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  1. Default Road trip NY to California, rent or buy a car?

    My partner and are planning a roadtrip in September starting in New York and ending in California. We want to go through the southern states and we will have 5-6 weeks to do it.
    I just want opinions on wether its better to hire a car or buy a car and sell it at the end
    We have looked at a lot of hire sites at prices and they all seem to come to between $2500-$3000 Australian dollars with the fees and taxes bring more than the hire price. And fuel on top of that.
    Also the driver needs to be at least 25 years old, my partner is but I'm only 22 so that would mean he would need to drive the entire way.
    Also does anyone know what the deal is with buying a car and getting it insured? Approx costs etc?
    Any advice on the best way to go would be much appreciated.

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

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    We are told that purchasing a vehicle here in the States, when you are a non-resident, is difficult and time-consuming (particularly to find one capable of going across the country without a little work first), but not impossible. By "time consuming" we mean the time that you would have to take at the beginning of a vacation to find a decent car, test-drive it, buy it, register and license it, insure it, and then get something fixed before you leave. Then at the end, it could take weeks to sell the car. Also, some states are not as friendly to non-resident vehicle purchases as others, particularly when it comes to registration and licensing.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    For a 5-6 week trip, renting is going to end up being the pretty obvious choice. The simple reality is that between the loss of buying retail and selling wholesale, insurance, taxes, registration fees, and maintenance/repairs, purchasing a car would almost certainly end up costing at least $3000. That doesn't even include the thousands you'd need up front to buy a roadworthy car. With a rental, you're assured of getting a nearly new car, and you don't have to worry about paying for repairs - which on an older car could easily cost you thousands.

    There are also lots of big headaches that make purchasing a car as a non-resident of the US very difficult, but for a trip that's less than 2 months long, renting is generally going to be a much more cost-effective option.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-15-2013 at 06:59 AM. Reason: typo

  4. Default

    Thanks guys that's very helpful. I'm leaning more towards the renting now. The only downside being my partner will have to do all the driving as I'm under 25.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If you look carefully, especially with offshore consolidators, you may be able to find a rental that will not charge an "under 25" surcharge. I just used carhire3000.com to look at a 6 week rental from JFK to LAX with a 22 year old driver and came up with 1100 GBP. Additional driver is about 5 GBP a day.

    (I think Michael meant 5-6 week, not month)

    The biggest hitch to buying (titling, registering, insuring, and inspecting) a car here is having an address. If you are here on the visa waiver program, that's probably not going to happen. There are ways around it, but they are very time-consuming and can be quite expensive. We don't have a national system for this, each state has its own regulations and system. Essentially, you have to be a US resident to "own" a car here.

  6. Default

    All very helpful information. I'm glad I asked now, buying a car in Australia is a lot simpler for non residents so i was hoping it would be similar in the states.

    glc, thanks so much for that site, it's actually the cheapest one I've seen

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Easier.... but not cheap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Courtjb View Post
    All very helpful information. I'm glad I asked now, buying a car in Australia is a lot simpler for non residents so i was hoping it would be similar in the states.
    It may be easier, but it certainly is not cheaper. Have you ever seen the vehicles the backpackers here, use? None of them appear to be in great condition. Michael laid out all the reasons why buying would not be such a smart idea.

    glc, thanks so much for that site, it's actually the cheapest one I've seen.
    I have recently learned of roadtrippers from Oz using Europe.com. They will be back mid June. He's going to put his experience with them in his field report. They found them to be the cheapest.

    On another note, if you are a member of the automobile club of your State, such as RACV or NRMA, make sure you take your membership with you. It will give you access to free maps and tourist information at the AAA. (Don't be tempted to take on a trip of this scope with only electronics.)

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I have recently learned of roadtrippers from Oz using Europe.com. They will be back mid June. He's going to put his experience with them in his field report. They found them to be the cheapest.
    I just tried the same itinerary I did with carhire3000.com and got no results. You would have to call them.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Bonny Hills , Australia
    Posts
    302

    Default

    Well Im going to plug www.escapecampevans.com again. Being a young couple it might suite you more. I dont think they penalise for young drivers either. They have a depot in LA ans well as a new one in New York as well as Las Vegas and San Francisco.


    We are about to start our second road trip in an escape campevan. It could be cheaper with a car and motel trip but I havent found a motel in a State Forest or camping area that I like yet.

    John

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