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Thread: Car Shipping

  1. Default Vehicle help for someone under 21?

    I'm planning a massive road trip through the USA next year. I'm planning to visit every state and spend about 5/6 months in the country.

    I have a route planned that starts in San Diego and finishes in Florida and I'm trying to get a handle on costs and stuff like that so I can save this year.

    But I've just found that it's pretty much impossible to rent a car if you're under 21? I'm only going to be 20 when I arrive and I imagine the cost of renting for that long is pretty high anyway. At that point I will had my UK license for 2 years, and I haven't had any accidents yet and, hopefully, won't have had by then!

    If anyone could give me any info at all about buying cheap, used cars when I get there, or if there is a way for me to rent for that long (or at all!) it would be really great.

    Thanks a lot!

  2. #2


    Welcome to the RoadTrip America forum! It's amazing the number of Brits on here these days. It's probably due to the excellent exchange rate but it's great to see. As you'll discover, the US is a vast and varied place so it's impossible not to find something you love about the place.

    The subject of buying a car comes up frequently on the forums and it is something that, unfortunately, is a real problem. You cannot register the vehicle without a US mailing address (some people say they 'borrow' the address of a friend - is that an option?) and insurance is very very hard to source. I would personally put all my energies into finding some way to rent a car. Even if it means putting the trip back a year which I appreciate that you're not gonna want to do.

  3. Default

    Yeah, it looks like that's my only option. Especially because renting a car for that means I'll probably have to save for the extra year anyway!

    Do you happen to know anywhere I can look into renting a car from? Even if I do have to put it back a year, I'd still like to know the kind of cost I'm looking at.

  4. #4


    My friend - she is still only 22 now - rented a car three or four years ago. She rang the rental company direct (she didn't tell me she was ringing the States when she asked to use my phone!) and they did everything for her. I'm not sure who she used but I'd start with the majors such as Hertz, Dollar, Alamo, etc. You will have to contact them in any case as you will be looking to have the car for longer than their standard maximum of 90 days which all their contracts are designed around.

  5. Default hey, useful

    you say your starting in san diego, im from ireland and im 19 and i bought a car in sandiego for $700, was great, and had no trouble took me to vancouver and back. insureance is only about 100 a month and if you register the car in the same state you bought it in then its only like 20/30 bucks. and with registering the car i just put down my irish address and they sent the title to ireland, i didnt need it for anything, except for when i came to sell it and i just promised to the buyer that i would send it over to him as soon as i got home. i sold the car for 350 in a bit of a rush to catch my flight and then sent him the title when i got home to ireland. if you wanna chat a bit more about it, my email is {email removed} because ill never be on this site again. oh and i think the place in san diego was called something like "sandiego hot rods" or some thing, then and about 10 cars all for under $1000

    Moderator Note: We don't like email responses on the forum: Read This to Find Out Why
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 01-08-2008 at 10:01 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default highly questionable

    While I'm not completely certain that john is a legit poster, I will say I find the claims highly suspect.

    I have bought cars for under $1000 dollars, but they have never been the cars that I would have been comfortable taking on a long distance road trip.

    I've also registered a car in California, and I can assure you that it doesn't cost just $20-30. It was closer to $100, plus another $50 or so for a smog inspection.

    I also find it unlikely that any state DMV will send a title overseas, and they did, you wouldn't want them to because...

    Without a title you don't own the car, so if you find someone who will buy the car without the title (or the promise that it would be sent later), then you've probably found a chop shop or someone else who has a habit of dealing with stolen goods.

  7. #7

    Default car rental

    I'm about 99.999% positive that no one will rent to you if you are under 21, sorry. :( When I was 21-24 though, I rented from Dollar, National and Fox with no problems. The only thing is you are charged extra per day, I usually paid between $15-$20 a day on top of the regular rental fee. Last I remember, they did NOT require that you buy an extra insurance for being underage but some laws might have changed or perhaps another car rental company will offer rentals but charge the extra insurance AND the "cost per day" of being underage.

    Do you have any family or friends in the states that could you could borrow a car from, or perhaps have them rent the car for you and just add you as an additional driver? I think as long as the main renter is over 21, they might not be too picky about the additional drivers as long as they have a legal drivers license?

    If that doesn't work, then yeah you might have to wait a year. Sorry about that, when you are really looking forward to something it's hard to get shot down. :( Good luck!
    Last edited by isthistakentoo; 01-16-2008 at 11:21 AM. Reason: Oops, forgot to clarify that the $15-$20 a day is on top of the regular rental fee!

  8. Default Car Shipping


    I'm planning a road trip for 2010, visting each state and lasting between 5 and 6 months. I'm a single British female, under the age of 25, so the rates for renting a car are astronomical!

    I've been looking into other methods of transportation such as greyhound buses but that doesn't really offer me the freedom I'd like. One option that I've come across is having my car that I own here shipped to New York.

    It costs about £650 ($1300) and obviously, I'd have to make sure my insurance covered me and still pay for gas and things, but does this sound like a feasible idea? Does anyone know if there would be any major problems driving a British car in America?

    The car's fairly new, 5 or so years old, and it's in good condition. At the moment, it's definitely the best budget option I've found. The closest other thing is a buy/buyback scheme that would cost in excess of $7000 with my liability fees for being female and under 25.

    Any advice/thoughts would be appreciated!

  9. #9


    im in the same situation as you, im planning my own trip. my first thought was to go next year, ill be 23 then, so still "underage". the idea of waiting till im 25 isnt great, but at the moment my only option. i might just bite the bullet and put out the extra cash and just go, who say im going to be free enough when im 25 to do this kind of thing. id not thought of shipping my car over, didnt think itd be that reasonable either, i bet insurance would cost a firtune mind, hehe. would have to buy a better car first though if i did. the only thing that'd worry me, is driving a right hand drive car in the us, probably mess with my head, dont fancy having an accident. unless i was to buy an american car registered to the uk, that could work...

    ive only planned on a 3 month trip, as i thought thats all the tourist visa would allow, do you know somethig i dont about staying for more than 90 days as you say your planning a 5/6 month trip?

    where abouts in the uk are you from then? dont meet any people my sort of age that want to do big road trips like this where im from (walsall, just outside b'ham)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default quite possibly

    I don't think you'd have any major problems driving a british car in the US. The driving on the "wrong" side of the car will probably get you a few interesting looks, but that's about it. I would think your insurance in the UK would still be valid in the US, but you'll certainly want to check with your insurance company.

    I would check with Customs, however, just to make sure you follow the proper procedures so you don't get hit with a variety of import taxes. I'd also make sure the shipping company is fully insured and has a solid reputation.

    This could be a very feasable option considering the length of your trip. Please let us know if you decide to move forward with this option, since we haven't had many people who've tried this option on the forum.

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