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  1. Default Road trip; Houston - San Diego/Los Angeles

    Hi everyone!

    My friends and me, in total four people, are planning to take a road trip from Houston ending in San Diego or Los Angeles starting early January 2010, as part of our gap-year,

    We are all from Norway and we all wish to get the most out of it, for some of us it's the first time visiting the US, so we have earmarked a month for this trip. We're 19 years of age, and at least two of us will be in possession of the driver's license before arrival to Houston by air.

    So what I'm asking of info is this; Car rental procedure (cost), must-see sights/destinations, and overall tips and ideas we could get use of :)


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Your biggest problem - and cost - is going to be your age. You may find it very difficult to rent a car. Some folk from across the Atlantic have found that it is easier - and cheaper - to arrange your rental from your home base. Maybe a reputable and experienced travel agency can help you there.

    Lifey who is sorry to be the bearer of negative news
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 08-28-2009 at 11:14 AM.

  3. Default


    Does anybody know an agencies that can provide a car for us?

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

    Default lots of work ahead

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You might be able to find a company that will meet your needs, but it will likely take a lot of work trying to find the one or two places what will work with drivers under age 21.

    Here are the things you're going to have to accept going in:

    This will be expensive. Drivers aged 21-14 typically pay a $20-30 per day surcharge. If you find a place that will rent to 18-20 year old, its quite likely the fee could be $50 a day. You might find a better deal, but those numbers are pretty common.

    Doing a one way trip may not be possible because of your age. Even if you find a place that will allow you to rent one way, it may be financially difficult, as that will involve yet another fee that will likely cost you a couple hundred dollars.

    You'll also could be looking at extra driver fees, and because they are also underage, you could be best off just using one driver. However, if you do go that route, don't for one second think about having an unlisted person anywhere near the drivers seat.

    What will probably work best is to find either an european agency that may have a deal for drivers, or look at smaller independent rental agencies (not affilated with the major chains like Hertz, Avis, etc). This will still be expensive, but its your best bet to find anyone who will be able to help - even with the restrictions I just listed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I'm sorry to say that I highly doubt that you will find ANY rental agency that will rent to people under 21. I'm afraid that you may have to settle for booking a bus tour.

  6. Default

    This is really bad news!

    Wouldn't it be possible to buy a used car in Houston and sell it on the west coast? Or is this too timeconsuming and difficult?

    Personally I think it would be a hassle trying to find a safe and usable car, and not to mention the cost!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Buying a car would be easy, though very expensive for a one month trip. It is the registering and insuring that is the problem if you are not a US citizen. And you cannot drive a vehicle without both. Reselling is another huge hurdle you may not be able to overcome.

    As glc mentioned, you may have to settle for a bus tour. This has several positives which you may not yet have considered....

    You meet and get to know more people.
    They know the best places to go.
    You can get a good overview of places for a future road trip.

    Another thought is to design your own trip using places like hostels which run their own trips. Many hostels have fantastic affordable tours, ranging from a few hours to many days and even a week long. Search them out here... Most of the best ones are on the west coast. Between your major destinations you could use Amtrak or the bus or fly, all of which are cheaper to arrange before you leave.

    Just because you cannot do the trip you originally planned, does not mean you cannot have a great holiday. Just think outside the box!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Something else to keep in mind - and I don't know if this has any bearing on your trip, but I need to bring it up - nowhere in the US can persons under 21 purchase alcohol (including beer), and in most states, it's illegal for those under 21 to consume or even possess it, even in a private setting. Penalties if caught can be severe.

  9. Default

    Hi again!

    We've been thinking about it, and we've decided that we will make this trip happen, no matter what, whether it's by buying a car in Houston or buying a month pass with Greyhound / Amtrak.

    The alcohol-part is not that big of a deal for us, after arriving to Los Angeles we're most likely to continue down to Mexico for a couple of months, where the legislation on alcohol etc. isn't that strict.

    Anyway, do any of you guys recommend any places worth seeing?
    Other than Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and the Pacific Coast, we're pretty much oblivious to other destinations! Haven't done to much research by now. I would appreciate tips on places to see, to stay and to eat :)


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Big brother ?

    With a month at your disposal there are many worthwhile destinations, to many to mention in fact. I would get a map out and search through the forums for more info and get a feel of the area and find places that interest you. There are many great National parks and Monuments in the area as well as great city's and desert landscapes.

    Have any of you got an older brother or friend that might be up for the trip as as an over 25 designated driver ?

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