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Get Out Of My Dreams, Get Into My Rented (Tabirai) Car

When we think of adventure, our minds conjure up images of riding rickety chicken buses and dusty-dodgy o’l trains and beat-up motorcycles — not at all an image of cruising in a rented car. Nonetheless, trips via hired vehicles can be quite the adventure too. And in some occasions, the best (and the cheapest) way to fully explore a destination. This option gives us the freedom to choose wherever we wanna go, whenever we wanna go, and whoever we wanna be with. Our tiny tribe of three has hired cars in several countries and they all served as, literally, our vehicles towards reaching our dreams.

Here are my five fave rented-car adventures:

1. United States of America. Because we couldn’t decide between the East Rim and the West Rim, we drove to both — each on different days. The drive to/along/from the Grand Canyon late in the arvo, when the light’s more subdued, was nothing short of amazing (also worth the mention, the drive along nearby historic Route 66).

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2. Turkey. Red Tour, Green Tour, Blue Tour? None of the above, for we chose to pluck bits and pieces from each and constructed our own. Navigated our way around Capadoccia without them fancy navigation tools, just proper maps and good ol’-fashioned ask-when-you’re-lost trick.

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3. United Kingdom. A longish drive from Brighton to Wiltshire, captained by a local bloke (who then had never been to Stonehenge). There were heaps of fussin’ and fightin’ within our motley crew of four — having different personalities and interests — but we all got there happy.

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4. Curaçao. Like any other Lesser Antilles island country, is known as a cruise destination. Which means most of its tourists are shuttled here and there. There is practically no public transport service to a lot of its sights. Our rented car took us to its gorgeous coves and to Shete Boka (bays/inslets) National Park. Look how tiny our car appears against that water explosion!

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5. Australia. Birthday. The Great Ocean Road. Reckon that’s enough said.

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Aaand our next rented-car adventure will be in a few months’ time. Finally ticking Japan, our last East Asia country (well, technically have not visited North Korea, but stepped foot on it), off the bucketlist! Japan’s public transport is considered exceptionally efficient, however, not the cheapest. So we have decided to hire a car to split costs, and ultimately, to please everyone in the group – too many ideas going on as to which places to visit.

We are booking via Tabirai Japan Car Rental, a car rental rate aggregator and booking site. It aims to help customers search for the most suitable vehicles at the best prices from major Japanese car rental companies in prefectures nationwide.

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The layout of the website is easily navigable. Pretty straightforward. First things first, if you are not accustomed to renting cars in Japan or renting cars in general, Tabirai has a very useful Beginners’ Guide/Infographic which you should browse before booking anything.

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Beginners’ Guide.

To book a car, simply fill in: the departure and return dates, pick-up and drop-off points, vehicle type (mini, compact, large, wagon, hybrid) and you can even indicate if you prefer smoking or non-smoking. Hit “search” and a list of available cars from rental companies will be loaded. What’s included in the published rate: English GPS, CDW (Collision Damage Waiver), ETC Equipment, and Consumption Tax. The cost of ETC card rental is 300+yen/per rental. What’s not included: NOC compensation insurance fee (optional), ETC card rental fee, petrol, and toll fees. There’s a charge for child seats too.

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Once you’ve selected a car, you can proceed to finalise the booking. No credit/debit cards needed to book! Just your name, email address and mobile number. Payment is made on the day of the rental and only cards are accepted (don’t forget your international driver’s license). Cancellations can be made through the website as well or simply send a message to the car rental company.

Pretty easy breezy, I’d say.

Can’t wait to see cherry blossoms! Or well, Disneyland. Because Luna.

Gay Emami
When not backpacking, she teaches her daughter sight words and belly dancing (even if she's not good at it). She's currently eating her way around some hippie town in Australia. She loves talking about herself in the third person.

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