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  1. Default Road trip around the US


    I am new to this forum and was not sure where to post or ask a question so I hope here is fine.

    I am looking to do a big road trip around the US for 2 to 3 months and was trying to figure out the best way to get a reliable van for cheap. I was looking into renting or buying but was not sure where to look or what to look for. I live in Colorado and would be bring dogs. I want to do many miles and was wondering if any one can help point me in a good direction on where to find a cheap reliable van to rent/buy.

    thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Basics

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Very (very) generally speaking , three months is about the break even point on whether it s cheaper to buy/resell a car or rent one for a RoadTrip. If you anticipate wanting a vehicle after your trip is over, then buying is probably the way to go. The major advantages in renting are that you don't have to spend a ton of time shopping for a vehicle (and no time at all selling it at the end), maintenance is the rental agency's responsibility so that if the van breaks down while you're n the road they will fix or replace it for you, your costs are relatively well known once you pick up the car, and you will probably be getting a significantly newer model than one you would buy for a few months for resale after the trip.

    If, however, you have a use for the car afterwards, then it makes a fair amount of sense to buy a used one. If you go this route, then the first thing you'll need to find is a good, trustworthy mechanic who will be willing to check the roadworthiness of a few vehicles for you. Basically, I'd start looking for a 5-7 year old model where most of the depreciation has already occurred but the car still has some useful life in it. A good van in this category won't necessarily be cheap, maybe in the range of $5,000 to $10,000 depending on make, model, year, and condition. Spending much less will leave you with an older model and/or one with more miles, but in either case one that is more prone to mechanical problems.

    In either case, and assuming you don't own a vehicle now, you will also have to worry about insurance (very expensive on a rental) and gas mileage. You can get a fair idea of what's available and price ranges in your area by checking the used car lots of local dealers. Then start watching the classifieds in the local paper and buy a couple of auto trade mags from a nearby convenience store. You will need to be particularly vigilant about a private sale and be sure to get the car checked out by your own mechanic. While you're doing your comparison shopping, also start checking out the cost a long term rental, so you'll know how much you'd have to spend for a 'like new' model with none of the hassles of buying and reselling.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Some other resources.

    As for longer term rental, have you checked out Escape Campervans and / or Adventures on Wheels. The former has some good reports from members of this forum. And whereas I have not used the latter, I have heard good reports.

    Adventures on Wheels also sells with a guarantee buy-back (for holders of US licences only). Besides that, if you want to go the buy way, I would not limit myself to Colorado. It is possible to find good mechanics anywhere to check vehicles out for you. All of it takes a lot more time, and maybe a bit more money, but I successfully bought a vehicle over the internet... supplemented by many international telephone calls.


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