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Trip across USA

Discussion in 'General' started by profqwerty, 3 Mar 2008.

  1. profqwerty

    profqwerty New Member

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    Hi all,

    As it's summer coming soonish (in gap year at the moment), several friends and I are very seriously thinking/planning taking a road trip across america.

    Between us we know a lot of people there which will help, but there are several issues I need to clear up first. We'd probably spend a month or so there - plenty of free time as well as just driving. They'd be about 4/5 of us; kind of a test to see how long we can go without killing each other I suppose.

    - should we buy or rent vehicles? renting we'd have to return them in good condition, and there are stricter rules as we'd only be 18. buying we'd probably find it hard to sell them afterwards (as shown in topgear!), at least for anything decent. If buying, is it better to go to the used car dealership, or something off of fleabay and delivered to a friend's house?

    -what sort of vehicles. RV or cars? RV is good as we can live in it in rv parks and have a bit more space, and only 1 person has to drive at a time so less driving for all. however would visiting in cities be more difficult eg for parking/manouvering? also cars we'd have to spend nights in motels (seen plenty of films about those!) where we don't know people (not that I think most of them wouldn't want a load of unwashed teenagers camping on their lawns anyway)

    -What sort of driving license is needed there? We all hold normal ones (Up to 3.5t though I believe...). What would this transpire to there? As there's plenty of time to go I'm sure some can get upgraded.

    -From what i understand you can just rock up to a car shop and drive off with one, none of the hanging around for a plate etc; do you have to have a fixed address to register vehicles there?

    -we'd probably be doing a lot of city stuff, random concerts, visting people/places etc, might try to stick to country roads too for a bit of variety.

    -routing, this is the talking point. Looking at this site it looks like allowing about 100 hours of driving to get NY state to CA state. Seeing as it'll roughly be height of summer at the end of the trip (july/august) it'd be good to spend some time on the beaches (ie California:p)
    However starting point could be pretty much anywhere provided there's an interesting route.

    Hmmm a lot to think about, but could be fun none the less!

    Profqwerty
     
  2. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    I'll be watching this thread closely, as it's something I've wanted to do for many years now, but never got around to!
     
  3. profqwerty

    profqwerty New Member

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    Sorry I forgot to add - It's either USA or Europe. It's pretty much the same issues each way. Can't quite make our minds up!
     
  4. MrWillyWonka

    MrWillyWonka Chocolate computers galore!

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    I have been planning a 3 month trip to the states next year. Do a lot of research and budget... Whilst it's relatively easy to be able to hire a car in one place and drop it off at another the hiring age for me is also a problem however I have a few friends who have done their own trip to the states and one of them did it when he was 19. He has said he didn't have a problem so I will get in contact with him and post back what he says, it'll be useful for me to know too.

    You may wish to get a few books, one I have is Lonely Planet and really is a good book and even an interesting read! Supposingly camping in the states is very cheap and hiring a car + camping is the best way with the occasional night in a hotel for a good nights sleep and relaxation. Hiring an RV should be thrown out of the idea pool - more costly to hire and run and it's not practical if you plan on visiting places, especially in the city.

    Research is the key and I cannot stress that enough even though I haven't been on a long road trip but I have learned a lot from research. Keep us updated cos I'll be watching this thread!
     
  5. ozstrike

    ozstrike yip yip yip yip

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    As far as I know, barely any companies will hire a car to you if you're under 25.
     
  6. SitraAchra

    SitraAchra Member

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    The age deal is that if you're under 25, it costs about $25/day more. I don't know what the deal is with people from other countries renting cars here, and I don't know the deal with a driver's lisence.

    Hehe a month is about how long it would take to drive across the US if you stop and do stuff at all the major cities, what a fun trip though!
     
  7. speedfreek

    speedfreek New Member

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    Renting a car is a real pain if your under 25 worse if your under 21, some places will rent to you if your 21-25 and I was only able to find one that would rent to me being under 21.

    I don't know about buying and registering one if your from out of country but if possible even with the hassle of having to get rid of it it would probably be cheaper if you can do it right. Also at 6-8mpg a RV would be a little too pricey for me to run around in and they drive like crap. Just camping out at random places you will have a good time, there are plenty of campgrounds you can stay at.
     
