Home » Car relocation guide: where to find deals, popular routes, and what to expect

Car relocation guide: where to find deals, popular routes, and what to expect

by Victor Eekhof
Car relocations

What is your favorite type of rental car on a holiday? A classic sedan, a fully-stocked RV or a cheerfully-painted hippie camper? What if I told you that you can rent any of these vehicles for $1 a day? That’s right, 1 dollar a day car rental is not an urban myth! It’s called car relocation and in this guide, I will let you in on this inexpensive way to travel from city to city. Sometimes you can even make money by using this little-known travel hack! Car relocations can be found all over the world, and several of the big car rental companies have them hidden on their websites. First, let’s take a step back and tell you a bit more about how it works.

hippie camper rental car relocation

I drove this hippie camper from Sydney to Cairns on a rental car relocation deal

How does a car relocation work?

Imagine owning a car rental company. A lot of customers hire a car to go from one city to another, but as some routes are more popular than others and people can book one-way rentals, you may end up having too many cars in one depot and too little in the other. What will you do? Hire people to drive the car back? Yes, that’s one option, but quite an expensive one. This is where car relocations come in. The car rental company lets you drive the car to the branch that needs it most. The catch? You have a limited timeframe to take the car from point A to B. The perks? There are many, as you will read later in this article.

Where to find car relocation deals

There are several different websites out there that offer relocation deals. You can often find deals directly on the website of car rental companies, but there are also websites that will gather this information for you in an overview, often taking a (small) for booking through them in the process. I have put together a list of websites that you can visit if you are looking for car or campervan relocation options, split up between the various countries.

Wicked campers rental New Zealand

Not a car relocation, but a very cheap option in New Zealand: Wicked Campers

New Zealand car relocations

Offers car & campervan relocations in New Zealand. No booking fees.

Offers car & campervan relocation deals in New Zealand. Content refreshes daily

Quality rentals
Car relocations in Auckland, Wellington, Picton, Christchurch

Apex car rentals
Has relocations as well as cheap rentals. 4×4 and sedans in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown

Ace car rentals
Car rental relocations in Auckland, Picton, Christchurch, Queenstown, Greymouth, Dunedin

Budget car rentals
Occasionally list cars that need relocation

Vehicles for relocation in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown

Omega rental cars
Car relocation on several routes in NZ

Go rentals
4×4 SUV relocation in Auckland City, Auckland Airport, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown

Sometimes have cars for relocation, you can find offers for regular rentals here as well

Campervan relocation deals NZ

Hippie camper relocations in New Zealand

One-way campervan relocation in New Zealand

Offers car & campervan relocations in New Zealand. No booking fees

Offers car & campervan relocation deals in New Zealand. Content refreshes daily

Maui car rentals
Mail them with your location and they’ll match you with campervans they need to move in the next 2 or 3 weeks

Spaceships rentals
$1 per day campervan relocations from Christchurch to Auckland

Jucy rentals
Campervans for relocation for about $15 per day, sometimes including a free tank

Cheapa Campa
Campervan relocation from Christchurch to Auckland

Aggregates several rental car companies. Some rides are returns and others are discounted standard rentals

Campervan relocations aggregate

Campervan relocation from Christchurch to Auckland

Sometimes have motorhomes for relocation

You just register in their database and they’ll email you when they have a campervan to move

Car relocation Australia

I relocated this lovely sedan from Adelaide to Perth, which is one hell of a drive.

Car relocations Australia

Offers car relocation deals in Australia

Offers car relocation deals in Australia. Content refreshes daily

Cars and campervan deals in Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide

Car and van rental deals and relocations in Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney

Car relocations in SA, Queensland, NSW and Victoria

Apollo campervan relocations

Relocating a 4-berth campervan in Australia

Campervan relocations Australia

Hippie camper relocations in Australia

Offers campervan relocations in Australia

Offers last-minute campervan deals and second hand campervan sales in Australia

Cars and campervan deals in Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.

Car and van rental deals and relocations in Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney

Campervan relocations aggregate in Australia

Campervan relocations on several routes in Australia

Apollo campervan relocactions
Campervan relocations on several routes in Australia

Car relocations Europe

Offers car relocation deals in UK and Europe. Content refreshes daily

One-way rentals in the UK

Campervan relocation USA

Travel buddy Josh on our motorhome relocation trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Car relocation USA & Canada

Offers car and campervan relocation deals in USA and Canada. Content refreshes daily

Cars, Trucks, Motorhomes to and from Toronto and Southern Ontario

Car relocations between Canada and the USA

Campervan relocation USA & Canada

Hippie camper relocations in the USA

Offers campervan relocations in USA

TransferCarUS.com Canada
Relocation deals specifically for Canada

Offers car and campervan relocation deals in USA and Canada. Content refreshes daily

Cars, Trucks, Motorhomes to and from Toronto and Southern Ontario

Offers one-way RV rentals across the USA

South Africa car relocation

Car relocation in South Africa is a unique experience, you might even run into a herd of zebras!

Car relocation South Africa

With deals for 1 Rand (0,062 EUR) per day, this is the cheapest car rental I have seen anywhere. They offer car relocations between Durban, Johannesburg, Capetown, Windhoek and the South Coast

At the moment of writing (2016), you can find car relocation deals in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, United Kingdom and several other countries in Europe. In each country, there are a few popular routes where you will have the most chance of finding a relocation deal.


