Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. Default Swede under 21 - should I bother?

    Well, this is the situation. Me and my traveling buddies are all under 21, we're 19 to be exact. And we are all very eager to explore the states and we would preferably want to do this behind the wheel (even if we're openminded for other possible options of traveling too). But as we all here know we'd need to be 21 to rent a car, so we first thought we'd buy a cheap car once we arrive in the US. But after some research on the Internet this turned out to be pretty much impossible since there's apparently no way we could get an insurance without a US post adress. I've seen in other threads by people with similar problems that people suggest that they could write their friend's post adress on the insurance paper, we've got no friends in America so that's not an option.

    So what I wonder is basically whether there's anyway around this or if you've got any tips of other ways to travel through USA OR if we better not bother at all before we're 21+. We're planning to stay for a longer time and our budget is around $10 000 each, maybe more, but cheap options are what we primarily look for.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default Not easy

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    As you've already discovered, the US isn't the easiest place to travel for young adults. Beyond getting a car, your other options would basically be bus and train, neither of which is perfect, but they are at least viable options.

    As far as renting a car, there is one option for obtaining a US address. There are a variety of private companies that offer a mailbox service. You'd essentially be paying for a Post Office box with a street address, but these companies will forward your mail to other locations too, if you need, so it could get the job done. It also gets into a bit of a legal gray area, but it is an option worth considering.

    You might try looking into leaseback options, like Adventures on Wheels. I'm not sure what their policies are regarding age, but they might be able to help you. We've had a few people who've used that company and report back with positive feeback, but again, I'm not sure what their age policies are.

  3. Default

    First off, thanks for your post.

    I have previously visited the site of the company which you recommended and it indeed sounded as a good option until I came across this under "Required Documents": "Proof of US residential address and a US drivers license."

    And also, yea train and bus might be an option. Here in Europe we've got something called "InterRail card" which you can buy (quite cheap) and then go by train unlimited through all Europe for a certain period of time, but I've never heard of something like that in America, anyone know anything about this?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default Amtrak

    Amtrak does have an offer for 30 days of unlimited rail service for one price, but its only available to those from outside of North America, so it doesn't get much press. Its certainly an option, just be aware that US and Canadian rail is far more limiting that what's offered in Europe.

    I'd double check with Adventures on Wheels, I'm quite sure that some of the people who have used it are from outside the US.

  5. Default

    I checked out that train pass and it looked quite promising even if it was a little more expensive than the one here in Europe. And I wonder if you can travel with Amtrak through the whole country without any problems and long waits?

    Also, I mailed Adventure on Wheels and asked them whether there's any way for a non-American citizen to use their Buy with Buyback service, and I'm currently awaiting response.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default Train Limitations

    The biggest problem with trains in the US is that they are going to put some significant limitations on where you can go. Trains just don't go as many places as they do in Europe. For example, there are some pretty vast areas of the American West that simply aren't served by passenger rail.

    That's not to say that you shouldn't explore this option, it just means you will have to approach things differently. I think you'd have to really take a look at the places you can go, and build your trip that way, instead of listing off a bunch of places you might want to see and then building a route around it.

    As far as waits, long distance trips generally run on a daily schedule, so you shouldn't have to wait more than a day to catch the next train. Trains run a more frequently in more urban areas, particualry the DC-Boston corridor, which is the one part of the country where the train service is most widely used.

  7. Default

    I've found this, and it looks a lot more promising than train:

    Any thoughts?
    Last edited by AZBuck; 01-01-2008 at 08:36 AM. Reason: Preferred link format

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default America by Bus

    Yes, that is a good option, perhaps the only one given the cost of renting a car when under 21 and the sad state of America's train system outside the northeast corridor. Greyhound is the sole nationwide bus network here although several regional carriers band together under the Trailways umbrella as well. Busses generally run on time, deliver you to downtowns typically, and are almost the only way to reach smaller cities and towns by public transportation. My own experiences with them are few and long ago, but were invariably pleasant. They do relieve you from all the hassles of driving and let everyone in your party enjoy the scenery. The Discovery Pass that you're looking at would also give you the chance to get off the bus if some small town along the way proves interesting. Be sure to get a comprehensive schedule and ask about flagging down busses en route. Given the difficulties you've encountered so far in setting up transportation, I think this is definitely a viable option.

    AZBuck

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default not perfect

    Greyhound is certainly an option worth considering, although personally, it would be close to a last resort for me.

    Since Americans have cars on such a widespread level, long distance bus service really suffers. Its generally the poor who use the system, and as such, the system isn't kept up to its full potential. Bus depots, for example, are almost always located in pretty shady parts of town and often are in pretty rough shape. In a sort of ironic twist, the Bus system in Mexico is actually in much better shape and is a much more pleasurable experience than what is available in the US.

    There is also the aspect of travel time on a bus. Since they stop so frequently, the travel time between two points is often double that of a regular car trip.

    I'm not saying I would completely discount the option in your situation, as you are discovering, traveling under the age of 25 if you don't have a car already available can be quite a challenge in the US, and Buses are one of the few viable options for someone in your shoes. However, personally - and this is 100% my personal opinion - I would rather base my trip around the train system (with its own limitations and problems) and then use buses to supplement that when I need it, and opposed to going cross country by bus.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Maybe you should just bicycle around?

    Just joking....kind of.

    I think train travel is far more enjoyable. But, like you've discovered, our trains go to limited areas and, quite often, they're going to go right past someplace you might want to visit. Busses aren't as enjoyable of a means of travel but you'll have more options of places to go. It's a dilemma.

    However, I was looking at this page and I don't think the travel times are that much more than they would be if you were driving in your own car. I was actually quite surprised. Seattle, WA to Vancouver, BC is 4 hours via Greyhound. It's about 2-1/2 by car (depending on border crossing time). Seattle to Los Angeles is 28 hours. By car, it's about 18-20. So, really, it does take longer but not as much longer as I would have thought.

    And if you have a pass, you can travel on this list of smaller bus lines to other locations for no extra charge.

    I'm certainly not familiar with all bus depot locations but the ones I'm aware of aren't in all that awful of areas. I'm sure some will be but I wouldn't assume this is true of all of them.

    I really think the bus if your best option the more I look at it. Of course, nothing beats driving your own car but, since that's out for you, I think the bus is a better option than I would have given it credit for before really looking over their website. It does have its drawbacks but as long as you are prepared for them, it should work out OK for you. I do agree that you might want to use the train for parts of your trip as well. Mixing it up should give you a pretty good trip.

    Also, really look over the map because it's not going to take you to some of the best areas in the US, like the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone national parks, for example.

Similar Threads

  1. Should I bother with a handeld CB radio?
    By Sarge137 in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 04-20-2007, 05:57 PM
  2. Swede planning road trip in the US in Jan 06
    By emelie in forum Saving Money on Your Trip
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-08-2005, 02:49 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES