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  1. Default Chicago, IL- Las Vegas- Santa Barbara- LA.

    Currently planning a roadtrip for July 2010. It's going be a group of three British Guys. One of the group is currently studying for four years in Chicago, me and a friend are going to fly into Chicago from the UK and then drive from Chicago to Las Vegas, spend four nights in Vegas, then drive onto Santa Barbara to stay with a friend for a week and then drive onto LA, from which we will fly back to the UK.

    We will all be 21, I understand that for car hire in the US there is a surcharge for under 25's, i'm not exactly sure how much this is however. We are planning on hiring the car for three weeks, leaving it in LA. I understand we will also face an extra charge for leaving the car in a destination different to where it was hired, is this true?, and if so how hefty will the charge be?

    We're planning on allocating 2/3 days for the drive from Chicago to Vegas, i've had a look at the route online, it seems to be pretty obvious to take the I88-I80-I76-I70-I15 route. I was wondering if there is anything along this route which people would recommend stopping at, any special points of interest for example?

    We're planning on camping during the drive, mainly to save money, at designated camping sites. Has anyone ever done a drive similar to this? We will be sharing the driving between the 3 of us so we did for a period of time consider just driving straight from Chicago to Vegas in a day without really stopping.

    Any thoughts on our provisional trip would be greatly appreciated :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Don't even think of trying to drive from Chicago to Las Vegas straight through. This is 3 long days, driving 10 to 12 hours a day.

    Your car rental is going to be quite costly with the under-25 surcharge and the dropoff fee. I just checked Avis, and the one way dropoff fee from Chicago to LA is $1000 USD. The base rental for 3 weeks is about 600 GBP, and I can't get the underage surcharge info, but it's usually about $30 USD per day. You undoubtedly will get a better rate going through a UK travel agent.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Hard Facts

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There are several facts that you're going to have to take into account as you plan your trip. Typical underage premiums for drivers from 21 to 24 years of age are around $25/person/day. So if all three of you are under 25 and plan to do any driving during the rental period, you will face a surcharge of $525. The one way drop-off fee for leaving the Illinois car in California will be another $300-500. These fees may vary a bit from company to company, but you are looking at nearly $1000 on top of the standard three week rental charge. You might be able to do a little bit better by arranging the rental through a European company, but still, this is going to be expensive.

    Secondly, Chicago to Los Angeles is not a 2-3 day drive. It's over 2000 miles and so will require 4 days to drive safely and comfortably. Remember that setting up and taking down camping equipment takes some time and three people will invariably take even more time.

    There are plenty of scenic natural settings worth seeing along the route you have generally laid out. Chief among these would be Rocky Mountain, Arches and Zion National Parks. If you wanted to see the Grand Canyon as well, that would require a two day trip from/to Las Vegas. So, hopefully I've given you a bit more realistic sense of the time, distances and costs involved in your trip.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default your friend

    Rarely does purchasing a car just for a roadtrip make sense, however, it is possible that it might be a feasable option in this case. Since your friend is a student living in the US, he'll be considered a legal resident should be able to purchase a car without too many of the usual headaches that non-resident visitors usually have.

    Now, you'll still need a couple thousand dollars up front to buy a car, plus insurance which will be quite expensive because of your ages, and money for any repairs. Obviously, you'd have to change your trip to do a loop where you finish in Chicago too.

    Its still not perfectly easy, and if your friend can't use or park a car at his college, then it might not be practical, but it is possibly and option that might work in your specific situation.

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