How to Compare Car and Campervan Rental Companies in New Zealand

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What Makes a Car and Campervan Rental Company Better than Another?

Picking a car or campervan rental company for your road trip in New Zealand is a pretty big deal! This will determine both your spare budget for fun activities but also the outcome of your trip of a lifetime. That’s why we recommend that you compare car and campervan rental companies in New Zealand.

Comparing vehicle rental companies in New Zealand is more than just comparing the base price. With inclusions and exclusions, quality of vehicle and fuel efficiency, there is often more than meets the eye when it comes to car and campervan rental.

With a bit of comparison research, you can avoid the vehicles that are often prone to breaking down or find a rental company that has more suitable pick-up and drop-off locations for you.

Follow our tips below to start planning a stress-free road trip in beautiful New Zealand.

Should You Use a Comparative Website for Vehicle Rental Companies in New Zealand?

Comparative websites are a great tool to check average prices through a company. However, you can usually get a better deal by booking directly with a company. Comparative websites also focus on prices over other factors of comparison listed below and rarely include all the companies available. Be aware that when a comparative site boars 42,000 companies worldwide this might well mean that it only includes seven New Zealand-based companies over the 90+ that exists in the country.

We suggest using comparison sites such as Compare and Choose to get an idea of average prices in the country but do not stop there- do a bit more research using our tips below.

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Compare Locations

When booking a car or campervan rental for your road trip in New Zealand you are likely to already have a plan of where you want to start and where you want to finish. Following some of our 20 tips to save money on car and campervan rentals in New Zealand, you already know that keeping your options open presents many advantages. Nonetheless, you will still need to pick up a car where it is convenient for you. So first up, pick a company that serves the locations that you are looking for.

It would also be wise to book your rental from a company that has a couple of extra locations countrywide. Should something happen to your vehicle, you would still have to make your way to the nearest depot to pick up another one.

You can also compare locations with our following guides:

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Compare Prices and Inclusions

Price is likely to be the main factor in your decision making, however, remember that a deal too good to be true is probably well… too good to be true. The main thing to remember when comparing prices is to do so including all the extras that you are considering: administration/booking fee, insurance, one-way fee, extra driver, young driver premium, cleaning fee, etc. Some companies may include some of those costs into their upfront prices, some will simply add extra charges every step of the way resulting in a price much higher than expected.

It is also worth considering other extras such as airport pick up (NZ$40 saved on a taxi), free basic insurance (NZ$10-$20 saved per day of hire), a free extra driver (NZ$5 saved per day), free activities, free roadside assistance, etc. Those little costs add up and can result in big savings at the end of a trip.

For more information, check out How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car in New Zealand? and as a power tip, see the 20 Ways To Save Money on Car Rental in New Zealand.

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Compare the Vehicles Offered

Surprisingly enough, this is the main item on the list that travellers overlook. Blinded by their quest to find the best price, many people forget to look at the year and make of a vehicle. This will have a huge impact on the overall cost of your trip as gas prices are high in New Zealand and the difference could be up to 40% for a vehicle with a 5 to 7 years age difference.

We also recommend you to sit down and evaluate your needs when renting a car or campervan, as the smaller you go, the cheapest it will be, and the more fuel-efficient your vehicle will be. The two factors are the main cost of a road trip in New Zealand and are well worth been taken seriously.

[Update: Now available in New Zealand are electric vehicle rentals! Check out our NZ EV Guide for more information.]

We cannot stress enough that your choice of vehicle when renting a car or campervan in New Zealand is critical. Read Should You Rent a Campervan or Car in New Zealand? for more information on the subject.

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Compare Service

Service does not usually strike most people as important when looking for a bargain online. However, it would be a big mistake to overlook it. Should something happen to your car or campervan, you will want a solution to be found quickly and efficiently. More than money, your time matters, you are taking the trip of a lifetime and will probably not have the chance to come back all the way to New Zealand again. You’ve got to make every day count and cannot waste a couple of them waiting to solve car issues.

The best way to evaluate the effectiveness of a car or campervan rental team is to send them a bunch of questions by email prior to your booking. First, it will help you clear out a few details that you may need confirmation about. Second, it will help you evaluate their response, speed and thoroughness. This is a great way to know if their customer care really cares.

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Compare Reviews and Ratings

Every car and campervan company boast customer service awards and great customer satisfaction on their website. Honestly, most of them are actually great. But it would pay off to double-check real users’ ratings and reviews online. A Simple online search of a company name should pop up a few ratings and review websites with insights from verified customers.

When doing so, take too good reviews and too bad reviews with a grain of salt, it is important to focus on reading reviews that appear genuine to get a real picture of a company.

Another great way to check up on a company is to ask on a New Zealand travel Facebook group for feedback from people that have used such-and-such a company before. It’s a great way to start a discussion with people that have been in your shoes.


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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