vendredi 11 septembre 2009

Nearly free road trip

This sounds like a good way to get to Arizona!

Of course, you do need quite a bit more time off than if you were flying there. But you get to see so much more on a road trip!



Want to see America on the cheap? Try driving somebody else's car. As snowbirds and rental agencies shift their vehicles for the season, they create big deals for drivers.

[] Yes, it's possible to take a road trip across the U.S. with someone else paying most of the bills, thanks to a little-known phenomenon called the "driveaway." As snowbirds and rental agencies move their cars south for the winter, they need people to take the wheel - which means a money-saving opportunity for good drivers with an itch to travel.

The fastest route to a driveaway is through a company that specializes in organizing them. Catering primarily to snowbirds who want their cars moved to warmer climes for part of the year, these services recruit drivers for subsidized trips, saving their customers the trouble of driving their own cars south.


The exact arrangements vary from one company to the next, but in general the client provides the car and pays the gas, while the drivers pay their own accommodation and food. On top of that, drivers are paid a small stipend. In my case, a five-day trip from Arizona to Ontario cost less than $500 in motels and food; the stipend was just enough to cover the airfare for the outbound leg.


Yet small firms aren't the only ones offering one-way deals. Car-rental companies also need to move their fleets seasonally as demand shifts from one area to another. And to entice drivers, they offer some enticing deals on one-way travel.

As Florida and Arizona - both snowbird hot spots - cleared out in March of 2008, for instance, Budget offered rates as low as $4.95 (U.S.) a day on one-way trips across the country. At other times of year, one-way rentals can incur punitive fees that can run into the hundreds of dollars.

"While this is something we offer customers most years, we don't always announce it," says Alice Pereira, a Budget spokeswoman. Last year, Budget outlined its seasonal deals in a press release on its website. This year, though, the deals are simply hidden the companies' reservation systems for customers to discover.

Other companies have similar practices. In mid-June, for instance, National Car Rental ran a "Drive Out" program that sent cars out of Florida for rates starting at $10 a day - gas included.

Announced via press release, these deals can be found as easily as searching Google for "one-way rentals" at the right time of year.


Toronto Driveaway

Cars To Florida

Aucun commentaire:

Publier un commentaire