We all love a good road trip. But the problem is that sometimes we only want to drive one way — and in almost every instance, U.S. rental car agencies tack on anywhere between $100 and $1,000 to drop a vehicle at a location other than the one you pick it up from. (I was once quoted a $1,000 fee to pick up a car in Manhattan and drop it in Albany, just a few hours north.)
Imoova, which recently launched in the U.S. and Canada, is attempting to disrupt the dreaded one-way drop fee by way of its relocation service — which allows travelers to essentially rent a car for as low as $1 per night.
The company has been around for some time in Australia and New Zealand, enabling budget-conscious travelers to drive cars from car owners who need their vehicles moved from one point to another. In other words, car owners use Imoova for an affordable way to have their vehicles transported — by you, rather than a pricey moving service — and you get a cheap road trip out of it.
To take advantage, a traveler would check the current listings, which constantly repopulate depending on who needs to move. They’re sorted by location, and each trip will have earliest pick-up and latest drop-off dates that you need to drive between. One catch: You do need to put up a security deposit via credit card, but it’s released as soon as you deliver the vehicle unharmed. Want to go camping, or driving a motor home? If you don’t have or would rather not bother with your own gear, Imoova can lend a linen pack with sheets, towels, and sleeping bag for $50 per person, plus a set of cooking equipment and cutlery for $125.
Here’s an example of how it works: There’s a five-passenger vehicle that’s presently in Las Vegas and needs to end up San Francisco for $1 per night. While the drive is about nine hours, you can pick it up as early as August 20 and drop it off as late as August 24, so you can treat yourself to a gorgeous road trip through Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Death Valley, Yosemite National Park, or Lake Tahoe for next to nothing. But note the three days allowed in the trip — meaning you can only lock in the $1 per night rate for that specified amount of time. If you want to extend, it’s $75 per day (listed under the Extra Day Options section). The bond here is $1,000.
The company is planning to ramp up over the coming months, offering cars and RVs. We currently see listings in a handful of Californian cities, Indiana, Calgary, Halifax, Vancouver, and of course Australia and New Zealand. Most options are $1, $5, or $15 per day, with a handful of $25 ones.