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  1. Default Aussie couple planning 5 month US Road Trip.

    Hi Folks

    I'm an Australian contemplating an extended road trip around the US and possibly Canada/Mexico. I intend to take advantage of cruise ship repositioning cruises which would land me in Seattle in April and leave from Vancouver in October, so the trip would be about 5-6 months.

    The best transport option is probably to buy a car as soon as I land and sell it again when we leave for whatever it will fetch, or at worst give it away. I have seen cars on craigslist in Seattle which would do fine for about $5K.

    Unfortunately I know nothing about the legal aspects of US car ownership. In Australia each car has to be "registered" in the state of residence of the owner, registration lasts 12 months and is transferred to the new buyer if the car is sold. (In some states the vehicle must be inspected for roadworthiness at the time of transfer.)

    In additional, each vehicle must be insured against "third party" risks (covers costs associated with injury to others in an accident).

    If anybody can assist with an explanation of what is involved in purchasing a car in the US (especially in Washington State) I would be most grateful! (I have an international Drivers License which I assume will allow me to drive anywhere.)

    Our basic plan is to select five "base locations" and stay in each for a month, probably taking a short term apartment rental, and from each base covering worthwhile attractions within a roughly 500 mile radius, staying in budget motels while away from each base. I have no idea yet where the bases will be, so suggestions are most welcome. Can anybody see a better approach than this?

    Any suggestions or comments on any aspect of my plans would be very welcome, as we are very much in the "thinking about it" phase of planning at the moment. The trip may not even prove to be feasible, although I can't see (yet) why it should not be. It would be likely to occur in 2015, possibly 2016. I know this is a long way away, but you can never start planning too early, and least in general terms.

    Some background on us:

    We are a child-free retired couple, I'm 62, wife 57. We were in the IT industry all our lives. We like Museums (of almost anything!), Art Galleries, Scenic Views (not involving too much walking as wife has restricted mobility) and really just about anything interesting. Basically we'd just like to have a good look around and get a feel for what life in the USA is like. We are very much "young at heart".

    Things we would especially like to cover:
    The Smithsonian
    New York
    Somewhere that makes great Crab Cakes!
    Grand Canyon
    The grand mansions of the Deep South (Gone with the Wind style)
    New Orleans
    Niagara Falls
    Grand Tetons
    Met. Museum of Art
    At least a section of Route 66!
    Monument Valley
    If Mexico, Aztec sites

    I hope this gives an idea of type of people we are, things we like, and hopefully enough info that we can become worthwhile members of this forum.

    Cheers from Down Under
    Last edited by hobotivo; 02-22-2014 at 08:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    I hate to put a damper on your plans, but have you applied for visas yet? The visa waiver program will only allow a 3 month visit.

    It's very difficult these days for a foreign national without a US residence to buy and register a vehicle. A long term rental is going to be a much better way. It may be easier to buy and register a car in Canada, but you would have to go back there to sell it.

    The only downside of a rental is you can't take one to Mexico - and taking an owned vehicle to Mexico involves a lot of red tape. Not recommended. You have to buy Mexican insurance at the border, and you can't leave the border areas without posting a bond and getting a permit.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Cars and Visa.

    Here's the link to the Visa application. Make note of the cost, and that there is no guarantee of getting a visa, and no refund. If it is purely for tourism, not family or work, I'd forget about it. It is next to impossible to get a visa just to visit. Stick with the 90 days.

    As for car ownership, take note of what is said above. Rental is the way to go. Buying a car for $5K may look enticing, but you will be responsible for the repairs, etc. With a rental, if there is a problem, the company takes care of it. Besides, it does not stop at $5K. There is the registration (if you can get it) and the insurance. Neither are easy, though possible... at a price.

    An international licence is merely a translation of one's licence from home. Since your licence is already in English, there is no need for one. I have driven in excess of 155000 miles in North America, over 6 long visits. Even when pulled over by law enforcement - happened twice - my licence has never been questioned.


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