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  1. Default Trying to plan a cheap summer roadtrip - Help please

    Hi all,
    I'm planning a month-long road trip (between 7000-8000 miles) and wanted to see if anybody knew of any place where I might be able to rent a car for the month of June for under $700. I'm 21, so that might complicate things.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Not good.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    A hefty surcharge for drivers under 25 applies throughout every major company and seems to be industry standard. I wouldn't be surprised if that surcharge will take your whole budget up. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but all you can do is keep searching for the best deals and plan your trip to your budget or wait untill your budget is big enough for your trip.

    Good luck !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default highly unlikely

    Sorry to say I really think you're out of luck with that budget. The typical rate for an underage driver fee is $25 per day, so you don't even have enough money to cover that. Even in the best case if you found a company that had a $15 per day fee, which is about the best I've ever seen, that would still leave you with less than $10 per day for the actual car rental fee - which just isn't realistic.

    Of course, every company is different and even among the same chains you can find vastly different rates and policies at locations just a few miles apart or based on the specific days that you are renting, so it wouldn't hurt to look I just don't think you're going to find something that will work at that price point.

  4. Default Trying to plan a cheap summer roadtrip - Help please

    Hi all,
    I'm trying to plan a month-long summer roadtrip that would start and end in the Mid-Atlantic states (either MD, VA, PA, or DE). I sketched out a rough route that takes me south to Charleston, then west through to West Texas, than north to Seattle (by way of Salt Lake City) and then back east Nebraska / Missouri / Ohio. I can give myself 30-35 days. I plan to drive on average about 300 miles a day (some days a lot more, some days much less) with 2-3 days of no driving at all.

    I feel comfortable budgeting a maximum of $2500 for the entire trip. I'm fine eating out of a cooler, and since it's only me going, I feel fine sleeping in the car (I'll stop intermittently throughout the trip at friends' houses). Assuming an average price of $3 a gallon, I'm estimating gas costs of about $1000- $1200.

    Here's the issue:

    I don't have a car. After looking at car rental options (I'm 21, so there's an underage fee, plus I need no geographic restrictions and unlimited mileage) I've realized how expensive car rental will be. I've done hours of research, but I can't find any car rental agency that keeps me under budget. Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default No Magic Wand

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    We have very rarely had someone report that they got the underage driver fee waived, but the fact is that it is there for a reason. Men 16-24 are the single group responsible for the largest number of major vehicular accidents and bodily injuries, and that's the way insurance companies and car rental car companies judge people, by their 'category'. While you may be a good driver and get a discount from your own insurance company, no rental agency is going to have the time of financial incentive to check out your record. You will simply be lumped with all other 16-24 year old men. And even if you have your own insurance, they are still taking a risk in turning over the keys of one of their cars to you. In short, you don't have a great bargaining position, but you do have something - you want to rent one of their cars for 3 months. I'd start from just that position and call all the dozen or so mid to major rental firms and tell them that you are looking for the best deal on a three month rental, and ask what they can do about the underage fee. After all, it's charged on a per day basis that over 3 months would run $3500 or more making it prohibitive. If they want the $2500 or so that a three month rental would bring, somebody should be willing to try to work with you. $2500 is better than nothing, after all.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default are you american?

    If you live in the US, then is there a reason you aren't looking to just buy a car? (if you're not, then renting would be your only option) While that would certainly require a significantly larger investment up front, it could end up being cheaper in the long run. Once you factor in the $750 underage fee (based on typical charges) I think you'll have a very tough time finding a rental car at all for under $1500 for the month.

    Another advantage of buying a car is that you really could try to customize it to make it more feasable to sleep in it. Honestly, cars aren't designed to sleep in, and there are very few that would be comfortable to use as a place to sleep for a full month. At least if you had your own van, you could spend a little bit of time clearing out a space to use for a little more comfortable nights on the road.

  7. Default

    Thanks for the advice! The trip is actually four weeks (one month), not three months, but hopefully that might give me a little bargaining room. I am American, but I don't want to buy a car because I really don't need one where I live (parking is very expensive). I toyed around with the idea of trying to find a really cheap car on ebay or something, but I'm not really comfortable with the huge risk involved (don't want to end up with a lemon) plus with registration costs, it will be fairly costly.

    Another idea I've thought of is borrowing a family member's car, and paying for him to rent another car for the month. Since he's over 25, he won't get hit with the fee. The issue with that is that I'll be putting a lot of miles on a family car, which has its own costs in terms of maintenance or depreciation.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Those are good reasons for not buying a car, and we usually do figure the break-even mark for purchasing a car is usually two to three months - and you would need to have several thousand dollars up front to get a reliable car for a trip of this length.

    Borrowing a family members car is an option, but you do need to think about some extra risks here. You would need to be added to his insurance - which could raise his rates significantly. Also if you were to get into an accident, his rates could go up for several years into the future, and he could be held financially liable for anything that is not covered by or exceeds the coverage limits of his insurance.

  9. Default Enough time / what should I cut?

    Hi all,
    Been planning a tentative 25-day trip for this summer. As it stands right now, it's around 9000 miles, which comes to around 360 miles per day. I think that pace is a tad too fast so I'm weighing two options:
    1) Elongating my trip by starting earlier, which would get me an extra 5 days. The issue is that I'd prefer not to miss Memorial Day Weekend.
    2) Cutting the length of my route. The obvious issue with this is that I don't get to see what I wanted to see, but I fully realize that I have to make some sacrifices.

    So essentially, I'm picking the lesser of two evils (or a combination), so I'd like to hear anybody's suggestions.

    Here's a rough itinerary and a rough outline of the route on google maps. I planned the trip using Streets and Trips but to compensate for the computer's optimistic calculations, I set the speed settings to significantly below average. If I drive 6 hours a day, this trip would take 28 days according to the program. Thanks!

    From Northern Virginia
    Blue Ridge Parkway to Hickory, NC
    From Hickory, NC, highway down to Charleston, SC and then to Savannah, GA
    From Savannah, GA, take US-80 across Georgia through Selma and Montgomery, AL, and Vicksburg, MS
    Around Shreveport, LA, turn south to Houston, TX
    From Houston, go to San Antonio, then take US 90 and follow southern border of Texas
    Visit Big Bend National Park
    From there, drive to Four Corners (UT, AZ, NM, and CO) by way of Guadalupe Mountains Park and Albuquerque, NM
    Drive though Southern Utah to Salt Lake City, then drive west through Nevada by way of US-50
    Drive north to Portland and Seattle (stopping by Columbia River Gorge parkway)
    From Seattle, take Route 2 to Glacier NP
    From there, drive to Mount Rushmore, SD and Chimney Rock, NE
    From Chimney Rock, NE, take US-80 to Kearney, then drive south through Kansas until US-50
    Stop by Tallgrass Prairie National Reserve in KS
    Take Route 50 east until hitting the Mississippi River
    Take highway down to Nashville from River, then up to Cincinnati
    From Cincinnati, take US-50 back to Northern VA

    Combined three separate threads regarding this trip. Please do not start a new thread for each aspect of the same trip.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 03-02-2010 at 02:37 PM.

  10. Default

    Just one comment -- driving the Blue Ridge Parkway can be very slow going. The speed limit is, I believe, 45 MPH. If it's busy you may not be able to go that fast. And if you want to enjoy it you may stop every couple of miles at an overlook.

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