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  1. Default British Couple tour for 2007

    Hi all,

    I'm totally new to your forum, but already found out lots of answers to many of my questions.

    My girlfriends parents own a holiday home in Orlando which is where we plan to start our American road trip from around July 2007. To start with we plan heading South for the Keys, Miami and the Everglades and then move back North and start a full circle of America obviously visiting as much as possible. Not yet decided clockwise or anti-clockwise - although we do have a year to make our plans. Wherever we end up though, I'm sure we'll have the time of our lives!

    Time is not really an issue for us - we're estimating anywhere between 3 and 6 months depending upon funds.

    I'm pretty sure that our best option is to fly to Florida, using the home as a base, collect a hire car for about a week and look to buy a relatively cheap car for the duration which we can sell upon returning home.

    So I'm trying to find information about buying a car in Florida. I understand that I need an International Drivers Permit, which I've found out about here - although they are only valid for 3 months and costs only £5.50 each. But what happens after the 3 months is up?

    I've heard that car insurance in USA differs to the UK. Do you purchase a vehicle first, then arrange insurance like we do in the UK? I hear that car dealers will not let you purchase a car without valid insurance? In the USA, is it best to visit a broker, or arrange a policy online or over the telephone with a big name insurance company? How does the process work with getting the title of the car? Will I need new plates too? Is there an equivalent of road tax and MOT (road-worthiness certificate) in USA? We have the home in Florida so we can regiser the car OK. How much can we expect to pay to insure both of us to drive for 6 months (I'll be 26 and she'll be 23 when we go)?

    Can anyone also recommend local (Orlando) car dealers perhaps who sell good, well serviced cars. What small compact American cars are known for reliability and can be serviced anywhere in the states and are good for such a long journey? I'm budgeting $2000 which should buy a half-decent car, plus the insurance on top of that.

    Lots of questions there - sorry, although any tips/hints/suggestions would help a great deal. Emails are welcome!

    ScottP

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Consulates can be helpful too

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottP
    My girlfriends parents own a holiday home in Orlando which is where we plan to start our American road trip from around July 2007. To start with we plan heading South for the Keys, Miami and the Everglades and then move back North and start a full circle of America
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Sounds like an exciting holiday. How do you get a six month visa for such a visit?
    I'm pretty sure that our best option is to fly to Florida, using the home as a base, collect a hire car for about a week and look to buy a relatively cheap car for the duration which we can sell upon returning home.
    Using Florida as a base sounds good, but as you can tell from reading the threads on this Forum about purchasing a road trip-worthy car, it is questionable whether purchasing is worth the hassle.
    So I'm trying to find information about buying a car in Florida. I understand that I need an International Drivers Permit, which I've found out about here - although they are only valid for 3 months and costs only £5.50 each. But what happens after the 3 months is up?
    We have some links that can be helpful for international visitors, but you really ought to check with your consulate, as they tend to keep current with all of the regulation and laws.
    I've heard that car insurance in USA differs to the UK. Do you purchase a vehicle first, then arrange insurance like we do in the UK?
    That is generally correct. I am not an insurance broker and I really can't make a recommendation on most of this stuff.
    I'm budgeting $2000 which should buy a half-decent car, plus the insurance on top of that.
    This I CAN address. You will not be able to find ANY car that is capable of a six month roadtrip in the USA for less than $4,000 USD.

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Along those same lines...

    I would very much agree with Mark that $2k just isn't enough to buy a car reliable enough for a roadtrip of this magnitude.

    We've been discussing the pros/cons of buying a car for a trip in this thread, and I think much of what is discussed there will apply to you.

    $3-4,000 is the minimum I would consider spending on a car for a trip, and that will likely be for a car that is 8-10 years old, so you'd want to have additional funds in case something happens along the way.

    Also keep in mind that even on a $3-4,000 car, you could pretty easily be spending another $500 by the time you tack on sales taxes, plate and registration fees, not to mention smog tests or other inspections that may be required in Florida.

  4. #4
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default International Driving Permits

    Here's the scoop on International Driving Permit for driving in the US. UK visitors do not need an IDP since their full national license should be written in English.

    From the website of the US Embassy in London:
    "Will my British driver's license be adequate for renting a car?

    The U.S.A. has an agreement with most countries whereby the renter's full national driving license may be used for a period of up to one year in the U.S.A. This applies to the full U.K. driving license. Provisional licenses are not acceptable. Most car rental companies require that you have held a full license for at least one year, regardless of age. The minimum age for renting a car is normally 21 although it can be as high as 25. Often an additional charge is levied on drivers who are under 25 years of age.
    International Driving Permits are generally not required in the U.S.A but it is helpful to carry one. If they are taken, they are only valid in conjunction with a full national driving license. They should not be accepted on their own. It is recommended that drivers who possess a full national license that is in script other than Roman, i.e. Cyrillic or Arabic, should also obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP).
    Young drivers may wish to obtain an International Driving Permit to use as a photo ID, in place of a passport, for entry into bars and nightclubs where the minimum age for entry is 21 years.
    If you have endorsements on your license, do check with your rental company that these do not present a problem.

    We suggest that you check the requirements of your prospective automobile rental company by contacting them direct."



    As long as you have a full UK license, you will have no problems driving in the USA.



    Have a safe trip!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Good Clarification!

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Brad
    Here's the scoop on International Driving Permit for driving in the US. UK visitors do not need an IDP
    Brad, good to know -- thanks for the post.

  6. #6

    Default

    I got an IDP for my most recent trip just in case there was any questioning of the fact that I still don't have a UK photo licence, just the old-style paper kind; I hoped the IDP would look more official and ease any problems in that respect, but in fact no one ever even looked at it when I offered it for inspection, just the regular DVLA licence.

    However you should still think about getting one for the entertainment value; they're hillarious. They look like something the forger would make in the film The Great Escape. In this day of concerns over terrorism and with the fuss in the UK over ID cards with biometric data, plus fingerprint scanning on entry to the US etc, I fully expected when I went to get mine that I'd have a retina scan, a small microchip implanted in my neck and so on, in order to get my IDP.

    But they're like wartime papers: the pages look photocopied, the cover is a strange dark green recycled card affair, and the photo gets held in with pritt stick. The guy actually said to me as he was assembling it "you could make one yourself and save a few quid."

    Anyway, this is a bit of a diversion, have fun on your trip!

  7. #7
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Translation, Please?

    The IDP was created to translate the information on a Drivers Permit into other languages. Your IDP should have had your personal information written in several different languages such as French, Arabic, Cyrillic, etc. It really was never ment to be a secure form of ID. Thats why passports are considered ID's, they tend to be much more secure.

    Might take this time to remind our visitors to get your Passport soon for those weekend getaways to Mexico or Canada. I know I'll be getting mine in the next few months. I don't travel often, but my parents do only live about 100 miles from the Washington/British Columbia border. They are going to be required to reenter the US sometime in the next few months, unless they pushed it back again!

    -Brad

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