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  1. #1

    Default Vancouver to SF and back - newbies needing advice :)

    Hi everyone!

    I know the route I am enquiring about is a popular one, and I've already got some previous threads earmarked for reading through about where to stop, etc. I hope you'll bear with me regarding my own questions!

    My friend and I are both 25 and from the UK (her England, me Scotland). We're doing a one-year work visa in Vancouver, so this is where we live and it's where we have to fly back home from, no question. We go home October 21st and before that, we'd like to do a roadtrip to San Francisco. I'm thinking it'll be end September/beginning of October when we'll do it. Neither of us has been and it looks amazing, as do all the places in the PNW on the way.

    Here are my initial questions, as neither of us has done a roadtrip before and definitely not in North America.

    1. How should we go about renting a car? Initial investigations tell us we could afford, between us, to rent one for 2 weeks, but I haven't the first clue how to do it over here. I imagine it's similar to back home, and I'm also hoping it'll cost a bit less as we're both 25 (I'll be 26 when we go). We're both drivers back home, but I've never driven on the right-hand side of the road before. If anyone has done this switch, how easy/hard did you find it? It shouldn't be too bad with an automatic, but still I am a teeny bit apprehensive.

    2. Is 2 weeks actually long enough for us to drive down to SF and then all the way back? I think it should be, but I'm going by how far away it is in miles. Factoring in stopping-off points, does this seem feasible? (ie not insane!)

    3. Is it possible to do a different route back up? I've heard all sorts about the coast, but would we have anything else to see if we took another way back home? I don't even know if there is one! This is very preliminary, but any help would be great.

    4. As I said I am going to browse previous threads, and if there are any you can think of that would be particularly helpful, I'd love that. In particular places two 25-yr-old women can go alone and be safe etc. I'm interested in Seattle, Crater Lake... I can't think of more right now!

    5. Finally, what's the best way to look into accommodation for a trip like this? I have no credit card so I think booking ahead would be hard (also I like the idea we wouldn't be committed to anything so we can be more free) but are there going to be safe, cheap places available? We'll be on a budget, so if anyone has an idea how much $$ we should think about taking, I'd appreciate it.

    Sorry for the length of this post. We're just discussing it at the moment, but it's getting closer and I want to have a decent idea in my head of what we're doing. Thanks in advance for any help!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ


    By the Numbers
    Ceud měle fŕilte! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    1) First, just go on-line to one of the travel websites such as Kayak, Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz or another and put in the dates you'll want the car and do some comparison shopping. Be sure to read all the fine print about age restrictions, mileage limits, and geographical constraints (unlimited mileage does not necessarily mean that you'll be allowed to take the car to the U.S. or as far as California). You can even book on-line when you find something that meets your style and budget. You may have another advantage besides the fact that you'll both be 25. If you can pick up the car at a downtown location you should be able to save some of the extra taxes applied ot airport rentals. I have never had any particular problem in adjusting to driving on the 'other' side. The fact that you'll be sitting on the 'wrong' side of the car while driving should be a reminder to make long left turns and sharp right turns.

    2) Two weeks will be plenty to make the drive and see quite a bit, but not everything! You will have to make choices and keep an eye on the calendar.

    3) Absolutely. I'd recommend the coast southbound to make it easier to pull off to the ocean side and then returning inland to hit some of the mountains in particular: Crater Lake, Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens and Mount Ranier.

    4) Start with these discussion. The trip is as safe as being anywhere else - just use common sense.

    5) Again, any of the general travel booking websites listed above will let you see motels as well as planes and cars. In addition, you might want to have a look at tripadvisor. Trying to travel without a credit card is going to be difficult. You might have to leave a substantial cash deposit against room damage until you check out. Really, if possible, get a credit or debit card before setting out. I generally budget about $70 per night for a decent motel and you and your friend should probably be looking at about $200/day for gas/food/lodging on top of the car rental and any admission charges.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You will not be able to rent a car without a credit or debit card. You really need to get one for that and other reasons as already mentioned.

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