The open road beckons low-cost travellers.

Kiwi holidaymakers are being offered a free ticket to ride this summer.

Auckland-based Transfercar.co.nz, founded in 2008, matches rental car companies that need to move their cars with drivers who want to drive them there.

Chief executive Brian Karlson said the companies would usually have to pay to move the cars on trucks or by rail. Using the site saves them money and gives consumers access to free car hire.

"This model provides a win-win solution where travellers get a free one-way car or campervan hire while rental companies save big money on relocation costs."

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Rental car companies list the cars they want to move on the website and pay Transfercar a small fee for each transfer.

This week there were 541 relocation routes available, offering up to 20 vehicles each. The transfers needed to happen between now and the end of January.

Karlson said during peak periods up to 400 cars and campervans would be moved every week. Off peak it was about 100 to 150.

This year, Transfercar raised $450,000 from US entrepreneur Dennis Round to fund its expansion into the US market. It has started a US version of the website.

Karlson said the US site now has about 100 to 150 vehicles listed and the company is working on developing driver demand. It had been featured on the website Lifehacker.com, which had prompted 30,000 hits in one day. "In the market over there we're seen as a novelty."

No other sites had the same business model, Karlson said. Some offered relocation, but they usually acted as a middle-man offering cheap rentals and taking commission. "We skip the middle man and try to facilitate a contract between the driver and the rental car operator."

There are a million visits to the New Zealand site every year and 75,000 users. The company has more than 100 rental car companies using its services, including Hertz, Jucy and Eurocar. Thirty per cent of the vehicles to be moved are campervans.

Rental swap a cheap trip

Auckland immigration adviser and business broker Alister Simpson has had four cheap holidays thanks to Transfercar.

"It's an excellent system. It's really easy. You just go online and make a reservation, pick it up and off you go."

"I've driven Queenstown to Christchurch a couple of times and also Auckland to Queenstown. Myself and my mother took a campervan each and drove in tandem. The ferry was paid for and we had a tank of fuel, we had a wonderful time."

Simpson also recommended it to people who booked to stay in his Queenstown holiday home. "People do it for various reasons, either to get from A to B or to take a random holiday. "