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  1. #1

    Default New York - San Francisco

    Me and two friends from the UK are going road-tripping this summer before we all go off to University :D Don't even ask how much hastle it has been to try and rent a car being only 18 years old! Think we've got one sorted now though, hopefully anyway seeing as though we've paid for it!

    Our route is:

    London, UK
    New York, USA
    Philadelphia, PA
    Washington, DC
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Columbus, OH
    Indianapolis, IN
    Chicago, IL
    Davenport, IA
    Des Moines, IA
    Kansas City, MO
    Salina, KS
    Goodland, KS
    Denver, CO
    Cheyenne, WY
    Rock Springs, WY
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Cedar City, UT
    Las Vegas, NV
    Lake Havasu City, AZ
    San Diego, CA
    Los Angeles, CA
    Santa Maria, CA
    Salinas, CA
    San Francisco, CA
    London, UK

    With London being flights of course :) Almost managed to make it to Washington DC for 4th of July, but decided we would be better off staying in New York for it than rushing our first few places.

    Hoping to stay in mostly campsites, and then motels maybe once or twice a week. Staying in most places for one or two nights, with the exception of New York and San Francisco where we will stay for about 5 nights each.

    Wish me luck, as I've never driven an automatic car before, and never driven on the right hand side of the road before! Or maybe I should wish you luck if you happen to be on the same road at the same time as me!

  2. #2

    Default Stay in a tipi

    Just about to start Googling for this now, but does anyone have any experience or knowledge of where it is possible to stay in a tipi for a night?

    Thanks [::]
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-13-2009 at 09:34 AM. Reason: Merged - Please don't start multiple threads to ask questions about the same trip

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default how'd you pull it off

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    Well, first congrats for finding a way to rent a car for a trip like this at age 18. Please share with us how you pulled this off, and how much its going to cost. This is usually very difficult and extremely expensive if you can even find a way to make it work.

    As far as your desire to stay in a teepee, there are only a couple of them that I'm aware of. Two of the "Wigwam motels" are located along Route 66, one in Holbrok Arizona and the other near San Bernardino. There is also one located near Mammoth Cave in Cave City Kentucky.

  4. #4


    Hey, thanks for the response. I e-mailed a few car rental companies, and got about a 1/3 success rate of them saying that I could rent a car being only 18 (bearing in mind that I am renting in New York). I managed to finalise a reservation with National for £716 (GBP) plus a $199 (USD) one way drop charge and a $49.37 (USD) per day young driver surcharge. I rang National to book this so I was 100% sure that the information I had received was correct. I have paid the £716, but I have to pay the one way drop charge and young driver fees locally, so I have visions of them turning me away when I get there. But I have been told explicity by e-mail and by telephone that I can rent being 18 so hopefully everything will go to plan.

    Thanks for the info on tipis, I will look those places up now as Google isn't too helpful on this issue!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Some advice - do not overextend yourselves. Being from a (comparatively) small country, you may not have a concept of how large this country is. You may think it looks like a relatively easy drive from one place to another, but you need to actually look at the miles involved. I would recommend you keep your daily drive down to 500 miles or less - definitely less if you are using secondary roads and/or you are sightseeing on the way. You also need to determine if each place you want to stay will rent to people under 21. The only affordable places in safe areas of large cities will be hostels, and they are not all that common.

    Driving an automatic is a no brainer. You put it in "D" and leave it there, step on the gas to go, step on the brake to stop. Rest your left leg and don't try to step on the nonexistent clutch pedal.

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

    Default how long

    Out of curiousity, how long are you planning to be on the road for this trip.

    New York state does require rental companies to rent to people under age 21, so that will help you, but the $50 per day charge is usually too expensive to make it a very good option for most people. Some companies also then don't allow the car to be taken out of the state or region, but if they are quoting you a price with a drop in California, you should be ok.

    One thing you didn't mention that usually results in another charge is an extra driver fee. Have you factored that in or are you just planning to have one person drive the entire time? Also, are you certain that your insurance company at home will provide coverage for your rental? Those are a couple more things you should check into to make sure everything goes smoothly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Trip Length?

    It's hard to comment on your itinerary without knowing how long you have for the trip.

    I note you've mentioned just cities. I hope you're planning on exploring some of the tremendous sites between the cities, like the national parks, etc. Grand Canyon, to name just one.

    What specific questions do you have?

    Oh, hotels in cities. You will always get better deals in the suburbs or smaller cities on the edge of the city. When you start getting close to the city you plan on staying in, start looking for Super 8, Day's Inn, Econolodge, Motel 6. These are just a few of the more economical motels you'll generally be able to find rather easily. Depending on how many of you there are, the price per person for a hostel can quickly add up to more than splitting the coast of the room at one of these places.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Most Motel 6's in suburban areas won't rent to under 21.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Glasgow, Scotland


    I would also be interested in knowing how long you are renting the car for?

    My friend and I are both 21 and planning a similar trip (New Jersey-LA) and we have been gettin quoted prices of about £2000 for about 35-40 days car hire, this is just having a quick look at websites for quotes, maybe you got a better price by getting in contact with them directly?

  10. #10


    Hey - thanks for all of your responses :)

    We're spending 5 weeks in America altogether, about 4 weeks of that is driving, so we've worked it out to about 200 - 300 miles a day which I feel is manageable (if perhaps tiring in places).

    I thought the car insurance would be all sorted out by the rental company? Am I wrong?

    Thanks for the tips on hotels / motels. I have worked out a budget of (on average) $20 a night. This includes campsites which drag the average down, but it's generally budget motels which are slightly out of town. I've found Motel 6 to be quite low cost so far.

    And finally, in response to J&C09 that sounds similar to what we've been quoted for a similar amount of time :) We've found that by splitting the costs between 3 of us, it really does become an affordable once in a lifetime trip.

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