How to get a one-way Europcar UK rental for just £1!

This very interesting car rental deal had passed me by but was raised by Harry in the comments section this week.  I thought it deserved a wider audience.

Europcar is offering one-way UK car rentals for a flat fee of £1, including basic insurance.

This is not a marketing ploy.  The company is trying to save itself money by using you as free labour to get cars back to their original location or to re-allocate vehicles across sites.  Why pay a truck to haul a vehicle across the country when you can find someone willing to pay you £1 for the privilege?!

The Europcar £1 rental page is here.

Your best chance of finding a deal is if you want to travel TO London, usually to Heathrow.  If I look at Sheffield, there are 5 cars available for 23rd June at £1 and 5 cars available for 30th June.  They can be dropped at either Heathrow or Kings Cross.

You need to pay for petrol, of course, so this is not necessarily cheaper than taking the train.  You also need to complete the journey within 24 hours of when you collect the car, and of course you need to get yourself to your nearest Europcar depot in the first place.

That said, I’m sure there are occasions when this could work out nicely.

Also available …. cheap one-way hire to or from the airport

If you can’t find a good £1 deal, it is worth knowing that Europcar offers special one-way rates to or from most of its branches to or from major UK airports.

This allows you the convenience of driving to the airport without the requirement to pay a heavy parking bill whilst you are away.

Full details of that offer can be found here.

PS.  My recent article on earning miles and points when renting from Europcar is here

PPS.  Hertz has a different scheme which involves taking cars back to a different European COUNTRY, mainly from Heathrow.  See here.

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  1. Aeronaut says:

    Re the Europcar £1 one-way offer…
    “You also need to complete the journey on the same day you collect the car …”

    You actually have a maximum of 24 hours, so an overnight stay en route is possible.

    Re the Hertz scheme, whilst the website listings show the pickup locations (in the UK it’s mostly Heathrow), it is delightfully unspecific about where in the destination country they’d like you to take the car (e.g. “France” – it’s a big place!) – however is that something that’s up for negotiation, with the important thing from Hertz’s point of view that the car is back in its home country?

  2. Aeronaut is right about 24 hours. Allows me to pick it up after work one evening, then drive it to the office the next day before heading off for an evening flight. 550 miles allowance so I could do a few laps of the M25 if I get bored lol

    • Worzel says:

      Gavin- “a few laps of the M25” ?

      It’s only a 24hrs rental ! 🙂 .

    • Aeronaut says:

      It appears that 550 miles is the standard allowance, but many cross-border rentals between Scotland and England, even from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Newcastle, get a 1000 mile allowance – though Carlisle to Edinburgh only gets the 550 miles.

      (The Northern Ireland to GB rentals only get 550 miles, and presumably you also have to stump up for the ferry fare yourself, as Philip also points out.)

  3. Looks like a fab deal – the only thing – the website states there is availability from 31 Mar through to December, however all dates beyond 29th July this year are shaded out – so my questions – is there a limit to how far in advance a car can be booked? or is this an ongoing offer, with more dates becoming available as time goes on? Or is it a limited offer and the faster fingers have booked a long time ago? 😀

    • My guess is they only have a forecast of how many cars they need to reposition a few weeks in advance based on hiring patterns so it’s a question of checking a few weeks before

    • I think it’s a moving beanfeast & varies by location, week by week.

      If you look at my closest location, Taunton, & do a dummy booking – you’ll see that you can book any date —> LHR until the end of the year.

      I have been monitoring to see if Newquay pops up, so far no such luck.

  4. 😀 this made me chuckle – excellent – car rental for £0.90!

  5. OT: but one way car rental related – I spent last night looking at the cost of car rental for a 28 day one way rental from Chicago to LA for Route 66 – shockingly whichever way I do it a group D or E vehicle is coming in around £1550 !!! I really wanted a mid size SUV Group F but this is up at £1700 – Avis quote $1000 surcharge, National quote $400 surcharge but they fix the other charges so that the bottom line is always the same. Alamo has a Route 66 special site but again the bottom figure is the same so no special deal there either. I can use some of my Avios via to help reduce the cost a bit but does anyone know of anywhere who does it cheaper or any other tips. I have Hertz 5 star with Spire Elite – it came in a couple of hundred £ cheaper. Any help would be appreciated!

    • Philip says:

      I’m sure I read somewhere that there are sites where you can repatriate vehicles for free; for people who have made the trip from sea-to-shining-sea on land, but who have made the return trip by air – either because they haven’t sufficient vacation time left or they couldn’t be arsed.

