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  1. Default Help for an Englishman!!!

    Hello, me and 3 friends will be doing a road trip across the States from Los Angeles to New York from June to August. We have a minimum of 6 weeks, but probably longer cos we can change our flight out of New York without much hassle. Anyways, we were gonna do it by bus, then by renting a car, but now we've decided we're gonna buy a used car in LA. Just wondering how much it would all cost, budget wise. If we had $2000 for a car, what else do we need? Fuel obviously, but I don't really know how insurance and tax and that works in USA! So if anyone could help me out with the figures, or point me too a few websites that can help, it would be much appreciated!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default $2K might be a tad low for good quality

    Quote Originally Posted by renegade2304 View Post
    Hello, me and 3 friends will be doing a road trip across the States from Los Angeles to New York from June to August.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    If we had $2000 for a car, what else do we need?
    I would be a little concerned about spending $2000 and then attempting to travel for six weeks. If you have $2000 budged for the car -- I would do a rental -- then if anything goes wrong mechanically, you just get a new one.
    but I don't really know how insurance and tax and that works in USA!
    Here is a brief over-view on insurance matters and there are hundreds of tips about lower-cost roadtripping in this section of the Forum.


  3. Default Renting costs too much

    We had a serious look at renting, but it just works out too expensive. All 4 of us are under 25, which massively hikes the price up what with extra taxes. And some places don't allow additional drivers to be under 25. We worked out that it would be worth it if we only had one of us registered to drive the car, but I don't think thats at all fair on the one guy who has to drive the other three around everywhere. And we really, really don't want to spend 6 weeks sat on a bus. How much do you think we'd be looking at paying then if we bought a car and drove for 6 weeks, overall?

  4. #4

    Default I have checked this...

    I have been talking to guy from Sweden about this, who bought a car and travelled around for nearly six months. I was first thinking about buying a car for a six week trip, but it was much cheaper to rent.

    If you´re going to buy a car, you really want a good car. $5-7000 is a minimum for a car you can trust a bit, with good tires, good brakes, good engine and so. If you´re don´t understand cars at all, then they will fool you.
    Even this, calculate with definetly some minor repairs, or a small chance of total breakdown. Then, after 10.000 miles or so, a car dealer will give you $2500-5000 for this car, beacause he is a businessman, he has to do a lot of service before he can sell car, the mileage is much bigger and he knows that your airplane will leave soon.

    The insurances in US is a kind of circus, but somewhere around $150-200/month are common rates for non U.S. residents. I don´t know if you have insurances in UK that pays for your responsible in accidents outside UK? Otherwize you need that too, for not beeing sued for a fortune if you cause an accident.

    Bernt Bergkvist
    Stockholm, Sweden

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default A big expense

    Its impossible to say how much exactly you'll need, but I think you'll find that the costs of buying a car will make that option rather prohibative.

    I agree that $2k just isn't enough money to spend on a car if you want to count on it running for a 6 week trip. With that kind of money, you're probably going to be looking at a 15 year old car with 150,000 or more miles on it. I think you really need at least $4k to purchase a car that you can count - and even that wouldn't guarentee avoiding a mechanical breakdown.

    More importantly, while under $25 rental fees are high, insurance premiums for males under 25, espeically those who don't have a US Driving record are just as bad. There's also the issue of taxes and registration fees that you'll have to sink into a car you purchase.

    If you are at least 21 years old, I think you should be able to find a company that will rent you a car where the extra charges won't be quite so bad. If you are under 21, unfortuantly, busses and trains will probably be your best option.

  6. Default Have you checked with your UK insurance carrier?

    renegade2304 -- I'm assuming you have a UK driver's license? And have you checked with your UK auto insurance carrier? A lot of the major insurance carriers will provide coverage for you while you are driving elsewhere, or provide coverage for a nominal amount (particularly if you have a good driving record). You should give them a call and see what they offer.

    Similarly, if you're a member of a UK Auto Club (for roadside assistance and the like), then you should check to see if they reciprocal rights with a US Auto Club. This just adds some additional resources for you, but might come in handy.

    As for the issue of buying versus renting -- I think you need to check all the options on this. There are multiple car rental companies in the US, and at least one which will sell you a car with a pre-determined buy-back price. (You'll have to search these out). You can also check out the price of used cars at your starting point using several of the internet auto sales data bases. (,, and are some of the ones I found in about 30 seconds of looking). (If it asks for a ZIP code, that's the postal code you want to start searching in..) I did a quick look around my locale, and there are cars available for $2K or less, but they are older cars (early 90's and earlier) and typically have 100,000 miles or more on them.

    I think the trade between these options is both price, but also reliability of transportation. If you'll be going 6000 miles, you do need to consider that you may need to do things like replace the tires on a used car at some point, service the vehicle, etc. With a rental car, you'll be operating a newer car and the rental company typically arranges for any routine service and provides any assistance needed.

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