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  1. Default Few Questions, Help would be appericated :)

    Hello All. new to the site but from what i have read so far its exactly what Ive been looking for and taken in a lot of advice already. So i thought i would join up and post myself.

    I'm going to be traveling to America in April 2013 from Australia, landing in LA. My Original plan was to hire a car and drive around the country to get a real feel and experience for the country/culture and see as much as possible. But its Working out to be FAR to expensive to rent a car for that length of time.
    So i decided to look into buying an cheap and nasty car with enough life to get it done. but everywhere Ive read its very hard to get a car registered for non American citizens. Is there any way i can work around it? Without having to fly state to state and missing endless experiences and views?

    IF worse comes to worse i have a friend who is willing to road trip with me From Maimi to Vegas. but i cant seem to come up with a road trip plan that feels right?
    has anyone got a good one from this stretch of road? time isn't really an issue have 2-3 weeks to complete. Want to experience all things American and famous for the various states we pass though.

    Any help would be greatly Appreciated!

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


    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I can assure you that for a trip that only lasts 2-3 weeks, there is no point looking to purchase a car. It is simply not economical for a trip that is that short. As expensive as it might seem to rent a car, you will certainly spend far more than that to purchase, register, license, and insure any vehicle that would be roadworthy for such a trip. Not to mention, purchasing a car would then take up several days of valuable time, and you could lose even more time if your "cheap and nasty" car suffers some kind of mechanical breakdown. You really need to be looking at a trip that is approaching 3 months before buying a car reaches the break-even point with renting.

    And yes, purchasing a car as a non-resident can be a nightmare when it comes to navigating the paperwork and red tape, but that's almost an afterthought in your situation.

    If you're looking to save money, the best bet is to do a loop trip where you start and end in the same place. You might have to put more limits on the distance you can travel, but you would potentially have much more time to enjoy the places you would get to see.

  3. Default

    Sorry should have been abit more specific. My intended trip length for the states will be roughly 3 months.
    the 2-3 weeks for more directed at the maimi to Vegas part. sorry about that

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Well, in that case, you would be closer to breaking even. However, I'd still tell you that if you think that purchasing a car will be much cheaper than renting a car, you still could end up with an unpleasant surprise. Your statement of looking for a "cheap and nasty" used car makes me really think that you're underestimating what it would take to get a roadworthy car. You're still going to need at least a few thousand dollars to get a suitable car, and at least several hundred more to deal with the taxes, license, insurance, and maintenance etc. You might get some of it back when you sell it at the end, but even that is likely going to be far less than you paid for it.

    I'm assuming you'll be traveling under the Visa Waiver Program, which will makes it very difficult to get any car registered and street legal. Travelers who come on a full visa have an additional layer of documents that can be helpful when trying to deal with paperwork. There are some states where the rules are less strick than others when it comes to registering a car and proving residentcy, but you'll have to research yourself to figure out which states might work best for your situation.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default How much is 'FAR too expensive'?

    But its Working out to be FAR too expensive to rent a car for that length of time.
    May I ask, how much would that be?

    As an Australian who travels on a B/2 visa, it took me more than a decade to work out how to purchase, register and insure a vehicle - which I have now done. My last 6 months trip probably would have broken even. I don't think I came out ahead. Only difference is, since I need to travel almost every year, I now have a vehicle stored away for future trips.

    I did not buy a 'cheap and nasty car', in fact, I was told by those who saw it, those who inspected it, that it was an excellent vehicle in impeccable condition. Still within the first six weeks I had the best part of a week off the road for unexpected repairs. (A rental company would have replaced the vehicle within hours.)

    It may seem a lot to rent, but it is by far the best way to go for a one-off three months trip. Follow Michael's advice and draw up a loop trip. Furthermore, keep researching. It is amazing how sometimes starting the rental period on a different day of the week or at different times of the day can turn up different rates. Just as different locations within the same city do. Airport locations are usually the most expensive. Occasionally there are even deals to be had where the one-way fee is waived.

    Keep researching!


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