Founded in 2008, Auckland-based Transfercar is a matchmaker for drivers and rental car companies. Rental car companies list the vehicles they want to move on the website, and pay a small fee for each transfer. Since it’s expensive to move vehicles, it saves the company money while giving drivers access to free rental cars.
Some vehicles listed on Transfercar can be used for a few days, while others might be available for more than a week, and there are a variety of destinations. Check the listings to see whether the company will have room for flexibility, such as purchasing extra days to extend your trip, as well as whether you’ll need to pay for fuel, road tolls or ferry ride and whether it’s a manual or automatic transmission (unless stated otherwise, campervans and motorhomes will be manual and cars will be automatic).
Getting back home
Of course, the free rental car will only take you one way. How you get back home depends on your situation.
If you were planning on renting a car for the whole trip, renting a vehicle for the ride back means you should save plenty of cash on the trip as a whole. This is a convenient option because of the flexibility of a paid rental car, and you could drive a different way to get back home in order to take in some new scenery.
Another way to get home is to catch a flight. This is a great option for those who choose a trip that’s on the longer side or anyone who tends to be full of enthusiasm for the road trip to the destination, but dreads the drive back home.
If you’re flexible, you might also be able to swing a free ride both ways.
What are the risks?
There are always risks with renting a car. Just as if you damage a normal rental car, or drop it off later than expected, there will be a price to pay. On the other hand, if you’re okay with paying to rent a car, the risks aren’t much different – and you get the car for free. The main issue is you might not be able to find exactly what you're after, so if you have very specific ideas about when and where you want to travel, it might be good to look at paid rental cars or join forces with a friend who has a car.
Check your own insurance policy to see if it covers rental cars, and be clear on what you are and aren’t covered for before you request a vehicle. You should also read the listing thoroughly on the website, especially if you’re hoping for some flexibility such as being able to purchase a few extra days – some companies will allow this for certain vehicles, but not all.
Have you used this service before? Leave a comment and let us know how it went.