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!