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  1. #1

    Default Austin,TX to San Francisco,CA. First time in US.

    Hello everyone,

    I would like to ask for your help and advice since I have been for only 2 months in the US so I am not familiar with traveling around the country yet.
    I plan to make a roadtrip for 15 days in December with my friend who will be visiting me from Europe. I live in Austin,TX so we want to depart from here. We are thinking about going to California but we are not sure if the time that we have is enough to enjoy such a long trip.
    I am now searching to buy a used car so that we can use it for our roadtrip

    1) My first thought was:
    Austin-Santa Fe-Grand Canyon-Sedona-Las Vegas-Yosemite Nat.Park-San Francisco-LA-Austin

    (What would the weather be in these places in December?)
    But I think maybe it would be too long (very exciting though!). It is 4000miles in total and we have 15 days.
    What do you think about this?

    2) Do you have any other suggestions for shorter roadtrip routes that would suit our case?

    3) Any suggestions for a used car for long trips? I am thinking about Ford Escape 2001-2004 or Explorer. Is it a good idea? I would like to spend about $4000.

    Thank you,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Not Quite a Given

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your plans are generally fine and you should be able to carry them out, however a successful and enjoyable RoadTrip will depend on a few factors. I assume since you're relatively new to this country and don't currently have a car, that you are not used to long distance travel by car. It can be either exhilarating or exhausting. While I would consider driving approximately 4,000 miles in two weeks a snap, others might find it painful drudgery. You won't really know which camp you fall into until you have some experience under your belt. I would suggest, therefore, that you take it easy at first and not try to cover more than 400-500 miles the first few days while you find your comfort zone, and be ready to turn around and head home if it's not working out for you.

    One specific problem with your plan is trying to include Las Vegas and Yosemite in December. The Tioga Pass Road (CA-120) over the Sierra Nevada will be snow bound, so you'll have to drive all the way around the southern end of the mountain range through Barstow and Bakersfield. That's doable, but it is a rather significant detour.

    As for buying a used car specifically for the trip - I'm not sure that's such a good idea. $4,000 is at the very low end of where you can get reliable transportation so you would at a minimum need ot get the car thoroughly inspected by a trusted mechanic before you buy it. On the other hand, a rental car for such a journey might run you as little as $500 if You and your friend are both 25 or older, or as much as $2,000 if you both want to drive and are under 25 (and over 21). Insurance is going to be expensive in either case, since rental agencies charge by the day and insurance for your own car would only be available for 6 months at a time.It might just be a better idea to rent than buy. Then any breakdown falls on the rental agency's shoulders rather than yours, and you don't have to go through the added expense and hassle of getting the car titled and registered.


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