Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. Default New York > Los Angeles (Roadtrip, Help!)

    Hi,

    I'm from the UK. Me and a friend are planning a trip across america. We are hoping to leave around Jan/Feb next year (2009).

    We want to fly to New York, stay there a few nights and then buy a 2nd hand car and spend about 2 months or so driving across to Los Angeles, hitting loads of destinations on the way, staying with friends, etc.
    We plan to finish up in LA. Sell our car, then fly back home from LAX to London.

    Just wanted to ask some advice regarding all of that. For example, petrol cost? Considering we will be on the road for about three months. (Not driving the whole time). We'll spend a lot of time in some locations, not using the car. Also, is it a good idea to buy 2nd hand car? I just heard it was sometimes better as it can cost a lot of money to hire a car, and we want to be on the road for a long time, with no restrictions.

    So, any information you could give us, that would be great. We are planning to save a minimum of £2500 each. So, about $5000 each.

    That gives us $10,000 between us for the whole trip.
    But that'll have to cover flights, food, petrol, car, etc.

    Accomodation, we dont mind sleeping in the car, or camping, or crappy motels. And we will be stopping off with friends in some places.

    So...what do you think?

    Thanks,

    David

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default 2 or 3?

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Which are you looking at, a 2 month trip or a 3 month trip? You make reference to doing both, but the difference is pretty substantial.

    At 2 months, I think it might be possible to do what you are thinking, but at 3 months, I don't think you'd have enough money.

    At 2 months, you'll probably be better off renting a car, but at the 3 month point, you'll probably be in the US long enough for buying a car to be worthwhile. Of course any time you buy a car, you'll face a tremendous number of hurdles and red tape. When you factor in taxes, insurance, depreciation, and of course maintenance buying a car isn't always the deal it might seem at first.

    I'm not sure you'll have enough money up front to buy a car as it is either. I'd guess you'll be looking at about $1000 for a pair of airline tickets, flying into one city and back from another. For a car worthy of an extended cross country trip, you'll be looking at at least $4000, plus at least another $1000 for taxes, insurance, and repairs. That only leaves you with $4000. $2000 more would be a good estimate for staying mostly in campgrounds, with occational motel stays over 2 months. Plus, another $1000 for fuel, only leaves you with $1000 left to eat and otherwise live on for 2 months. You'll get some money back when you sell the car (figure about 50% of what you paid for it, since you'll likely have to sell directly to a dealer), but that won't help you when you are on the road.

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

    Default May need to save a bit longer.

    Welcome to the Roadtrip America forums!

    Quote Originally Posted by GravityDave View Post
    We want to fly to New York, stay there a few nights and then buy a 2nd hand car and spend about 2 months or so driving across to Los Angeles, hitting loads of destinations on the way, staying with friends, etc. We plan to finish up in LA. Sell our car, then fly back home from LAX to London.
    This is really difficult. If you have friends in the US, you may need to buy the car in the state they live so they can help you with registration, an address for insurance, and other problems you'll need to overcome. This discussion should help you understand the obstacles and give you some ideas how to resolve them.

    Most of us around here seem to agree that you will need to spend a bare minimum of $4000 to get a car that is road-worthy for a long trip like you're planning. On top of the purchase price, don't be surprised if you need to pay for some minor repairs, purchase new tires, etc. And then there's taxes, registration and insurance costs.

    As a comparison, I plugged in a 2 month rental at Avis (New York to LA) and it was only $3200 with taxes and drop-off fees.

    Just wanted to ask some advice regarding all of that. For example, petrol cost? Considering we will be on the road for about three months. (Not driving the whole time). We'll spend a lot of time in some locations, not using the car. Also, is it a good idea to buy 2nd hand car? I just heard it was sometimes better as it can cost a lot of money to hire a car, and we want to be on the road for a long time, with no restrictions
    Gas is averaging about $3.28/gallon right now but that will surely change a lot between now and your trip.


    So, any information you could give us, that would be great. We are planning to save a minimum of £2500 each. So, about $5000 each.
    That gives us $10,000 between us for the whole trip.
    But that'll have to cover flights, food, petrol, car, etc.
    Accomodation, we dont mind sleeping in the car, or camping, or crappy motels. And we will be stopping off with friends in some places.

