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  1. Default 4 British guys looking to road trip the USA

    Hey everyone,

    Been researching this alot and i get conflicting information on certain things. I have been reading the site for a while and thought it time to register and ask my questions.

    Me and 3 mates are 21 and are flying in to New York on the 30th of june this year. We plan to buy a car in Washington (greyhounding it to DC) and use it to travel as far round as possible with the driving duties shared out. So it shouldnt be too bad.

    Ive never been to america and im really looking forward! Really cant wait!

    But some questions bother me.

    I know that my british licence is fine for america, as long as i bring both the plastic card and paper sections of it.

    Its the acctual BUYING of the car that gets me. mainly can we buy one, legally and get insurance for 3 months rather than a year?
    Doesnt the car need to be registered with an address like british cars, and if so couldnt i register it will the hostel im in as they will have my details? and then selling it afterwards? is that a big problem?

    ive looked in to renting a car but its very expensive even if i can find companies to do it as we are 21.

    Im really looking forward to the trip, meeting loads of new people so i hope its a do-able project. we are not new to backpacking and have been to many places, so thats not a problem.

    Thanks very much guys for any help and maybe i will drive past you in the summer??!?!?!

    =-D
    Cheers , Mr Lovejoy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Bottom line? Easier and a lot cheaper to rent by the time you get done. Since 9/11 it is not easy at ALL for a visitor on a tourist visa to title and register a motor vehicle - and even harder is buying insurance, which is mandatory in all states. Reselling it for anywhere near what you paid for it will not be possible either.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default very tough

    As GLC mentioned, this is a very difficult process, especially trying to do this as a tourist.

    A couple particular stumbling blocks that you'll be dealing with:

    First, while it is legal to drive in the US with a British license, for practical purposes, you'll likely need a US drivers license to register the car, get insurance, etc. At the very least, that would make the rest of the process easier.

    The problem is that unless you have a visa (and presumably you'd be traveling on the visa waiver), it is very tough to get a drivers license. You need to be a resident of wherever it is that you'd be getting a license, and that typically requires more proof than simply providing an address. You usually need to provide something like a utility bill or a lease to show that you are living there, not just visiting.

    Insurance will be very expensive. It always is for 21 year old drivers, but you'll also have no US driving record or credit rating - thus you'll be considered a very high risk customer. I also know of no companies that do a 3 month policy. You might be able to find 6 months, but that's about as good as you'll be able to do.

    Those are just a few of the hurdles ahead of you. If you can make all of the details work, you might be able to make this work for a little less than you'll pay for a rental car. However, It is going to be a very expensive and time consuming task. Generally, the break even point for buying vs. renting is 2-3 months, so its very possible that you won't end up saving nearly as much as you might hope.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    You also have the issue of mechanical soundness. The older and cheaper a used car is, the more likely you will have unforeseen maintenance costs. The newer a car is, the more it costs, and the more beating you are going to be taking on resale. It's a no-win situation. A rental is going to be a brand new (or almost brand new) car, and if anything breaks, the rental company takes care of it.

  5. Default Cheers

    Thanks for all the advice guys. Really awesome.

    Ive been looking in to car rental and i think i can get it for 1,600 to 2,000 pounds, for the 4 of us. Thats not amazing but pretty good for under 21 drivers.

    I think its going ot be easier and cheaper to get it all sorted out in britian first, as once we get there will renting a car for around 70 days be more than that. especailly as we are all under 25 (21).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default good choice

    I think you'll find that you are making the right decision here, and I also very much agree that you'll be better off trying to make arraignments before you depart. It will be much easier to shop around when you're not trying to enjoy your trip, and you'll have more time to do it. Not too mention, it is not uncommon for better deals to be offered to overseas visitors or through european travel agencies.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Definitely.

    I would book the rental from home for sure, just keep searching for good deals and comparing prices then, when you find the right one you will know for sure it's the best one available.

    As you build your trip be sure to pop by with any questions you might have.

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