How to Get a Free (or Dirt-Cheap) Car Rental

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Side View of Car

Need a rental car for an upcoming trip? Use this little-known trick to book a free (or almost-free) car rental, and you could even score free fuel and a paycheck. Here’s the scoop.

Lots of companies, and individuals, have vehicles that they need to have moved from one location to another, and there are websites dedicated to finding drivers for those vehicles. If you can find a vehicle that needs to be moved to somewhere you’ll be heading, or passing through, you can usually rent it for free, or as little as $1 a day.

Here’s where to look for a free car rental.

Vehicle Relocation Deals

Since car rental companies allow one-way rentals, they often end up with too many vehicles at one location, and not enough at another. When this happens, they need people to shuffle vehicles around for them. Paying their employees or a transport company to handle the relocations is cost prohibitive, so they usually accomplish this by offering special one-way relocation rental rates to their customers. Sometimes these special rates appear on their website, but more often than not, they’re posted on a third-party site.

If you like the idea of a free or $1-a-day car rental, you’ll find plenty of options on these websites:

Transfercar – This site lists vehicle relocation opportunities in the U.S. and Canada, including free car rentals and cheap rentals that come with free gas, or other incentives. If you’re planning a trip abroad, Transfercar also has websites for free one-way car rentals in Australia and New Zealand.

imoova.com – This site handles relocations for several big-name rental car companies, including Hertz, Avis, Thrifty and Budget. Rates start at $1 a day, and some even include a gas allowance. imoova offers rentals in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

Interested in a free RV rental? Here’s where to find RV relocation deals.

Looking Out the Rear Window of a Car

Vehicle Relocation Jobs

If you don’t see a rental relocation deal that fits with your travel plans, consider applying to be a driver for Auto Driveaway. They specialize in relocating cars for individuals and businesses. If your application is accepted, they’ll pay you to move vehicles, and you’ll start each trip with a free tank of gas. You must be between the ages of 23 and 75, and have a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record to apply.

Best Time to Find a Free Car Rental

Normally, planning ahead is the key to getting a good deal, but that’s not the case with relocation rentals. If you want a completely free car rental (and free gas, too), it’s best to wait and book a vehicle two or three weeks before your trip. By then, the rental companies will be desperate to get vehicles moved, and will have their best offers posted.

Make the Most of Vehicle Relocations

Plan trips around available vehicle relocations, or string several together to create a trip with little to no transportation costs. Companies usually give you several days to reach your destination, so there should be plenty of time to stop and sightsee along the way.

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