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Relocation Deals in Australia

Relocation deals

When you're travelling long distances, the expenses can really add up. This is particularly true in Australia where hefty one-way fees can prevent some travellers from crossing the country. However, relocation deals have made crossing the Nullarbor Plain or driving through the Red Centre possible.

What are relocation deals?

Relocation car rentals are a great way to save money and still enjoy a memorable road trip. In some cases, costs can be as low as $1 to travel from one location to another. With just the cost of petrol to worry about, it is easy to see why relocation deals are so popular. These deals are possible because certain vehicles may be required in another location, and therefore travellers are encouraged to drive that particular route. Relocation deals are a way for car rental companies to cut down their costs, and at the same time, the customer benefits from dramatically reduced rates!

There are a few things to be aware of when you are booking a one-way relocation deal. These include:

  • Time constraints will generally apply to relocation deals, as the vehicle may be required by a certain time. Often, relocation rentals have a maximum rental time of three days.
  • Note that the relocation price you are paying does not include insurance or fuel, so these costs will still need to be factored in.
  • Sometimes deals will be available just a few days before departure, so travellers will need to be quite flexible in their travel arrangements.

Victor from Victor's Travels shares his tips on relocation deals

victor eekhof on the road

As an avid budget traveller, I’m always looking for ways to travel cheaper. On my three-month trip through Australia, I had heard about relocating rental cars from a fellow traveller, who has just used this method of transport and was very excited to share his tips. It turned out to be the perfect way for me to travel through Australia; I would save money, see loads more of the country and spare the environment a bit compared to flying.

After car-sharing from Sydney to Melbourne and simply hiring a car to get from Melbourne to Adelaide, I decided to give car relocations a chance. I didn’t really know where I would go, either north or west, so I let fate decide. Fate, in this case, being the availability of a suitable relocation deal within the timeframe I wanted to depart. After a few days of repeatedly checking in on a few websites that were offering car relocation deals, I found my ride: a brand new white Toyota Camry with automatic gears and cruise control.

My backpacking 23-year-old self wasn’t expecting this! And the best part? It only cost me $1 per day, including $100 fuel! I looked carefully at the small print in the contract I was given, trying to find the catch.

There are definitely some things that are good to know:

  • $1000 will be frozen on your credit card as a deposit. If the car has no damage, you will receive the full amount back
  • Basic car insurance is included in the deal
  • You will have to save your fuel receipts in order to receive the $100 back (you don’t always get fuel costs back, by the way)

But: no catch. I signed and got the keys. I was off to Perth!

road directions in australia

The road trip was tough. I was the only driver, and it was a 2.500km journey through a very open desert landscape of the Nullarbor plane and the “90 miles straight”, Australia’s longest straight road. The combination of the summer heat and the ease-of-driving setup with cruise control and automatic gears called for a lot of stops. It was a real challenge to time my fuel stops too; sometimes there would not be a next fuel pump for 300km! The fuel stops were a fun part of the journey by themselves, as I would stop in many middle-of-nowhere-type villages such as Cocklebiddy, always meeting some very interesting characters.

I have used car relocation many times in Australia and have driven more than 11.000 km (this was even more than I thought before adding it all up!) using vehicles ranging from a hippie van to a sedan and from a 4-person RV to a tiny 3-doors. I definitely recommend travelling through Australia this way, especially when you are backpacking on a budget. It really slows down your travels and gives you time to see and experience things you wouldn’t normally find in the big cities.

A few tips:

  • Watch out for animals on the road (especially kangaroos). You won’t see many of them during the day, but I had a few close encounters during dusk and dawn.
  • Stop often, let’s say every 2 hours. My stop of choice was at a McDonalds, where I would get an Americano and some free Wifi.
  • You might want to buy a line-in cable or bring some Bluetooth speakers: you will definitely need some entertainment on the long stretches of driving.
  • Don’t book your hotels/hostels too far in advance. It’s easy to underestimate how tough a long drive can be!
  • Even though I did all my car relocations solo, I would recommend travelling with someone else that is capable of driving. It’s much safer as you can keep an eye on each other’s driving.