2 as the car rental return area is across the road. This way you will avoid the pain of having to drag all your luggage from the ground floor up to the upper level and then crossing over to the airport. So when you are driving towards the airport, head to Departures drop-off and then drive one round back to where you started and follow the sign to Car Rentals.