    So...what do you think?
    I don't think your budget is going to stretch long enough. Especially if you buy a car.

    You might check out this post for some tips on how to come up with your budget. Your trip is 2800 straight-through. You could easily double or triple this over 2 months. I'd figure at least triple when you're computing your fuel budget.

    Anyway, don't be scared off from doing this. Just do some thinking about how to budget this or save more if you need to. And let us help you keep planning.

  4. Default

    Thanks for your quick replies and advice.

    We thought it would be fun to road trip in an old banger, but of course, I was always thinking, if its old and cheap, it might not be reliable. We will consider a rental car. Can you get some cool rental cars? We are both 21 and 23 at the moment. So by the time we go over, will only be a year older. Is this OK to rent a car?

    We're saying three months at the moment, but that's only because it's the maximum we can stay there, visa wise. Plus we thought three months would give us enough time to see everything we want at our own pace. Finishing with a nice blow out in vegas!

    But, if it pushes the price up too much, with living and car cost/rental, then we'd be open to two months. I mean...two months is still a long time.

    We'll start putting a route together on google map soon, a rough one, of places we want to hit and things we want to see. Maybe you could give us some more advice once you see that.

    Main thing now though, is just the car rental vs. buying and if we're staying for 2 or 3 months.

    I think we would only stay at proper hotels/hostels in New York, Vegas and LA. I've been to New York three times, so know it well. I know a cheap hostel there. But then i'll just have to find some places in Vegas and LA. Not so bothered about LA. But it would be nice to stay in a cool place in Vegas.

    Whilst on the road, we'll be roughing it all the way...

    Anyway, thanks for your help, i'll keep this thread going and we'll keep planning.
    Any more advice you have, it'll be great if you could just chuck it on here.

    Cheers,

    David

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Coming Back Down to Earth

    I did a search similar to what Judy did and found a cheaper two month one-way deal (Remember, these are all estimates, as many car hire firms won't even accept a reservation this far in advance) of $2400 with Budget for a compact car. BUT (and it's a big but) that quote assumes a single driver who is 25. You have 2 drivers, both under 24, so add $3/day to add the second driver (You're in luck - picking the car up in New York helps a great deal in this respect, usually it's $10/day). And the really bad news is that Budget puts on a surcharge of $115/day/driver since you're both under 24. That adds a whopping $13,800 over two months. I think it's clear that Budget would rather not rent to you.

    Avis gave me an estimate of $3155 for two months one-way JFK to LAX for a compact before starting to tack on extra fees; $25/day/driver for being under 25, making $3000 extra, and while I didn't see a specific additional driver charge, I'm sure there would be one, so another $200 or so for a total price of $6400 just to rent a small car for two months. And I can pretty much guarantee you that no one will rent a "cool" car to two underage drivers. I just wish I could offer some good news or encouragement, but there really isn't any. You may need to put this trip off for a few years to come of age and save some more or seriously cut back on what you can do. But still, it's better to find out now.

    AZBuck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Ouch! Those extra fees!

    Thanks for pointing those out, AZBuck. I forgot to think about their age and how it effects the price.

    With those extra fees, buying a car seems to make more sense. Maybe you should see if your friends in the US will help you buy a car after all. Depending on where they live, you might need to change your route to start near where they are but this might make things more economical after all. You might try scouting prices out at someplace like Autotrader to get an idea of prices for different types of cars. There are other online services as well so you have other options.

    I still think your budget will be tight but if you can save a bit more, or wait longer for the trip so you can save more, that might be your best option.

    You can also travel in the US via Greyhound or Amtrak if the car rental/buying isn't going to work for you. Of course, that's not the same as a classic roadtrip with your own wheels but it's still a fun trip.

Similar Threads

  1. Los Angeles to New York City in 3 weeks
    By Kelly12 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-31-2007, 12:46 AM
  2. Micro Roadtrip New York - Niagara Falls
    By Asbjorn in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-05-2007, 09:46 AM
  3. Baseball Trip
    By SK2 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 11-21-2006, 12:20 AM
  4. roadtrip California to New York
    By steadyeddie in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-06-2005, 06:32 AM
  5. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12-19-2001, 07:20 AM

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