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  1. Default Planning a road trip coast to coast from sweden

    Me and my two friends from Sweden are planning a road trip that shall start from LA and end in New York. We are going to be doing this at the end of our gap year! Since we will be 19 it is hard to find car rental, should we be looking into buying a car (and from where) or still renting? and how should we be able to make a budget for this? We have seen little of america and would like tips on what are "must sees" and good things to think about when planning! All advice is welcome :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    The good news and the bad news.....

    If you're just 19, finding a rental company that will rent to you will be difficult. Most car companies want to rent to 21 year olds and older, but there's still a premium to be paid until you're 25. You may be lucky and find a smaller company that allows one-way rentals to under-21's.

    Buying a car would be almost impossible. You'd have to prove some sort of residency. Oh, lots of places would sell you a car, but registering, licensing and insuring it would be almost impossible!

    You may need to wait for this trip until you are 21. As far as saving for a trip of this type, you'd first have to have your round trip airfare, and a passport. Then budget at least $50/night for lodging, $30/person/day for food, gas for 5000 miles (3500 across country and then some for touring around), and more.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry to tell you, but I think your dreams will have to wait. It is virtually impossible for someone from overseas to obtain a car in the US until they are 21.

    Renting a car is basically an impossibility. None of the major chains will allow you to rent until you are 21, with only a few exceptions. For example, NY state law requires all rental companies to rent to anyone over age 18, but companies typically only allow those under 21 rentals for trips within NY State and even there it is a $50 per day per under 21 driver fee on top of the rental charges. As Donna mentioned, some small local companies will allow 18 year olds to rent, however, by their very nature, these are not chains and do not have multiple locations across the country, thus doing one way rentals with them becomes an impossibility.

    Buying a car as a non-resident is virtually impossible at any age. Unless you plan to be here for at least 3 months, it is generally not cost effective anyway.

    I wish we had better news for you, but you're not the first person who has asked a similar question. Really, the only options involve using mass-transit, which has its own limitations, or waiting until you are at least 21.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default For a slim chance, try these....

    Unfortunately all the information above is accurate. There are however a couple of other avenues you may try.

    I have read where under 21s have been able to secure a rental vehicle through a European consolidator. That may be worth checking out. It will not be cheap.

    You may also like to give Don a call. He may be able to help you. I cannot recommend him, as I have not used him, but if you do your homework, you can check it out.

    Lifey

  5. Default

    We gave up on the idea of renting a car, seeing as no one will hire to anyone below the age of 21 where we cannot have a different drop off, but one of the person that is travelling is a US citizen, so will that make it easier to be able to buy a car? what millage and things should you be looking at to buy a used car? is craigslist "sufficient"?

    Thanks for replies

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default History more important than miles.

    A US Citizen purchasing a car is not a problem as such. If they were to be the only driver it would be straight forward enough [insurance costs aside] but if you wanted to drive the vehicle you would have to have the insurance in place for yourselves which will no doubt be expensive with your age and driving history. The US is also different in law, where the owner of the vehicle could feel the full force of the law if someone else driving the vehicle were involved in an incident.

    Mileage has little to do with the condition of a vehicle once they are passed a certain age point, and that point will depend on your budget. On an older vehicle, it is more to do with how the vehicle has been cared for with regular servicing and driving habits etc and you are going to need someone with experience to check it over. Normally if something appears to be to good to be true, it is !! Make sure the history checks out with service bills to prove mileage etc and don't end up with highly polished piece of [s]crap.

    Craiglist, Ebay.com are good places to get an idea of the market, but your friend in the US should do some leg work locally and see what's about. Do not make such a major purchase from an advert with assurances that "Oh yes Guv'nor, she's a real beauty" type thing.

    Remember, it would be a huge commitment for your mate in the USA to make and he should be aware of all risks, if you and others are planning on driving.

  7. Default

    our friend is a citizen and has a passport so she isn't living in america. But we are thinking of renting a car instead, one where it is possible to do at the age of 19, eventhough it may be expensive......

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Being a US Citizen will still be a big help in getting a car, but without living here, there will be some challenges. Ultimately, they still need to be a resident, which would probably be easiest in the state where she previously lived and/or their parents currently live.

    I'm really curious as to how long you plan to be doing this trip for. At $50 extra per day per driver, you could easily be looking at paying more than $200 per day for a rental car. That's a budget buster for most people, especially if this trip is going to last longer than a few days.

  9. Default

    Thanks, spoke to someone who had bought a car when they studied there and that was perfectly fine, but it was in 1993.....but searching around there seems to be some corners to cut if we are going to buy a car. Renting one seems to be hard. Obviously now we know its not possible to do this one way and that we'd have to return it in LA, but still the cost would be 4000 dollars minimum. But looking into used cars, there are some nice catches!

    We are planning to be gone for two months, just cruising and enjoying our freedom!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Don't even think about it.

    For a mere two months, you would be better off renting... no matter how expensive it is. Buying and insurance will be much more expensive, without any guarantee that you will recoup any money trying to sell it at the end of your journey. (I have been quoted almost $3000 for insurance, and I am old enough to be your grandmother.)

    Non-residents on a study visa do not have the same problems purchasing a vehicle. They have an address and a visa to reside in the country for the duration of their studies. That alone overcomes most hurdles.

    Lifey

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