    • We were £546 for 9 days for an SUV with Hertz when we did Route 66 – 2/3 of this was the one-way fee.

      • I expected it to be expensive but not this expensive! Just as well we didn’t want a convertible – I hate to think what that would cost!

        • Jfsclv says:

          Have you checked Sixt? (Assuming they have an office in Chicago). I have had good experience with them; good prices and awesome cars.

          • Not tried Sixt yet but will have a look – I’ll also try spitting the trip up and see if hiring 2-3 cars will work out cheaper – think I read somewhere that there is free one way rental from Arizona to California.

    • I did a Denver – Seattle 3 week rental for about £600, there was a one-way surcharge but not too expensive. Avis BA were the only rental company who were at all reasonable with the rental cost.

      • That was St Augustine FL to New Orleans 4 days $44

      • Could be worth asking these dudes if they still need drivers for Chicago – LA
        Here’s how it works:
        •Small, medium and large motorhomes will be ready to leave Chicago between February 18th and March 18th 2013
        •They need to arrive in Los Angeles, San Francisco or Las Vegas no later than April 1st 2013
        •Whether the customer takes the motorhome for ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen or fourteen days, the price is still a flat $899
        •That’s around £560 and is shared between the three to five travellers the three sizes of motorhome are designed for
        •The price includes 2,500 free miles, full insurance, generator use, the one-way fee, the first two personal kits, kitchen equipment and all taxes

        The rental can be longer than two weeks:
        •Extra days will cost just $41 per vehicle
        •The rental can also be extended
        •Between April 1st and May 15th the daily rate, shared by all on board, will still only be $77

        For advice, reservations and assistance with motorhome touring in the USA and Canada at any time of the year, call The Motorhome Experts on 0844 910 3271 or visit

    • You could try the codes here, I think some of the Avis ones are still working but you need to open an a/c first

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      When I did it (in the other direction), I was able to upgrade my car relatively cheaply ($100-200) when I collected it.

  6. Philip says:

    Unless Europcar are going to spring for the cost of the ferry fare across the Irish Sea, I doubt that they are going to get many takers for those vehicles they want to repatriate from Northern Ireland to England/Scotland/Wales.

  7. I’ve tried a few dates form various locations and every time up pops

    “Sorry, an error occurred, please try again or contact us”

    • Their booking system is not perfect (as I found out for myself) but you can do it all by phone 0116 223 3632

    • Aeronaut says:

      For what it’s worth I made a £1 one-way booking yesterday via the website without a hitch..

  8. Noqueueing says:

    Just made a successful booking for the 23rd June from Portsmouth to Heathrow so seems to work fine!
    I think I’ll be visiting this site in the future as well…
    Fantastic – thanks Harry & Raffles!

    • <3 this website!!

      • Nick Haley says:

        This is amazing. no longer need our taxi from South East London on Tuesday morning for our flight. AMAZING RAFFLES <3 THANK YOU.

  9. Philip says:

    It occurred to me that, since Europcar is based all over Europe – the clue being in the name – then they must have the same issue with out-of-place vehicles elsewhere. And, sure enough, they run the same scheme in France (, where it costs a mere 1€ 🙂

    • Good link. If you click through one route as a test, you’ll be given another button ‘Voir les autres pays’ – to see EUR1 trips in Spain, Italy, Germany etc

  10. This would be great if I can actually find any deals for £1. I give up I’ve tried lots of locations , less than 24 hrs, different days of the week, different months all to no gain. Unless it’s because I’m looking on my I phone I’m at a loss what I’m doing wrong

    • Rob. Surprised you’ve not covered the Accor offer I received this week 30% off plus free breakfast. I was waiting before I alert you. Not sure if it’s targetted at certain Accor members or not but I checked found some good deals and breakfast on the rate. Doesn’t sound much but I was checking Sofitel heathrow which isn’t a cheap breakfast for what you get.

    • By the looks of it Nick if you open the ‘special’ link on mobile it just redirects to the mobile normal site

      • Aeronaut says:

        Correct – you need to be using the desktop version of the website.

        (It’s possible to request this using the Chrome browser on a mobile – but first you need to search Google/Bing etc for “Europcar one way”, then request the ‘desktop version’ of the search page, then click through from the search results page to the Europcar site – this will avoid you being redirected to the mobile version of the website. Or otherwise just use a laptop/desktop computer!)

  11. Avis and Hertz has similar schemes eg

  12. What an excellent idea! A rare case where everyone is a winner, it would seem.

  13. Thank you for one way euro car tip. Not able to use the £1 offer but booked a one way rental from lhr for same cost as other companies one way drop off fee.