In developed countries, the cost of travelling can really add up, especially if your plans include hiring a vehicle in large countries such as Australia, United States or Canada. One option to beat the transportation costs is doing a rental car relocation. They are often advertised for $1 per day and sometimes if they need the car moved urgently the fuel costs are partially or fully paid for by the rental company.
Relocations are always one way because, for various reasons, car rental companies need their vehicles moved from one city to another. A common reason is that they have a customer who has made a booking in one place for a particular type of vehicle that is only located elsewhere. Instead of losing the business, they arrange to have the required vehicle relocated. This can be done by putting the car onto a truck or driven by a company employee but this can be expensive to the point of being unfeasible.
A much better option is for them to offer a very cheap or even free one-way rental. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement because the rental car company get their vehicle moved to where they need it and the driver gets a very economical trip. Everyone wins. I’ve done two relocations totalling 4,000km and I’d have no hesitation to personally recommend the idea.
There are a couple of things to be aware of though. The first is that, because the car is being moved for their business purposes, the rental company doesn’t want it taking a long time. So relocation rentals always have a time limit that allows for comfortable delivery of the vehicle but no more. This time depends on the distance to be travelled and you are generally expected to cover about 500km per day. Therefore most relocation deliveries are for two or three days and if you would like for more time then perhaps it’s not the best option.
The other consideration with rental car relocations is that you can’t make a booking in advance. They are entirely dependent on what needs to be moved at the time. So the whole arrangement usually happens rather quickly and often has an element of luck involved. Being flexible with your time helps but your good fortune also needs to extend to the type of car. You need something to match your requirements and if that’s not available within your travel schedule you’ll probably have to forgo the idea.
What does help though is there are a number of websites which are solely dedicated to rental car relocations. These sites act on behalf of different companies so you are immediately increasing your chances of finding what you want. So if you have flexibility with timing and want a very cheap way to travel, investigate whether the option is available. With a few friends or people gathered together from a hostel and the appropriate driver’s licence you may wonder why you didn’t think of the idea before!