Car bookings

Travel hack: how to get a free motorhome to explore New Zealand

Kiwis eager to grab a bargain on their next vacation will soon find an increasing number of free motorhome and car rental deals as tourists return to our shores.

Motorhomes can cost hundreds of dollars a day to rent, and before Covid-19 they were largely the domain of cashed-in foreign tourists.

However, savvy Kiwis can score a bargain – getting rental cars and motorhomes for just a few dollars a day – some of them are even free.

That’s what we call “moving rentals” and contributes to traditional international tourist flows. For example, many tourists arrive in Auckland and rent a motorhome in Christchurch or Queenstown and then fly away. Car rental companies end up with a large number of cars in the south – therefore offer attractive offers for those who wish to relocate them to the north.

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Some offers even offer free fuel and ferry crossings.

Relocation site transfercar.co.nz currently has a 7 day motorhome rental from Queenstown Airport to Auckland for free. Or there are rental cars available in the opposite direction.

Bargain hunters, start your engines - a cheap vacation could be just around the corner.

BROOK SABIN

Bargain hunters, start your engines – a cheap vacation could be just around the corner.

There are also many offers to and from regional New Zealand.

While relocation offers have continued over the past two years as our border was closed, the number available has been impacted by the huge reduction in the rental car fleet in New Zealand.

Now that our border is open to visa-free countries like the US, Singapore and England, relocation car hire deals are already starting to spring up – with 91 available as of June 3 on Transfercar.

One of the other main suppliers, imoova.comhas a single motorhome available between Christchurch and Auckland for $1 per day.

The high summer season should see a significant increase in offers, as tourists return in much greater numbers and more cars need to be moved.

There are, of course, downsides to the relocation program. You often have to cover significant distances in a short time, so it’s often best to extend the offer by a few days to give yourself more time. It will cost you around $50-$150 per day, but it really helps break up the trip.

You are also often faced with a large insurance deductible, sometimes around $7,000 for an RV. You have the option to reduce it when you choose the vehicle, but it can cost $50 per day, which increases the cost.

There is a much better way around this. Consider getting domestic travel insurance from a provider like 1Cover, CoverMore or Southern Cross and make sure it covers rental excess.

The policy won’t cost much for domestic travel, and that means you don’t need to purchase an expensive policy when you pick up your car. (Just be sure to read the fine print to make sure they’re covered.)

So, bargain hunters, start your engines – a cheap vacation might be within reach.

Must know:

Imoova and Transfer Car are the two main companies that deal with removals. It’s a bit like a lottery – getting the right car and a suitable date – so you have to be flexible.

You cannot book holidays, book your plane tickets and rely on the availability of a ticket. It has to be the other way around: find your deal, lock it in, then book a trip.

See: imoova.com Where transfercar.co.nz