Australia has many car relocation routes between its major cities and points of interest, such as Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart (Tasmania, and it includes a ferry trip), Brisbane, Alice Springs, Cairns, Airlie Beach and Townsville.

New Zealand

Many people who rent a car in New Zealand drive from the north island to the south island, or the other way around. The route from Christchurch to Auckland is a very popular one, and you will surely be able to find a nice deal. These are the cities that regularly have car relocation deals: Christchurch, Blennheim, Nelson, Picton, Greymouth, Wellington (+ airport), Auckland, Queenstown and Invercargill.


In America the car relocations you can find will be mostly on the west coast, or on the west side of the country. Popular car relocation destinations: Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Orlando, San Diego, Forest City (Iowa), Seattle and Denver.


The car relocation system isn’t very developed yet in Canada, and at this point can mostly be found on the east side of the country, for instance in Halifax and Toronto.

South Africa

There are a few common routes here. The most popular one is between Johannesburg and Durban (both ways), but other options also include Cape Town, Windhoek, and the South Coast.

Best time for finding car relocation deals

Low season gives less vehicles to move around the country. But also extreme high season (late dec/ early jan) shows almost no cars on our site as the rental car companies don’t have any cars to move.

The practical side of getting a relocation deal (in Australia)

I looked on Imoova (formally known as Standbyrelocs) every morning. They have a good overview of the relocation deals of several car rental companies, and they update every morning at 10:00 am. You can see where and when the car needs to be picked up and dropped off; which vehicle you’ll get; how many days and kilometers are allowed and if there’s extra compensation.

You can call them, and they’ll tell you if a deal is still available. You will pay an AUD $25 holding fee, which is refunded when you drop off the car. Also, the rental company will charge your credit card a liability bond of AUD $500-2500. In my experience, the bond was generally around AUD $1000.

They put an authorization hold on your credit card for the bond amount, so no actual money is charged to your credit card. If you return the car and they’ve checked the car, the hold falls off the account. Have a good look at their terms and conditions section, especially the part on cancellation fees.

You pay them anywhere between $1-25 Australian dollars per day for the car. Sometimes you get fuel compensation, which could be worth AUD$100-500. Ferry expenses may also be covered (e.g., crossings at Adelaide, Melbourne, and Tasmania) or, if they really need to have a car over fast, you could receive AUD$100 extra!

Huge truck moving a house

Huge truck moving a house

Tales from the road(trips)

I drove roughly 13,000 kilometers around the country by myself and nothing bad happened. Sure I killed some lizards and parrots and had encounters with kangaroos, but that’s all part of the adventure. Even when a door handle of the 4×4 motorhome I was driving broke off, they told me to use a screwdriver and they refunded the repair costs (Apollo Rentals refunds all repairs under AUD $50).

I did run into a little problem with a fairly unknown rental company I used for the drive from Cairns back to Sydney airport (ironically, the last drive I made in Australia). I rented the car for AUD $10/day with some fuel compensation. Before taking off, the rental company rep checked the car and filled out the intake form. The rep noted some small damage on the car but didn’t note the huge scratch and dent on the back which I didn’t see until I made a stop for groceries. I immediately called the rental company to tell them they forgot to put this on the form.

“No worries, we’ll fix it,” I was told. When I got to Sydney, the girl at the counter checked the car and noted the dent and scratch, but told me my call wasn’t put in the system. I had to hurry because my plane would leave not long after I returned the car, so once again I got a “no worries.” A month or two later, I checked my credit card statements and found that the rental company charged me AUD $500 for the damage. I tried calling and emailing but to no avail. It was my word against theirs. This still hasn’t been resolved, and I got tired of trying to deal with it remotely. Even with the unexpected charge, it’s, of course, still cheaper than traveling by bus, car or plane.

A car wrecked by a boulder

A car wrecked by a boulder

The craziest drive by far was the one from Perth to Sydney. Four thousand kilometers in five days–now that’s a challenge. Imagine sleeping in the car, waking up at 5 am and driving until 9 pm and only stopping at McDonald’s for cappuccino and WiFi. Fatigue is definitely your worst enemy on the road. The last day, I was so determined to end up at my Couchsurfer’s place that I drove for 21 hours straight. Don’t try this though as I can tell you first-hand: it is dangerous as hell.

I’m sure you appreciate these little tidbits of street-smartness. Car relocation is a fun way to get around, and an interesting one for budget travelers. There are some risks that you have to take into account, but isn’t that all part of the trip?

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is it true that i will have to pay for driving on unpaved roads when signing up for a car hire in Adelaide ?


Thank you for your great story on relocations with imoova.com. Your readers are visiting our website!
We now operate in Canada and should have relocations in Europe again soon.


Hmmm….never thought of nor heard of doing this before. Now I’m seriously thinking of doing this!

Gokhan Degirmenci

As the world’s largest privately owned recreational vehicle operator, we sometimes need to shift vehicles to a specific destination to meet our rental needs.If you need to crunch numbers to work out the amount you are likely to spend on fuel for a journey.

It’s up to you if you decide to stay in campgrounds that are conveniently located all over this country, or you can try and keep the budget down and pull into rest stops or Wal-Mart parking areas.

Sheldon Nesdale

Interesting, I’m looking to travel in Australia so good to know.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

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