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  1. Default Hiring vs Buying a car?

    I'm going to be making a solo road trip accross America in summer but I don't know what to do about a car.

    I'm from england so i'll be flying in and then my dilemma is, hire a car or buy a cheap used one?

    I'm gonna be on the road for about a month and a half so hiring is gonna cost me just under a 1000 which I think just seems ridiculous when I figure I could buy a used one for half that or less? I'm not talking anything fancy, just something that will make the trip, does that sound realistic??

    But then I'm unsure what I would do about car insurance? I'm pretty certain it wouldn't be covered by my holiday insurance so does anyone know if I would have to insure the car and if so how I could go about that?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    No, buying a car, titling and registering it, getting it inspected, getting insurance, and then reselling it is not realistic, and a 1000 quid car may need major maintenance to be able to complete the trip. You may not be concepting a drive across the US fully - the UK is tiny in comparison. Generally, a person has to have a physical US address to be able to own a car here. Since 9/11, there is a lot more red tape involved in vehicle ownership than there was previously.

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

    Default not worth it

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    For a trip that's just a month and a half, its probably not worth buying. You'll likely spend at least a week of your time just dealing with the purchase, sale, and paperwork.

    Its also likely not financially feasable. Put simply, $1000 isn't going to buy a car that is roadworthy for a cross country trip. I wouldn't even consider a car that costs less than $2000 for such a trip, and really the $3-4000 range is more realistic as a starting point. You might get about half of that back at the end, but even that could be optimistic. Not to mention, its entirely possible that you'd have to spend close to $1000 for taxes, registration, and insurance.

    Throw in the additional challenges which make it nearly impossible to get registration and insurance without a full fledge visa (assuming you'd be traveling on the wiaver program), and renting really will be your best bet.

  4. Default

    Fair enough :) thank you!

    Also, what do you think would be a realistic budget for this trip once on the road (not including flights and car rental)? I'll be doing a few touristy things and checking out national parks and probably driving about 8500 miles?

    Oh yeh, i'm gonna be camping :)

  5. Default

    Can I hire a car? I'm only 19

    The car hire website said some cars where unavailable to under 25 year olds but I didn't say I wasn't eligible to hire and I put my age in

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

    Default rock and a hard place

    Sorry to tell you, because of your age, it will simply be very difficult to do a roadtrip at all. Virtually no one will rent to you until you are at least 21, and if you happen to find someone who will, you'd be looking at a surcharge of at least $50 per day. That might cause you to take another look at buying, but most of the red tape issues will still be there (not to mention, your insurance costs will be extremely high).

    You're not alone in wanting to do a trip like this, but unfortantly, there just are no good answers to do a roadtrip as a visitor under age 21. Traveling by other means, such as bus or train, while by no means ideal, is often the only real option that is economically viable.

    As far as the rest of your budget goes, there are too many variables to really say. If you want a very rough (and I stress very rough) estimate, $100 a day is a decent starting point. However, that can and will vary greatly depending upon the details of how you end up traveling.

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