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  1. #1

    Default To Buy or To Rent?

    Hello Road Trippers!

    First post so thought I should ask the most challenging question first: should I really go for a rental car or go for what seems to be the cheaper option of buying a used car?

    I will be traveling with two/three others on a one-way trip from San Francisco to New York over 4 to 5 weeks in Sept/Oct. The timeframe is very flexible right now, but give the amount of days, taxes, states lines, I'm leaning towards buying a used SUV...

    Any thoughts are appreciated and apologies if this is repeating old info...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Renting: your only option

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    This topic does come up quite frequently and the answer for you will clearly be to rent, for two reasons.

    First, buying a car as a foreign tourist is virtually impossible. There's really no way to get the car registered and insured without living here at least on a long term visa. Many have tried, but no one on this board has ever been able to say how it can be done, under the current laws in place.

    Second, even if the legals issues were possible to overcome, 4-5 weeks generally isn't long enough for a car purchase to make sense financially. Why you factor in sales taxes, registration license and title fees, insurance (typically sold in 6 month to one year terms), the time needed to find a reasonable car, money for possible repairs, and the loss you'll take from having to sell it quickly at the end, the cost of purchasing for this trip would quite easily exceed the cost of renting. As a very general rule of thumb, you'd need to be traveling for at least 2-3 months before buying one becomes a good decision financially.

  3. #3


    Thanks Michael!

    Sorry for the repeat, but I'll definitely be looking through rental websites now.

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