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  1. #1

    Default Young Person...from the UK!

    Hey all,
    Im in the UK and am planning a trip to the states for the end of the year (December 08 - Feb 09). I will be travelling with a friend.
    Our original plan was to fly to Boston then hire a car to travel around abit ending up in New York (dropping the car off there), where we'll stay for a few weeks. We were then going to fly over to the West Coast, San Fran, and hire a car to drive to places like Vegas and LA (and possibly venture to Mexico if time allows)

    1) We are both under 25 therefore being quoted silly surcharges on hire cars.
    2) As we would like to drop the car off a different location than we collected from, this is subject to further surcharges.
    These make for an expensive transportation method!

    Solution: Buy a car!
    Although this wont make much sense for the East Coast part of our trip as we'll be in New York for most of the time (i'm thinking car+NY = not fun driving....from experience of driving around London!).
    Therefore I would only be looking at buying a car for our 'propper road trip' of the west coast.

    So a few questions..
    1) Is this idea sensible? Obviously I would be hoping to sell it when I am done with it...which will be when we end up in LA (for a flight to sydney!). So hopefully I will get back most of my initial outlay.

    2) I am not sure of any laws currently making this unfeasible..aslong as I have a full valid UK license. Can anyone comment?

    3) How much would I be looking at spending for a used car? I appreciate this is a 'how long is a peice of string' question but can anyone advice a sensible amount on buying a fairly reliable used car that wont fall apart as soon as i've shaken hands with the dealer!
    (I base this question on an episode of Top Gear (Popular UK car show) whereby they had the challenge of buying a used car in Florida for $1000. They did not get nice cars!)
    Also, any car makes that are generally well regarded as being good value second hand?

    4) Where are the best places to buy from? As I said, I will be looking at buying one in San Francisco...any recommendations on dealers, websites, forums etc?

    I think that covers most of my queries.
    I obviously realise that the simplest solution would be to fly or use public transport where I want to get to but...well you know what the prefered option is!

    I am glad I stumbled upon this Forum, the atmosphere seems great with a really positive, helpful and friendly vibe.
    I hope someone can spare me a few moments to make me less confused! Haha!

    Thank you all.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Not as easy as you'd like

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Unfortuantly, this idea isn't as easy as you think. Many people have asked this question, but I don't know that we've had anyone post that they tried to do it with any success.

    This thread is one of the better discussions we've had about the red tape you have to deal with when trying to buy a car as a foreign resident.

    The reality is, I don't think you'll be able to find a way to make this economical for a trip that only lasts a few weeks. By the time you factor in costs for taxes, registration, insurance, smog tests, etc (all of which are things that must be paid for on a year to year type basis) plus the time it takes to process those things and get through the red tape plus the amount of money you'll lose in the resale (since you'll likely have to sell it very cheap just to get rid of it before you get on the plane) plus extra money for potential repairs, I just don't see this as likely being a real feasable option for your trip.

    Despite the surcharges, I think your best bet will be to use public transit in the northeast and in San Francisco or Las Vegas, and then rent a car, doing a round trip to reduce your costs as much as possible.

  3. #3


    That wasn't the answer I was hoping for! Doh! Never mind.

    Thanks very much for your reply. I think the only other option to worth considering is to get in contact with family/friends in the states and look at them buying a car on my behalf!

    If anyone else has any further input i'd be most gratefull.


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