Transfercar connects rental car companies in need of relocating a vehicle with travelers willing to do so. Rather than spending money on rental car relocation, rental car companies have the option of relocating their vehicles for free. Similarly, rather than spending money to rent a car, travelers can get a free rental car with Transfercar. This not only saves rental car operators on relocation costs, but also gives travelers a free or nearly free one-way rental car.
In this Transfercar review, I will explain what Transfercar is, how it works, and my experience with Transfercar in Australia.
What Is Transfercar?
Transfercar is a vehicle relocation service that allows anyone with a valid drivers license to get a one-way rental car at no cost. Transfercar launched in Auckland in 2008 and today works with over 120 rental car companies in New Zealand, Australia, and the USA.
When tourists hire one-way rental cars, these vehicles are not returned to the same location where they originated from. As a result of numerous one-way rentals, inventory in the busiest of cities diminishes. Consequently, rental car companies run out of inventory and may need a vehicle in another location for a customer. These rental car companies have a few options:
- Pay an employee to fetch and relocate the car
- Rent a truck or trailer to relocate multiple cars
- Relocate multiple rental cars by train
- Upgrade or downgrade a customer’s booking preference
Rather than spending large amounts of money on relocating cars, losing out on revenue by upgrading, or destroying the customer’s experience by downgrading, rental car companies can have their rental cars relocated for free with Transfercar.
On the flip-side, budget travelers looking to save some money can relocate these rental cars practically for free. It’s a win-win situation for both the rental car company and the traveler.
How Does Transfercar Work?
Think of Transfercar like Kayak for rental cars—Transfercar is an aggregator website that searches multiple rental car companies which need cars relocated. In Australia alone, Transfercar works with Apollo, Hertz, Jucy, and Britz among numerous other rental car and motorhome hire companies.
As a user, you just input your desired pickup location, dropoff location, and pickup date. After searching, you’ll be presented with a list of matching relocation options. You can further filter and sort by number of days, vehicle type, and transmission type if desired.
While most relocations are free, some relocations cost $1 per day and others are $5 per day. I’m guessing that these nominal rates are probably just a way to deter some users from signing up who aren’t serious about relocating.
You get a certain number of days to complete the relocation. Sometimes you have the option of adding extra days at a reduced rate. While all transfers give you more than enough travel time, the option to add extra days comes in handy if you want a bit more time for activities while traveling to your destination.
Once you find a relocation that matches your itinerary, you then submit a request. Within a day or two, the rental car company reviews your request and either accepts or rejects. The only reason your request would be rejected is if someone else was approved before you. Otherwise, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be accepted.
Finally, you’ll receive a confirmation email directly from the rental car company with booking details for your free rental car.
It may seem too good to be true, but you really can get a free rental car with Transfercar. Believe me, I got a free campervan in Australia for five days.
I heard about Transfercar from some of my fellow backpackers in Australia, so I signed up for a free account. Now, you don’t have to be a budget backpacker to relocate a rental car. Families, students, seniors, and other travelers alike are all welcome to use Transfercar as long as they have a valid driver’s license. The only other restriction seems to be specific age requirements for certain rental car companies: 18, 21, and 25 depending on the operator.
I wanted a relocation rental car to go from Adelaide to Melbourne. The first rental car that I requested was rejected after 24 hours. While the rejection email didn’t state why my application was rejected, my best guess is that someone had already booked the same relocation car before me. So I continued looking at my options.
Campervan Relocation with JUCY Rentals
I really wanted a campervan, but unfortunately there were no campervans needing relocation from Adelaide to Melbourne on my dates. Flexibility in my travels paid off because I found a free five-day campervan relocation from Adelaide to Sydney that worked with my schedule. So I requested this campervan and was accepted within 24 hours.
It’s worth pointing out that you don’t know the rental car company at the time of making your relocation request. My rental car company turned out to be JUCY, a popular campervan rental company in Australia, New Zealand, and the USA. I ended up relocating a JUCY Condo—a campervan that sleeps four and has a gas cooker, fridge, and kitchen sink.
Although I paid nothing to rent the campervan (a savings of at least $500), it’s worth pointing out that fuel was a large expense. I spent just under $200 on fuel during my 1,100 mile trip from Adelaide to Sydney. That’s with a free initial tank of gas. While I detoured through the Great Ocean Road since I had unlimited miles, I want to caution you that relocating a fuel-hungry vehicle over long distance will cost you a lot in gas. If the reason you want to use Transfercar is to save money, I suggest that you choose the most fuel efficient vehicle available.
One last potential gotcha that I want to point out is insurance or excess reduction. While each company is different, JUCY tries to sell you rental car insurance for $20 or $30 per day. I declined this optional insurance since I had built-in rental car insurance with my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. Consequently, JUCY placed a bond of $3,000 AUD on my credit card until I returned the campervan in Sydney.
Rental Car Relocation in Australia
As much as I loved my experience with Transfercar and JUCY, relocating a car from Adelaide to Sydney by myself was hard work. Now it’s probably just my dislike for driving long distances, but I found myself struggling to cover enough distance each day while still enjoying the sights around me. In retrospect, I would’ve added a couple extra paid days to my relocation and found a buddy to travel with.
Putting my dislike for driving aside, I highly recommend rental car relocations with Transfercar to everyone.
While it’s not the only rental car relocation service, the main focus of this post was to review Transfercar. Another popular car relocation services is iMoova.
Have you relocated a rental car before or are you planning on it? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.