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  1. Default Road Trip Florida to LA

    Hi there,

    I'm new to the forum but have been browsing your site for the last few weeks and found some great tips. I have just been told that I will be given my full 4 week holiday entitlement together in 2015 and this should fall in March/April. This seems like a great opportunity to finally kickstart the dream American roadtrip with my partner but I must admit to being a little clueless! Fingers crossed some of you can bring me back down to earth and help with some input on what we can realistically achieve in this timeframe :)

    We are both 25 and from Scotland but as we have contacts in Florida, we're looking at potentially travelling from Orlando to LA. However, as we have a full 5 weeks, we are more than happy to do some zig zagging around to take in as many sights/states as possible to fully immerse ourselves in the whole journey. The plan is not to drive constantly but to spend more time in the places that we like along the way. Plans are very loose! We have already roadtripped around Europe so while this aspect is not new, America definitely is!

    After lots of research, we have added the following states to our wishlist for the trip: Florida, Colorado, Arizona, California and possibly Texas. Our confusion lies in which direction to head between Florida and the others. We are outdoorsy people and photographers who adore the scenery and are keen to experience the real American landscape while also getting active and enjoying some stereotypical tourist attractions along the way. Can anybody shed any light on whether it might be worth our while travelling further North to take in Tennessee and Kansas etc? Or possibly Mississippi, Oklahoma etc? I realise this sounds very vague but we would be so grateful for any advice. Would this even be a realistic option or do you think we would be pushing ourselves for time? As I say, our attitude is very much that variety is the spice of life so we're aiming to take in as much as possible. Any suggestions would be fantastic.

    Huge thank you in advance for any feedback :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default To Help You Get Started

    Ceud měle fŕilte! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Well, keeping in mind that there is no wrong way to do such a RoadTrip, making the most of your time, i.e. spending less in the car and more on site, the logical plan would be to hit your target states in the following order: Florida, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, California. Now within such a framework there is plenty of opportunity for zigzagging and side trips to great photogenic scenery and enticing outdoor activities.

    As for attractions to visit, you can't do much better for starters than the natural wonders and historic sites that are part of our national park system. And you can visit (almost) all of the for one low price for everybody: $80 (Ł50). This pass is good for one year for the owner and everyone in his/her car, so just purchase it at the first national park you come to that charges admission and you're good to go for the rest of your trip. It does not, however, cover 'extras' such as concession and camping fees.

    Some of the best such parks that will be within reach of your basic route would include Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (National forests and wildlife refuges are another great and nearly ubiquitous resource!), Gulf Islands National Seashore, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Curecanti National Recreation Area, Arches National Park, Zion National Park and - of course - Grand Canyon National Park. And those are just the highlights. There are numerous other, less well-known, national parks and monuments, state parks, etc. Your best course of action at this point is to get a good atlas of the U.S., map out a basic route that gets to all of your own 'must sees', and then start seeing what's in between. We can certainly help with all that if you have further questions.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Hi there,

    Thank you so much for some excellent advice. Very much appreciated and we're already furiously googling the parks you mention which we were yet to discover! Also brilliant to know that multi-park passes are available, will make things a lot easier as they are really the focus of our trip. Also really appreciate you confirming our thoughts that less is probably more. Sticking to the states we decided on would probably allow a lot more time for exploring and discovery once we are there.

    Do you happen to know where we can get some good solid advice on the actual buying and selling of a vehicle i.e. info on required paperwork,where to obtain this,other legal requirements etc. We are planning on buying a vehicle in Florida to drive to California and sell on but I guess rules are probably a bit variable between states so don't quite know where to start.

    Thank you so much again, a great welcome to your forum which is quickly becoming our travelling bible!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Best Car Purchase Advice: Forget It

    The simple fact is that it is both almost legally impossible, and certainly financially counter-productive, for a foreign national to buy and sell a car in the U.S. for a short term period. The legal hurdles are straightforward. You need to be a legal resident of the state in which you want to register the car. You will not be, nor do you have any hope of using your Scottish address or driver's license as proof of your intention not to simply skip the country in the case of an accident. I am marginally aware of one firm in the Seattle area that would handle such paper work for you, but I don't know who they are or the legality of what they do, especially for a car that will never see the state of Washington.

    Then there's the finances. Even for local residents it makes no sense at all to buy a car for less than three months. Remember that you'll be buying retail and selling wholesale, so you are going to take a huge hit in the wallet just on that. Then you have the added expenses of license, registration, and insurance - all of which are typically 'sold' in six month chunks at best. You would just be throwing away over 80% of everything you spent on those items. Oh, and guess who's responsible for any breakdowns 'your' car has, or repairs it needs? Believe it or not, your best alternative is to rent an intermediate or mid-sized car and leave all of that to the car hire firm.

    AZBuck

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

    Default

    You will almost always get a much better rate from a European consolidator/broker on a car rental than dealing directly with the company. An example is carhire3000.com.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Not only is buying a car a poor idea from a financial aspect, but it is also a huge time suck. Even if you could get the legal aspects taken car of (again, very difficult as a non-resident), it would take a relatively huge amount of your vacation time. At the bare minimum, you'd be looking at 2-3 days to get the car - by the time you find a car, get it inspected, and then take care of the license, insurance, etc - and then the better part of a day on the back end to sell it, and that's assuming you dump it for next to nothing by selling it to a dealer. Not to mention the potential of wasting days at a mechanic if your car does break down. 4 days is a lot of time to waste, when you've only got 4 weeks available! If you rent a car, those days will be cut down to a couple hours at most.

  7. Default

    Uh oh, feel I've embarrassed myself a bit here! As we don't leave for well over a year I hadn't even begun looking into vehicles yet. Thank you so much for all info, we naively thought thought this might be the cheapest solution. The USA is new to us and buying to sell on is by far the easiest/cheapest option on this side of the world. We did this in Europe, Asia and Australia within hours so thought it may be the same, now we know better! Thanks again, so grateful for all tips :)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    You're hardly the first, and you certainly won't be the last to underestimate the challenges of purchasing a car in the US as a non-resident.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default I did it!

    Quote Originally Posted by lanski42 View Post
    The USA is new to us and buying to sell on is by far the easiest/cheapest option on this side of the world. We did this in Europe, Asia and Australia within hours so thought it may be the same ...
    As a frequent visitor to North America, for family reasons, I too was frustrated not being able to buy my own vehicle in my own name. Just like travellers do, all over the world.

    Welcome to North America!

    The bonus is that the continent, its many attractions and its inhabitants more than make up for this frustration. Have a great trip.

    Lifey

  10. Default

    If you can please check out "Billy Connolly's Route 66" produced by BBC/ITV in 2011. This will help you decided part of trip in Texas/NM/Arizona/California.

    Cheers,

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