Hi, me and my girlfriend went on a roadtrip across the east coast of America from New York to Miami last year for two weeks, we stopped at Philadelphia, Washington, Richmond and Orlando. we had a brilliant time and wanted to do something similar but for a longer period of time. My only issue is transport, the previous trip we used the Greyhound, which I regret to say was not a pleasant experience at times particularly between Washington and Richmond where they lost our bags, luckily we got them back the next day so all was not lost.
So after this experience we decided we didn't want to ride the Greyhound again unless at a last resort. So what other options do we have, I have looked at renting a vehicle but both being 21 the prices are a little high (around 1000 a month), this was with the company National, is there cheaper companies for long term hire?
I looked at Amtrack which was very reasonably priced but they don't stop very often, only in major cities. Trekamerica is not an option as these only run in the summer are there other companies that offer the same services in the autumn and winter months?
Also we plan on taking around $15000 between the two of us, this money does include flights, insurance and accommodation, how long do you think this will last for, we do plan to budget and not fussed about eating fancy. I did some research on google and found a site stating you should budget $70 per day per person does this sound right?
The route is still under discussion, we definitely want to end up in Los Angeles and visit New Orleans, on our previous trip we loved Miami to so want to revisit there.
Thanks in advance
There aren't a lot of other options beyond rental cars or amtrak, and with amtrak you would really be limited on where you could go, especially if you want to go to any natural areas.
There's no one good company for rental cars, although I will say that you'll typically save quite a bit by doing a round trip, rather than dealing with hundreds of dollars in extra fees by going one way across the country. You should also shop around with various agencies in the UK/Europe, which can offer better deals than going directly to the rental companies. Having said that, if you've been quoted $1000 for a month, especially considering your ages, and if you are looking at a one way trip, that seems like a very reasonable price. The underage driver fee alone is often $25 a day.
$100 per person per day is a bit more in line with what we recommend, but there are a lot of variables that make it hard to pinpoint a single number.
Costs per day
The "per day" cost has been in flux since...well, forever, but I'm of the thought that $100 per gives somewhat a level of comfort. With gas prices rising, the expectation is that other costs will follow suit. Better to have a bit extra at the end of the day than not enough.
Transportation by bus or train over long distances in the US is in a pretty sad state, and there aren't a lot of options.
As far as budgeting travel per day....
Overnights can run anywhere from $40 up, depending on the quality of motel and its location. Mom and pop motels (non-chains) often are less expensive but sometimes don't have proper upkeep.
Food depends on how you intend to eat. If you choose motels with continental breakfasts, and don't leave too early in the morning, you can get by with little/no breakfast cost. You can carry cereal and milk in a cooler for those motels that don't have a breakfast available. Lunches can be at a sit-down restaurant, fast food, or bring-your- own cooler and picnic lunch. For dinners, it's rare for us to find a place less than $25 for two. It's possible, though. You can also get food at grocery stores that is already hot or you can cook it in a microwave oven -- many motels have microwaves in the room, or one available for guests to use.
Gasoline...well, today, that is definitely an issue. Use the Fuel Cost Calculator on this site, try 25 mpg, $4.75/gallon and how many miles you think you'll use (3600+ just to go across the country) and that's what you should allot for fuel.
Greyhound is about the only cross-country bus company. Amtrak is the only passenger rail service, and you're right that it doesn't stop many places and when it does, you'll probably have to rent a car someplace. For car rentals, shop around ... National isn't the only one. Try Enterprise, Hertz, and Avis too. Try a consolidator in your home country as they can often get you rates which drop the underage fee (Enterprise's is usually $25/day over and above the rental fee) and the one-way drop fee ($250-500). Try often as you may get different rates at different times.