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  1. Default New York to San Francisco! Very new at this...

    Right, so I'm planning a rather large trip in a couple of months. I've been reading through this site over the last few days and it seems this is the best place to get some tips and advice so I know what to expect!

    So far, flights are booked into JFK on 29th July, spend a few days in New York, then picking up a car on the 1st August, taking a route that goes up to Niagra Falls, then down to Baltimore (we've got gig tickets there), across to Nashville, Memphis, Sante Fe, Grand Caynon, Las Vegas, Death Valley, L.A, and finally ending up in San Francisco, hopefully flying back on the 31st August!

    The thing I'm confused about so far is the frankly astounding differences in car rental quotes. Just going for a midsize SUV, and I've had quotes ranging from $1800 all the way up to just under $10,000! Can anyone explain why the companies would be so far apart? Even more confusing, I phoned Alamo in America to get a quote, and it came up at $8800, but getting a quote on their website, with the same details, picking up and dropping off to the same locations, the quote came in the cheapest at $1800! I've pre-booked the online one, but it just makes me think I'm missing something. I haven't had to pay anything to reserve it, but I don't want to rely on that quote only to turn up in New York and then be expected to pay 5-6 times what we've been quoted.

    So that's it so far. I've got a fairly good idea on what to have in preparation, and we'll be getting accommodation in hotels/motels mainly, or even sleeping in the back of the van if necessary; but if anyone can give me any tips or advice for things I should expect, it would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default not uncommon

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    It really is not at all uncommon to see vastly different price quotes, especially when you are talking about one way rentals over a month long period. Adding another layer into the mix, it is also quite common to get a better deal as an international visitor than a US resident could get. $1800 sounds like a pretty good price for a one way rental for a mid-sized SUV, but its certainly not so cheap that it sounds too good to be true. The biggest thing I'd make sure is that the price includes any one way drop off fees, taxes, or underage fees (if applicable), and it wouldn't hurt to call and confirm your rental rate with your confirmation number just to put yourself at ease.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    Quote Originally Posted by StoneUK View Post
    Even more confusing, I phoned Alamo in America to get a quote, and it came up at $8800, but getting a quote on their website, with the same details, picking up and dropping off to the same locations, the quote came in the cheapest at $1800! I've pre-booked the online one, but it just makes me think I'm missing something.
    There can be significant fees to doing a one-way rental that you wouldn't have doing a round-trip. However, I just checked Alamo for an SUV from Bradley airport to LAX, and then for a round trip. It seemed as though the site didn't reset, because both trips cost the same, but when I went in through a new browser window, the round trip was significantly less expensive, around the same as what you quoted. I would double check with the agent by phone. They should be able to explain why the difference.

  4. Default

    Right, only 6 weeks to go and I'm getting excited! Flights are booked, car is booked (I phoned to confirm the quote, so I guess we'll just have to risk it), route is planned, so it's all go!

    Only things left now are to book a hotel for the first few nights in New York. Can anyone recommend a cheap hotel somewhere near Manhattan? Happy to stick with hostel's and basic accommodation to start with.

    The other thing I'm struggling with is roaming internet access. With us spending so many hours on the road it would be useful to use the laptop in the car and be able to plan ahead for hotels, events, maps, etc. In the UK
    I've got a USB dongle that gives me internet access anywhere; now i'm assuming that it won't work in the US, but do they do anything similar that I can use?

    Thanks for your help so far though!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default options

    As far as wi-fi goes, you'd have a couple options. The cheapest option would be simply to use the wireless modem that comes with most computers and just look for free hotspots. These are available in many places, like restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, and libraries. While you wouldn't have access everywhere, it should still be enough where you can stop to make plans and check on things along the way.

    If you really want to be able to access the internet almost anywhere, you'd have to sign up for a program to get access through a cell phone company. This would keep you connected in towns and along interstates where you can get cell reception. However, these plans are going to involve a monthly fee, and more importantly, are usually going to require a long term contract that can make it unappealing for a short term visit.

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