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  1. Default Coast to Coast Summer Roadtrip: Looking for Advice re Car Rental and Route

    we want to do a coast-to-coast roadtrip this summer, beginning in May until mid-June, from DC to LA.
    We are both 22, but do not have a car.

    Yet, we were surprised by the high prices (2800$ incl. age-difference fee) for one-month (or rather 5 week) rentals at Hertz, Avis and co. We wanted to know if anyone knows a cheaper way to rent a car that we can pick up in DC and drop off in LA.

    Also, we're open for suggestions re the route, we were thinking going through the South, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas etc.

    Would appreciate any comments.


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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You can certainly shop around, but your current plans in terms of rental car hit all the major elements for a very expensive trip.

    Your ages are one big thing that you can't really change. You're looking at a fee of about $25 per day per driver under age 25.

    The other is that you are planning to do this as a one way trip - which means you're looking at another several hundred dollars. Doing this as a round trip will save you a significant amount of money, plus it will also save you airfare back home.

    If you are US residents, then looking to purchase could be an option. You'd need significantly more money up front (I'd say at least $4,000 to purchase a roadworthy car and pay for things like license, insurance, taxes, etc), but you should be able to get some of that back. However, even here, you'd want to do a round trip, so you could sell the car on your terms, not at a cut rate price because you are in a hurry to catch a plane and/or because your car doesn't meet California's unusually strict emmissions laws.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Two Biggies

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    And welcome to the world of car rentals. Yep, you are looking at the two biggest add-on costs in the field. Underage driver(s) and the one way drop-off fee. Typical fees in such cases are $25/person/day for every driver under age 25 and about $300-500 for the drop-off fee on a cross country rental. A decent fee for the actual rental of a mid-size car comfortable for two people for such a long journey is going to be close to $200/week. That means the base price you should expect to pay for a 5 week rental is around $3,000 ($1,000 for the car rental, $1,750 for two underage drivers for 35 days, and a $400 drop-off fee.) If you got a quote of $2,800, that's about right and you're not going to do much better. Don't forget that you still haven't dealt with insurance costs. Check to see if your own auto insurance covers you when driving a rental or else you're going to be looking at the third biggest add-on as well.

    There are probably half a dozen or so possible routes between Washington and Los Angeles, all within a couple of hundred miles of each other. The one you mention is a bit on the longish side, but not that much longer considering the length of the entire drive. There's nothing intrinsically better or worse about any of them, just the one that most appeals to you. You've got plenty of time for any of the drives, so if you can find a way to swing the money, you can certainly take the route you've outlined. What did you have in mind in the way of attractive attractions?


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