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  1. Default Cross Country Road Trip

    I've wanted to go on a long cross country road trip for many years. I'm 22 years old and in May i will be graduating college. I figured that this would be a perfect time to try this while i'm still young. I worked all through college and saved up a good amount of money and have convinced at least one other person to go on this trip, possibly two. We have blocked off 25 days but we are still flexible beyond that. The trouble is we are having a rough time finding a rental car that is reasonably priced. We will be bringing camping equipment and have no problem sleeping in the car. Many car rental places seem to have restrictions on mileage if you cross the Mississippi. Our price range is about 2,000 to 2,500 per person. Gas alone will cost close to 1,000. Does anyone have and tips or suggestions. Our plan is to start in Rochester, NY and travel to:

    1. Chicago, IL
    2. Denver, CO
    3. Jackson Hole,WY
    4. San Francisco,CA
    5. Los Angels,CA
    6. Las Vegas,NV
    7. Grand Canyon, AZ
    8. Austin, TX
    9. New Orleans, LA
    10. Nashville, TN
    11. Washington, D.C.
    12. and back to Rochester.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default No cheap fix.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You will have a problem getting a good deal on car rental until you reach the age of 25, until then I'm afraid you face young driver surcharges which is on a 'per person' basis. In other words any one of your group under the age of 25 who wants to drive will have to pay that fee for every day of the rental period. All you can really do is look for the best deal available, wait until you are 25 years old, or if any of you are looking into car ownership in the future, look to purchase a vehicle before the trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Getting a Realistic Handle on What It Will Cost

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I've never run into the Mississippi as a determining factor in any of my rental car contracts, and I rent tow or three times a year all over the country. What I suspect is happening is that this is a subtle way to get their 'underage' driver fee out of you without actually saying so. For two drivers, assuming that you and one of your companions split the driving, that fee for both of you plus the 'additional' driver fee would typically add $75/day to the cost of the rental. I suspect that would be prohibitive in your case. In any event, car rental rates have risen significantly in the last several months, and I don't see you being able to rent any car for over three weeks for less than almost $1000, and that's before adding additional fees and/or mileage charges. You'll need to get your finances straight, including the real cost of the car rental, before you proceed too much further with your planning.

    Another place where I don't think you're going to be able to hold down expenses as much as you seem to be counting on is in your sleeping arrangements. While you will fall asleep from time to time in the car, you will not get a 'good night's sleep' no matter how you try. You need to plan on being out of the car in a motel or at a campsite where you can stretch out and sleep. And just as a point of safety, the driver and the front seat passenger are never to sleep. The reason the driver can't should be self-evident. The reason the front seat passenger can't is that it is his responsibility to see that the driver doesn't. Also (not trying to be a downer here) I estimate your gas costs to be at least 15-20% higher than you're planning on. You have to factor in several things such as extra mileage getting to places that aren't on your direct point-to-point map, the fact that you won't be getting great mileage as you cross the Rockies, the higher cost of gas in outlying areas and at all the tourist locations you'll be visiting, etc.


  4. #4


    Escape Campervans will rent, without restrictions, if you're 21 or older. You'll have your vehicle, bed, camp stove and kitchenware for 3 included in the rental + 100 free miles a day. If you want 200 miles/day you pay $15 a day more, if you want unlimited miles that's $19 a day more. Their NY rental rate is like $65-80 a day, depending on season.

    They're econoline vans that have been retrofitted for car/van camping and they get about 20mpg. The only issue is they're down by NYC, so you'd have to figure out how to get yourself there - maybe train down?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Does anyone in your group own a car? Or is it possible that you'd want to be buying a car anyway before you'd be taking this trip? As was mentioned, because of your ages renting is going to be expensive.

    In addition to what has previously been said, I'll also throw in a word of caution about "convincing" other people to join you on a trip, especially one of this size. The more people who are on the trip, the more opinions that you need to consider. If not everyone is as invested as you are, then it is that much less likely that everyone will agree on how to spend your time on this trip.

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