Rental vans are crazy expensive, right? Except when they’re free.
I’ve driven a 4-berth camper from Brisbane to Sydney, to Melbourne, for free. Then, I took another smaller one from Melbourne to Adelaide, along The Great Ocean Road. Also free. All that was left to cover was fuel and food (in our case- cheap wine, cheese, bacon, eggs, and burgers for the entire trip – no regrets).
Both vans were kitted out with cooking equipment (which we, of course, discovered immediately and definitely didn’t cook our first meal using a spatula as a frying pan…). They also both had bedding, sinks, navigation and the second one even had beanbags!
But these things all vary from van to van. They were both automatic and in my opinion as someone who had never driven a van before- quite drivable.
So basically how it works is:
1. A rental company needs to get a van from Point A to Point B- for resale or a booking or whatever reason. And so they advertise it on their own website, and/or through another company like coseats or imoova.
2. I find said van, book it, put down a bond and get it from A to B in a specified time limit.
The first van I booked was directly through the rental company- mine was Let’s Go Motorhomes, but there are loads to choose from- check out this website for a list of your many options. We booked the second van through coseats.com. This was an easier option, as it compiles many different companies in one place, and you can set up email or text notifications for the trip you’re trying to get.
The other thing to note is that these deals come up quite last minute, so if you’re trying to book your holiday months in advance, this probably isn’t for you. Personally, my travelling style is more spontaneous (read: disorganised) so it suited me quite well to pick up the van within a couple of days of booking it.
You also don’t usually get a huge length of time to get the van to its destination (sometimes you can add extra days at a discounted rate), so we were typically driving around 200-300km/day. That’s not so bad with 2 drivers, but when I did the first trip mostly alone, it got a bit tiring.
Having said all of this, I would definitely book a relocation van again because both trips were way beyond my expectations, and there’s no better way to see Australia than by road trip.