  8. Guest-23315

    Guest-23315 Guest

    My brother and his friend are doing one at the moment. They borrowed a car from a friends dads dealership and have been over there since McCrimbo.
     
  9. RinSewand

    RinSewand New Member

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    A friend and I are looking at doing this round europe this summer. We're going for the transit van approach, and then doing the back out so we can live in it (which should cost about £50) Like everyone has said, planning is key. If you do think about buying one and then selling it, work out what time limit you have to sell (as in: i leave the country in 3 days, the car has to go now) and also remember to take into account how long it will take you to find one

    good luck though, and let us know how it goes

    RwD
     
  10. chrisb2e9

    chrisb2e9 Dont do that...

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    I checked national car rentals, called them too, minimum age to rent a car, 25 years old.
    There are some exceptions, for example in new york, the minimum age is 18. but you have to pay an extra day rate.
    Canada its 21 but you have to pay an extra 30 bucks a day till you hit 25.
    Other companies may have different rates but I doubt that the age requirment will be different as its all to do with insurance.
    My advice, bring an older brother with you. or an older friend and let them rent the car.
     
  11. profqwerty

    profqwerty New Member

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    Thanks guys this is all good info!

    Hmm might EU be better for driving then? As Rin says a van decked out for living would be easier, as we could do that bit here and cross the channel for however much on the ferry, and bam you're there!

    Plus diesel is relatively cheap there too.
     
  12. Rocket733

    Rocket733 Austerity - It's the only way

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    EU would be better for driving.
     
  13. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    Depends on the state and the rental agency. Many won't let you rent period. Though some companies are allowing greed to win out and taking their chances. Call beforehand :)
    I don't think just showing up and buying a used junker is possible (I'm pretty sure you need a US drivers license), let alone a good idea.
     
  14. Cthippo

    Cthippo Can't mod my way out of a paper bag

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    The challenge is registering it, but I'm sure there are ways around that. You can drive in the US on a foriegn license without any real problems. I think the thing to do might be to take a US resident with you when you purchase a car and have them register it. Maybe give it to them at the end of the trip or sell it and split the proceeds. Renting for a month is going to be very expensive, but you might look into short-term lease options. Not sure where to direct you for more info though.

    I would stay away from RVs as they're ungodly expensive to rent, anything you buy is going to be a POS, and the fuel will kill you. That and they are a pain in the arse to drive, park, turn around, etc.

    Some motels may give you trouble about renting a room, but if so just take your bsiness elsewhere. There are pleanty of options out there. If you find a chain that works for you you can start to get free nights after a while.

    Not sure what else to tell you. Don't drink and drive and remember, we drive on the right.
     
  15. speedfreek

    speedfreek New Member

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    Dont listen to that, all the people honking and waving will only be saying hi. Really :D
     
  16. freedom810

    freedom810 Member

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    Good luck on your trip, whenever and wherever you go!
     
  17. Fozzy

    Fozzy New Member

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    Try to find a civic ex that's been well maintained with about 200,000 miles so you can get it cheap. They'll drive to about 350,000 miles if they're maintained. You've got a little while so you can probably find one for around $2000, which is $500 a person and you'll get around 36mpg. That's how I'd do it. Also, since it's summer, you should camp out with a tent and allow a little bit of money for when you're in big cities for a hotel. I would prolly average about $2500 per person for the trip ($2,000 for gas/food/everything else) and $500 for the car. Oh and if you do en up in cali my band is touring there this summer for 21 days but we'll be out before august so I doubt you could come to a show.
     
  18. Fozzy

    Fozzy New Member

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    oh and another option is to skip registering altogether. Grab some plates and pop them on your car. I mean what would be the big deal if you had a few tickets in the US? If you're returning to EU it won't matter lol.
     
  19. glaeken

    glaeken Freeeeeeeze! I'm a cawp!

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    I don't think I'd want to be jammed into a tiny civic for a month.
     
  20. SitraAchra

    SitraAchra Member

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    Not sound advice. I had to show a passport just to get from Mexico to the US by car, it used to be just flash your driver's lisence. Dept. of Homeland Security is nuts now.
     

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