How Well Do Car Rental Relocation Deals Work?

If you're trying to score a cheap car or campervan rental, then a relocation deal — where you shift a vehicle that has been left in one city back to its origin in return for a cheaper rate — seems like a good possibility. But how well do they actually work in practice?

Picture by Curtis Foreman

A recent listing on OzBargain highlights the savings possibilities:

I just booked a One Way Car Rentals 12 Seater van from Melbourne to Sydney for $1 p/day plus a $25.00 Booking fee, they have none left ex- Melbourne, but heaps from other cities ie: Brisbane. They ask for a $25.00 Booking fee and a $1000.00 Bond, still makes a good deal.

While the discounts could be large, there's clearly a need for flexibility and it might be risky to assume you'll get that sort of saving. But how frequent are these kinds of bargains? If you've regularly taken advantage of them — or if you've been caught out by a super-picky bond inspection or other issue — we'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments.


Comments

    I had a sleeper van 'booked' via a one-way relocation special just under 12mths ago. Booked flights to Brisbane to bring it back to Melb over 8 days. Got a voicemail less than 18hrs prior to pickup that they no longer need the van relocated, thanks anyway.

    That was it. No other options available. The 'booking' was always probable at best. No other alternative rental (unless I wanted to pay full price). Because it was under 24hrs till my flights, I lost a heap of money cancelling them.

    Be very, very wary of these relocation deals. I have since heard that cancellations of your 'booking' at the last minute are a regular occurrence. In fact, a cynic might even think they are used mainly for promotional purposes as well as seeing how many they can snare into paying full price because they have already paid for non-refundable flights etc.

      It would have been cancelled for sincere reasons like needing the vehicle for a customer who broke down or one not coming back from the repairer in time.

    @Jason. Care to share which company this was with?

    Our uses of the system have been beneficial.

    Christmas, caught a Murrays bus to Sydney, took a small camper to Melbourne, swapped over to a bigger one (brand new) & took it to Hobart, flew home from there.

    Christmas following year, flew to Adelaide for a wedding, then on to Alice Springs, drove a large camper to Darwin. Return trip was cancelled, so we took the next best, which was a 4WD to Cairns & flew home from there. Great way to see the country.

    We use the standbyrelocations.com website.

    I've used a camper relocation on four separate occasions over the last 3 years and on the most part have found it a positive experience.

    I did have one where they wanted me to leave the van unlocked with the keys in at the drop of as nobody could be bothered to come and sign it in. This resulted in me hanging onto it for an extra day to make sure it was safe and they ended up charging my card without authorization. I will say though, that this was the actual rental company, not the agent. We informed the agency of what happened and they were very apologetic and attempted to resolve the situation.

    That aside, mymother rentals

      You need to check the contract and bring the vehicle back on time, like 3pm. You would have wanted to bring it later after they were closed.

    iPad fail!

    My other rentals were fantastic value for money. I had to relocate from Sydney to Melbourne, and managed to bag a van to cart all my stuff down. Saved me a fortune!

    There are deals to be had, and would definitely use them again, for holidays or otherwise.

      Hey Chris.. long shot, but I'm writing a news article on camper relocations and would love to include your story about getting a van to cart your stuff.. if you get this message, perhaps shoot me an email [email protected]

      cheers
      Tom

    Relocation deals are awesome! You have to be quick though, they get snapped up real fast.

    When I fist backpacked Australia I was lucky enough get a one way campervan rental from cairns to Brisbane - it saved me over $1200! It just meant I had to get there in under 8 days - which was fine.

    If you want to find one way campervan rentals for cheap check either http://www.rentacampervan.com.au or http://www.gumtree.com.au

    You can get good relocation deals by calling 1800 relocs or one of the other relocation companies. Call in the mornings as that's when all the relocs become available. And have $1000 ready on your credit card for the bond. And take the full insurance. And hold into your petrol receipts. And be nice a friendly. And book extension days - you get a discount.

    We got a relocation camper through relocations2go.com to go from Sydney to Cairns, and we got back about $400 in fuel for the trip too. It costed us $5/day for the first few days and they offered extensions at $75/day, which we took one. You have to have $1000 on your credit card for the bond or you won't get the vehicle. We saw other relocation customer at the branch from another online standby relocations company who didn't know about the bond and couldn't take their vehicle. Take the full insurance - it's worth it cos otherwise if you have a small accident you could lose your bond. We did a couple of driving days then a couple of rest days. Alternating drivers means you have more than enough time to get there and enjoy yourself too. Make sure you have a full driver's license and if it's not in English you're going to have to get an international permit. They will check this at the branch.

    We recently relocated an Apollo campervan from Brisbane to Cairns and would never do it again. Apollo is not a company I would recommend. We paid $5 and had no other savings on fuel etc. However we were really surprised (not pleasantly) when they actually took the $1000 deposit out of our credit card (instead of having reservation against the card) and then charged us a 2% credit card fee. $20 gone for nothing) The admin fee was $75. We paid $ 7.50 for bedding which was not bad but I had expected that to be included. While driving we got a tiny windscreen crack and that costs us another $ 95 when we returned the car. We had not been told that for $ 7.50 a day insurance that could have been covered). We returned the car on the 10th of September and only today (22nd of September) received back the remaining $ 905 of our bond. It was an experience but we will fly next time and have less hassle and probably (after taking into account money spent on petrol and food etc.) spend less money. We are still waiting for a receipt of the $95 for the windscreen crack, which we can claim from RACQ.

      Geertje,
      Why the drama? You got a vehicle $5/day. It cost you an extra $75 + $7.50 for bedding, $82.50. OK there was a miserable $20 CC fee which I would have disputed as you can only be charged any actual fee, so a total of $102.50 + your windscreen which you say you will be refunded. Under $200. How long did you rent? Say 6 days at $5/day = $30. You have outlayed $230 for an unforgettable holiday which you will no doubt brag about to your mates in Netherlands for years to come. Tell e you don't have the photos on your mantle right now?
      So around $38/day you have had accommodation and transport. Stop whinging princess.

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