Getting from A to B can be a bit tricky if you don’t have your own means of transport. This goes for all travellers without weels, whether they’re locals, international or national visitors. After all, if you don’t own or have access to a car or bike, how are you going to get from let’s say Wellington to Auckland? Or even more challenging, Katikati to Lumsden, Great Barrier Island to Napier?
Just stay put where you are? Or go walking? Or put your thumb up and go hitch-hiking?
A website dedicated to hitch-hiking culture, digihitch.com, says the “simple, unplanned and spontaneous act of sharing transport” has been around as long as there has been transportation. But hitch-hiking in its purest sense – thumbing rides from passing motorists – followed the invention of the car in the late 19th century. It became common in the war years, when soldiers hitched rides, and entered the realms of popular culture with Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road in 1957.
Literature, films and music have often played on the fears surrounding hitch-hiking. Tales of lost hitch-hikers and hitch-hiker murders possess a power like no others.
New Zealand is still wondering what happened to Mona Blades, the 18-year-old who disappeared without a trace when hitching on the Napier-Taupo road in 1975.
And what about the unfortunate German backpacker Birgit Brauer? Her trip, and with that her dream, ended tragically in October 2005 when she was found under the towering redwoods in Lucy’s Gully, near New Plymouth. She loved New Zealanders’ down-to-earth attitude and believed she was safe hitch-hiking.
Times have sure changed and with this in the back of your mind, why take the risk of hitch-hiking? Surely a lack of transportation can be solved otherwise?Well, dear backpackers, students and all other travellers, there is an alternative to consider.Listen.
Lots of savvy backpackers have over the years already called or surfed the sites of rental car companies in pursuit of ‘one-way’ deals. But arranging this takes time, not to mention effort and can be very frustrating as you often miss the boat with rental company’s ‘one -way’ deals.
The idea of relocating cars is really quite simple and not new or innovative. There already exist websites in other countries (USA, Norway and Denmark) that specialise in relocating rental (or private) cars. However, up to recently such service didn’t exist in New Zealand.
Now, rentals, whether these are motor homes, bikes or cars, tend to accumulate there where a branch doesn’t need them to be. The car fleet moves in one direction according to the flow of tourist and companies spend a lot of money transporting unallocated cars between branches.
And this is where you as a traveller without wheels come in the picture. Why not pick up a car at point A, drive it to point B and voila: you are where you want or need to be, and the car is where the rental company needs it to be.
New to New Zealand is http://www.transfercar.co.nz/; an online relocating service that offers free use of rental cars to travellers. And that’s you, right?
Check it out, organise a ride and have a safe journey from your A to B.