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  1. Default 6 months - every state but hawaii and alaska. possible?

    Hi,

    me and my boyfriend (i'm 19, he'll be 22), are planning to do a 6 month road trip around America, hopefully seeing as much as is possible. We'll be starting in New York in early January and finishing up in LA in early July. As both of us or at least me appear to be too young to hire a car in the states we're planning to buy one and then sell it on when we're done. We have no proper route as of yet, we're planning to head south from new york, and then sort of zig zag north-south over to the west coast (our logic is it will take less time this way than constantly crossing east-west).

    Any advice would be great, on routes in particular but also on things like buying a car and if its going to possible to insure it. We'll hopefully set off with a little under £10000 between us, which i think is about 16,500 dollars, but my boyfriend is a us citizen so we may be able to top that up through him getting a job if needs be. Is this trip even possible at all?

    Thank you so much for any advice/tips,

    Josie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default home

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Its certainly possible to do the kind of trip you are talking about, you just have a few challenges to overcome.

    First, since your boyfriend is a US citizen, buying a car should be much easier. However, I'd say that it will be additionally helpful to start your trip where ever he is from, and/or has family which you can use as a home base for buying, licensing, insuring the car, etc.

    6 months is certainly enough time to hit every state (we've had people who've done in under a month, basically doing a speed run). The downside of doing a trip for such a long period of time becomes the budget. You could easily burn up $5000 of your budget with the purchase/registration/insurance of the car. You'll get some of that back when you're done, but that's a good chunk out of your operating funds. You can probably live on $10,000 over 6 months, but you'd have to be pretty frugal, keeping your lodging and eating expenses as low as possible.

    For routing, again, it may be easier to end in the same place you begin to make it a bit easier to sell your car. Your routing as a loop, going across the lower half of the US one way and then the northern half the other probably wouldn't change your mileage much compared to zig-zagging north and south throughout the country as you make your way across.

    If you do go one way, I'd look at starting in California and finishing in the Northeast. A couple of reasons - first, it can be difficult to sell an out of state car in California because of their state-specific smog laws. Second, if you are starting in January, I think you're going to like the weather in the south and west more in winter than summer, and vice versa.

  3. Default

    thank you so much, that was all really helpful. Just a couple more questions,

    do you know of any car insurance companies/policies that would cater to our budget and ages, especially since we won't have american drivers licenses - is this something we should look into getting? I've heard that in some states its simple to swap a british license for an american one but wasn't sure if this would be necessary.

    thank you so much this really is much appreciated

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default variables

    A couple things.

    I would strongly recommend that your boyfriend get a US license, its going to be much much easier for you to purchase a car with one. It is possible that he could exchange a UK license for a US one, but he may have to take a drivers test before getting an american license, but that shouldn't be hard for him to pass if he has experience on the road. That really depends upon the rules of each state.

    If you are just going to be driving "his" car, then there would be no reason to get US license. Its also quite difficult for a non-resident to get a US license these days.

    Insurance is something that you can't do by generalities. There are too many companies, the options and requirements are different in each state, and it will depend upon the car and what US driving record - if any - that your boyfriend has. You can try using one of the companies that do online quotes (progressive, geico, esurance, 21st century, etc) to get a ballpark idea, but until you've got the details hammered out, it will just be a rough estimate.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    If he is a US citizen, he can get a US license without too much trouble, but he must have a residential address here. Post office boxes and hotels don't qualify. He will need his birth certificate to prove citizenship. Being that he will need a residential address to title, register, and insure a car - you see where we're going here.

  6. Default

    thank you so much this really is all very helpful,

    just a question though, does anybody know anything more specific on car insurance - i've read on a number of websites etc that more often than not it is the car that is in insured and not the driver, and so if my boyfriend as a us citizen bought and insured his own car i would be able to drive it on his insurance without having a us license provided i had proof i do not live at his address in the states - is this the case?

    alternatively, are there any insurance companies catering specifically to non-us residents looking for car insurance - i know there is one called sunrise or something but they only offer their insurance to over 25s.

    again, many thanks for any advice

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    You would only be able to drive it on his insurance if the insurance company says that you are covered.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default dangerously close to legal advice

    I believe in general, your thinking is right. If you are a licensed driver (even with a UK license) and you are driving with his permission, then in general you should still be covered under his policy.

    HOWEVER, this really gets into the specifics of an insurance policy and legal issues should any problems arise. To answer this question, you really need to speak directly with an insurance agent to see what exactly any specific policy would cover. This is far too important of an issue to rely on the advise of a message board.

  9. Default

    thanks for that, yes i'm sure i will have to ask the insurance company directly but its always helpful to be reassured that i'm not completely wrong before heading off, so its much appreciated to hear that i might be along the right lines,

    thanks again

  10. Default

    hi again,

    i have a couple more questions if anybody would be able to answer them?
    one, will i, as a non us citizen, be able to drive for a full six months on a british license (i understand that if you take up residency you need to get a state license but as i dont plan to do this i'm assuming its not a problem?),
    and two, which i'm getting very confused about; my boyfriend who is a us citizen but hasn't lived in the states since he was a child, and who holds a british license, does he need to get a us license? because what ive been reading seems to suggest that foreign nationals who dont take up residency dont need one, but is he still a foreign national if he has dual nationality?

    any help would be much appreciated,

    thanks

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