Hi there, next summer a group of friends and I are looking at doing a roadtrip (LA-NY) over about 2/3 months. Our main concern is that we will be 18/19 at time of travelling and so are having difficulties with actually being able to get a vehicle in which we can do it in, also because we are all UK citizens. We are looking for advice on whether we are able to buy/rent a car if possible and how we could go about doing this. Would it actually be possible for us to buy a car and get insured on it? Is there anyone who would rent to us? I have looked about, and there seems to be mixed opinions on renting/buying cars at out age and so some concise response would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you :)
Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!
The logistics involved in purchasing, registering, and insuring a vehicle - and then selling it at the end of your trip - can be quite daunting, and generally not worth the hassle.
There are some agencies that will rent to under age 21, such as Enterprise, and there will also be associated fees. If this will be a one-way trip, there will also be a fee for that.
Thank you very much for your help, I'll give Enterprise a call then :) Do you know of any other rental companies that would also rent to under 21's? Thanks for your help.
You might like to look at purchasing a vehicle in Canada, and selling it again, in Canada. Although I have not done this, I have spoken to non US residents who have done this. You would have to check if at your age, this is possible.
On the other hand, buying for just two or three months, is really not cost effective. But since you can't rent, it may work for you.
But what really jumps out at me, as I read your post, is, why not spend the next four years saving and working towards your goal. As time goes on, and as the plan develops, you will be more mature and so much better informed to make it a trip of a lifetime. Ye know, not everything needs to be achieved before you turn 20. You have a whole lifetime ahead of you. Don't rush through it. I was over sixty before I set out on my first roadtrip, and have now seen more of North America (and the world) than most Americans (or Brits) ever will.
Enterprise only rents to under 21 in New York for local use. The only reason they (and others) do is because of NY state law. The cars cannot be booked online and I believe the under 21 surcharge is about $50 to $75 a day per driver.
Even if you could buy a car, the insurance for drivers under 21 with no North American driving record will be very expensive, if even available.
No one likes to hear it, but the sad reality is that non-residents under age 21 simply can't do an American Roadtrip, at least not in a traditional sense. Traveling by bus/train/plane really is the only way you can do it.
There is simply no practical way for someone in your situation to get a car. It will be impossible for you to rent a car. I'm not sure where Tim heard that enterprise would be an option, but I'm quite certain he is mistaken. As GLC mentioned, just about the only place you can rent a car at age 18-20 is in New York state, where it is required by law, and in some cases small, independent companies will allow it. However, in both of those cases the under-underage fee is extremely high (at least $50 a day) and there will be strict geographic limits. A one way rental across country simply isn't available.
Really your only options can be found in Lifey's suggestions. Buying and Selling a car in Canada (which you'd have to investigate the logistics, and even that would likely be extremely expensive) or waiting until you are 21.
I think Tim saw that on the Enterprise website - where 18-20 is an option in the drop box for selecting age. If you follow through and actually try to rent a car, it takes you to a "so sorry" page unless you are renting in NY, then it takes you to a page with a phone number to call.
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