The American road trip has long been an iconic symbol of freedom, cruising along with the roof of your gleaming convertible down and the wind in your hair, you and your lady smiling from ear to ear without a care in the world as you drive into the sunset…. Sadly though, that’s Hollywood bullshit clouding your mind. The reality is far from it. It's more like, you and your other half or a mate, cruising along in an $800 beater with a buckled roof, having your 4th argument of the day about weather it’s the clutch, brakes or burning oil that’s making the smell and who is to blame, all the while the passenger is washing their armpits with baby wipes and trying to find a full bag of crisps in the carpet of rubbish in the footwell… The freedom part is right, but there is no glamor on a budget road trip. Or is there? What if you could get a fancy car given to you to drive? Imagine if they even GAVE YOU petrol. Well, believe it or not there is actually a company that will do that!
Auto Driveaway are vehicle relocation specialists. They basically get paid by rich American’s, who are moving across the country, to relocate their cars from one city to another because they don’t want to drive that far. Auto Driveaway then get travellers to drive the cars for them, for free! Genius. But there’s a catch surely? No siree Bob, there is not, just a few requirements:
– You need to be at least 23 years of age or older with a valid driver’s license (foreign travellers also need a passport with valid exit visa), if so, you can travel the United States with Auto Driveaway.
– A refundable security deposit of approximately $350.00, check with the office that you are driving for to get the exact amount and method of payment on the deposit.
– A current MVR (motor vehicle driver’s record) for ALL drivers will be needed when you arrive at the office to pick up the vehicle. If you do not have a MVR, one will be generated at a cost to the driver(s). Foreign travellers must bring a current Motor Vehicle Record from your home country.
– You will receive the first full tank of gasoline, a certain number of days and an appropriate amount of miles to complete your trip!
If you tick all those boxes then all you need to do is check out their car list (above). This will tell you what kind of cars are available and where they are going from and to. It’s not a rental place that always has cars going where you want them to go though. There is no guarantee that there will even be a car where you are. But if there is, you just scored yourself a road trip with a fraction of the costs! At the time of writing this (just before Christmas) there were only two cars available but they were both epic trips in decent cars:
It would be a tough choice for me! The east/west trip takes me to all the states I haven't been to and the south/north one is virtually the same route we did when we drove across America. Seeing as it’s winter though, the cheaper option here would be the car from Dallas. For a lot of that drive you can keep to much warmer areas in the south and camping won't be a problem, hopefully you could avoid winter until you start to get closer to northern California. The East to West route is going to be either around or below freezing level the whole way, so unless you’re pretty hardy, you’ll be running up a much bigger hotel bill on that route.
Road trips are by far the best way to see any country and are also one of the cheapest ways to do it, especially in America where fuel is about $2 a gallon. With an abundance of wilderness and you'll have no problem finding wild camp sites everywhere you go which will save you a chunk of money on hotel bills. Then once you make it to the vehicles destination and assuming you haven’t damaged the car, your deposit will be returned back to you. Just enough for a return flight home. BOOM! Free car and free camping, all you need to pay for is food a fuel, if you’re lucky though and you’ve got plenty of time, the office you return the car to might even have another car going somewhere else so you can start your next road trip straight away…