Im planning on coming over to the States next year hopefully March time for a little bit of travelling but i need some help!
Me and my girlfriend want to rent some sort of camper van so that we can start in san francisco to los angeles then do route 66.
Now the questions i need answering are as followed...
1. As im 21 will i find it hard to rent/insure a car or camper?
2. I have no idea on what sort of budget i will need?
3. how long will it roughly take?
Thank you for your time.
Welcome aboard RTA!
To answer your questions:
1) Renting a car or camper at age 21 can be expensive. I'm not sure on RV's, but on cars there is usually a $25/day surcharge, per person, for drivers between 21 and 25. That's over and above the regular rental fee. Cars can cost about $250/week (roughly) to rent, and then if you have to pay 2 young driver fees, you can double that or more. An RV can cost $500-1000 per week, but I'm not sure what young drivers costs are (or if they even allow rentals for under 25).
2) Budget -- Other than above (which will be hefty either way), you'll have to budget for overnight stops, food, and FUEL.
Fuel will be more expensive in an RV because they generally swallow a gallon of fuel every 5-6 miles. (Cars, OTOH, will swallow a gallon every 15 - 35 miles, depending on what type of car you rent.)
Overnight stops will depend on the type of transportation you take. If in an RV, you can overnight in truck stops for free (with permission), stay at a public campground for $15-20/night, or at a luxurious RV resort for $50. If in a car, you can find a cheap motel for around $50 a night (or less in some areas), or go for a lot higher accommodations.
Food will also be dependent on the mode of transportation. In an RV, it's a bit easier to fix your own meals and eat similar to the way you eat at home, or choose to eat out a lot. With a car/motel, you will eat out more but you can fix some meals along the way if you are determined. We use a combination and budget $60 for two per day.
3) How long it will take depends on you. SF to LA can be a one to two day trip (two days recommended if going down the coast road PCH-1). Doing Rt 66 can be a lot longer. Please realize that Route 66 was decommissioned years ago, and for the most part, replaced by I-40 and I-55. Parts of Rt 66 still exist, either as a state route (AZ-66 is the most well known) or as business routes through the cities and larger towns along the interstates. You "can" drive this in 4 days, but to stop and see things like the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, some of the old remaining businesses along Busn 66 and AZ-66, Cadillac Ranch and the IL portion will add to the days.
Hope this helps!
Last edited by DonnaR57; 05-30-2012 at 12:16 PM.
Still getting the hang of this. So sorry if you get the same messege a few times!
Would you say its cheaper to just rent a small car then stay in a motel everynight?
Probably so. Check out this thread, RVs vs Car-Motel.
Euro campers are rare in the USA.
With just 2 of you travelling a car and Motels will certainly be cheaper than an RV by the time you work out all the costs. The main 'extra' costs when renting an RV will be campground fees and fuel costs. Expect a small modern RV rental to only return 12/14mpg and the larger ones around 9-10mpg. It is very likely that you will be able to rent a 'camper van' [European VW for example] and drop it off the other side of the country. They are very rare in the USA and are usually operated by smaller independant companies.
As Donna mentioned, route 66 was decommisioned many years ago and in parts can be difficult to follow. In all honesty, I would not base my trip on any particular route number, but rather on what interests me.
You could save a large chunk of cash by doing a loop trip where you start and finish in the same City to avoid one way drop fees. If that were to be SF there is a local based company called Lost Campers where they do a conversion van aimed at couples on a budget.
Another option would be to look out for special deals on RV rental Websites like Cruise America and El Monte. Cruise America have a refurb centre in Phoenix and often need RV's delivering there and you can get some cheap deals. [Big discounts and no drop off fee] It's possible you could pick one up on the east coast and deliver it to Phoenix and then continue by car to the west coast but it is a case of fitting in with their schedule. Sometimes it all fits and other times it doesn't.
Ok thanks for that. Ive been planning alot of routes and we have come up with this. I would appreciate your feedback.
San Francisco to San Diego,Las Vegas,Grand Canyon,Albuquerque,Texas,Dallas,Louisiana,New Orleans,Panama City,Tampa,Miami,Palm Bay,Orlando,Daytona Beach,Jacksonville and so on.
We have quite a big budget and we think that some people might say its too many places to go to. But we will have stops when ever we want/need to and we have unlimited time.
Never too much. [?]
If your budget and time can match your ambitions, I don't think many of us here as road trip enthusiasts would say too much, or too many places. The trip will be 5000 miles plus, ending in NY by the time you add detours. Thats going to be about 10 days of driving and if you added just a day at each destination you have listed and another 3/4 days for the 'so on' and time in NY, you would be looking at a month long trip, and you can easily spend 2 or 3 days at each destination!
That's without starting to look at the millions of other options you could choose along the way, so no it's not too much but it literally is a case of doing what YOUlike. I don't know if there is something that takes you to each of these places that appeals to you, or whether it is 'just' a route ? As I touched upon earlier, it's more about going where you want to go rather than picking a route. I would suggest you get a good wall map of the USA and keep reading and researching around RTA and start by putting markers on the map of all that appeals and then see how you can join them up.
We can certainly help fill in the blanks and if your list is your wish list, that's great, but there is so much more to America than City's. Remember you have lot's of time for planning and altering your trip [the early stages rarely look anything like the finished product, for me anyway!] so I would start to look at bits of your trip and break it down into smaller sections. For example, you could easily spend 2/3 days in SF, 2 or 3 along the coast to LA, a couple of days there and another 2 in San Diego and boom, 10 days gone! To do SF to SD and a bit of the coast 'quickly' would take 5 or 6 days to really have time to enjoy yourselves. That's not to mention the wonderful NP's of California like Yosemite, Sequoia and Death Valley and so it will go on . Remember the USA is HUGE !!
Enjoy the planning and keep asking questions 'as' and 'when'. Don't get 'bogged' down by it all, the planning stages can be a fun part of the trip as a whole !
Thank You Dave.
We do hope to take our time along the way to each city. Stopping whenever we want too.
I think we are settled on renting a small car and staying in motels everynight.
Ive got a quote of £984 and thats for 1st March till 29th April and thats how long ive gave us to 'Do our own thing' from San Francisco to Jacksonville. Do you think thats long enough? or is it too long? and also the quote of £984 does that include insurance for the car or is that an additional fee?
There really is no way we can tell you what your quote includes based only on a number. You really have to ask detailed questions and look at the fine print from the place that is providing the quote.
I will say I doubt that includes insurance, but you should check to see if you are already covered by the personal insurance coverage you might already have.
Just as importantly, make sure that quote includes all the extra fees, including the underage driver fee for being below 25, the one way drop fee, and taxes. I'll be honest, the number you've been given sounds almost too good to be true. Just the underage fee for a 2 month trip would typically be about $1500 (£1000), and then a drop fee for a one way cross country trip is often about $500 on top of that, so it would almost be expected that you'd be looking at $2000 in fees before you even pay the base rental rate.
Its possible the quote you've got is accurate, but use caution and make sure that's the true price.
If anyone wants to make us a route or anyone has any ideas please feel free to tell me. As we are still early in our preperations, we are open to anything.