Firstly I am pleased that I have found such a great website, with everyone as enthusiastic about the USA (and travelling across it!) as I am. I've spent a while looking at previous threads and found some good tips, but it seems there is a such huge amount of information here it'll take days to get through all of it!
Anyway, my sister and I are going to the USA this summer from roughly 20 July to 15 August. I wish it were longer but that's the maximum possible time we can do it for this summer unfortunately! We're spending almost all of this time in the west, provisionally our route would be San Francisco-LA-San Diego-Las Vegas, with things along the way. We've been to the west before so we have a fair idea of what we want to see this time round. Originally we wanted to hire a car to get around but having done a bit of research it seems that for most companies the cost for under 25's is outrageous: the base fee plus $25 per day per driver, just for the drivers being under 25 years of age! This is annoying; at the time of rental I would be 22 and my sister 23. There's no way one of us is doing ALL the driving, so it unfortunately means if we hire a car we will be paying $50 a day to do it.
We really want to hire a car because as far as I can tell it's the best way to get around the USA and also the freedom of being on the open road there is such an attractive prospect. Well, we thought maybe between big cities we could just get amtrak/greyhound, but when we get to Las Vegas and beyond and want to see the national parks/stunning scenery, we thought maybe a hire cire would be the easiest way to do it. I'm told its possible to do these areas using bus/train, but I don't think it'll allow enough freedom, and also we want to hire a car for some duration of the trip, and it makes sense for this to be the portion which will be spent outside cities! Hiring a car for this portion will mean roughly 10 days which we're just about prepared to pay for if it means the freedom of being in our own vehicle.
This has been a fairly long post, so I will finish. I suppose my questions would be, does anyone know of any car rental companies that are particularly good for rental to under 25's, with regards to money and just generally making it fairly easy to do? Is there any other advice anyone could give? Can anyone give me assurance that hiring the car is indeed the best way to see America? Or do people think that I am too intent on hiring a car and other methods may suit better?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I can't descibe how excited I am about being back in the USA, I've always been heavily interested in the whole American culture and way of life, and seeing how it differs from us in the UK. This will be my third time there, and first time without a parent with me. Less than four months to go!!