Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
  1. Default SUV- Buy or Rent?

    Hello People :)

    We are a couple from Israel, both 27, and we're planning a long road trip to the USA. A big part of the trip- from about March to July (about five months)- will be in the west coast and north west. We're thinking or starting this part or the trip in Arizona, including The Grand Canyon, Then to California (Parks and Cities), Then heading north and arriving to Yellowstone, and from there further north to the Rockies- including crossing the border to Canada- to Banff and Jasper Parks, and perhaps ending in Vancouver or Seattle. We will definitely do walking tracks (perhaps not the most adventurous ones, but we don't mind abit or adventure).

    It will be a long trip with lots of driving, so we're thinking or getting an SUV in which the back seats open up and we can sleep in them from time to time. We don't mind sleeping in the car (if it's save enough), because we want to lower our costs as possible (this trip will be expensive as it is). That's why we're not thinking of getting an RV, because it will be to expensive.

    So, our question is: buy a used car or rent?
    Renting will be definitely more comfortable, but if we can buy and sell the car in the end we can lower our costs. How hard will that be? we also don't want to spend too much of our time just looking for someone to buy the car from us. So what are the best options? We don't want to spend more that 10,000 on a car.
    Consider in your answer that we are not American citizens, in terms of the bureaucracy of renting/buying/selling a car. Also consider that we want to cross the border to Canada- Whatever that entails.

    Thank You :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default The economics of buying a car, besides the difficulties.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    Buying, registering and insuring a vehicle in the USA as a non-resident is extremely difficult and time consuming, bordering on the impossible. Most States require you to have a fixed residential address and/or US driver's licence. It is also questionable as to the economy, since you would be buying a fairly cheap vehicle which is bound to have issues along the way. Remember you would be liable for repairs, which can take a week or more out of your holiday. Rarely can a traveller sell it for anything like it was bought for.

    On the other hand, rental vehicles are usually fairly new and late models (with superior fuel consumption). If anything should happen along the way they take care of it, without any significant delay to your travels.

    I have seen folk with an SUV rental, in Alaska. they had laid down the seats, but a wooden base on legs over that and a mattress. All their gear was stored underneath. Their setup looked quite comfortable.. If you can be comfortable and get a good night's sleep then sleeping in an SUV is fine. However, you cannot just pull over anywhere, and rest areas along the highway are regarded as quite dangerous unless they have armed guards (which only a couple of States provide). The safest places are public lands campgrounds which have basic services, such as State Parks and Forests. Quite a few truck stops permit free parking overnight, and are very save. It is a courtesy to then give them some of your business, such as fill the tank, eat in their restaurant, etc. Many have showers for a fee.

    Most companies will allow you to cross the border into Canada, but you do need to make that clear at the time of booking.

    Lifey

  3. Default

    Thanks for your quick reply!

    A few questions:

    About how much money per month will it be to rent an SUV?
    How common are those campgrounds in these areas? That is, in the areas of parks such as Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, etc. Are these open all year? At least, are they open in March-July?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Further thoughts.

    Be aware that most of Yellowstone is closed till around the middle of May. Spring comes late to the high country.

    When renting it is always cheaper to do a loop trip. If you are planning to end your trip in the north west, is there anyway you can start it there as well. One way drop fees for rental cars can run into hundreds of dollars. Another thing to consider is that rental agencies closer to the Canadian border are better situated for cross border rentals.

    Lifey

  5. Default

    Hmmm... Not sure if we can do a loop trip, because it is a very big loop, and can cost us some time (and perhaps even more money on gas...). I'll think about it and see if it can be possible.
    I think we will only arrive in Yellowstone sometime in June, so it will be alright, no?

    Does anyone have an estimate on how much it will cost to rent an SUV?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Renting an SUV will depend on the size of said SUV. We just rented what was considered a "full size SUV" (Chevy Equinox). It cost us $466 for the 7-day week. You might get a better price, renting by the month. Bear in mind that the rental company may ask you to bring it to one of their outlets to have an oil change periodically. I wouldn't have wanted to sleep in that car, because it was not particularly big.

    Have you thought about purchasing an inexpensive tent and a couple of sleeping bags? Maybe an air mattress? That, to me, would be preferable to sleeping in a car. If you are at a truck stop or similar, sleeping with the windows shut would be safer but definitely, stuffy!


    Donna

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    It's not really possible to give you a generic estimate on the cost of a rental, because there are just too many variables, especially if you do a one way trip. The specific dates of your rental and the location you pickup/dropoff can make a huge difference. Having said that, $50+ a day wouldn't surprise me at all, as renting an SUV usually carries a significant premium over renting even a full sized sedan. The extra expense of an SUV could pretty easily wipe out any savings you might see from trying to sleep in the back.

    I will also note that sleeping in the back of an SUV does also create the problem of what to do with your stuff if you are using the entire cargo area as a bed. If you're looking to save money, I'd look at going with a sedan and spend a little money on camping gear. That's likely going to be much more comfortable, and cost less, especially, since you will often need to be in a campground to have a safe place to be overnight.

    Back to the Rent vs. Buy question: Are you sure you'll even be able to visit the US for 5 months? Do you already have your visa lined up? Most tourists visit on the Visa Waiver Program which only allows 3 months of travel within the US, however, I don't believe Israel is a country that's approved for the VWP, so a full tourist visa may be required anyway.

    If you are actually going to be here for 5 months, then it could be worth your time to look into purchasing a vehicle. The "break even" point is usually about 3 months, which is why purchasing doesn't make sense for more visitors. If you do purchase, there are usually a lot of red tape and difficulties of trying to register a car without a US license. Some states are more difficult than others, and that could impact where you need to start your trip. Washington State, for example, seems to be one of the easier states to register without a US license, so you might want to start your trip in Seattle.

    Of course, if you do buy, you do need to plan for several days of your trip being tied up with the hassles of buying a car - finding the vehicle, getting it inspected, getting it registered and insured, are all things that can be time consuming.

    If you rent, I'd look at the potentially significant cost savings of doing a loop. Depending upon where you are actually going, it's quite possible it won't add nearly as many miles as you think, especially if you are planning to see thing in both the northern and southern US, and with 5 months available, time really shouldn't be that much of a concern.

  8. Default

    Mmmm... all of this are definitely things to consider.
    As for visas- I have tourist visa for 10 years, and my partner has a German passport as well. Her German passport only lets her travel in the US for 3 months at a time, so she is still working on getting a visa on her Israeli passport. If, for some reason, she won't get the visa, we will have to plan our trip a bit differently- spending some time in Mexico or Canada in the middle.

    Anyway, if we can have a car for about five months, perhaps it will be possible to buy a car, and sell it at the end of the trip, thus saving a bit. But all that depends on exactly how much red tape it involves, and on if we will need a US license and address or not. Does anyone know how hard and time consuming is that procedure in Arizona, California, Utah and Nevada for example?
    I think we don't mind spending a few days of the trip on that, but not a few weeks...

    If we will rent, doing a loop is definitely a thing to consider. Also the option of a Sedan and a tent and sleeping bags is perhaps a good option. So many difficult decisions!
    If you have any more advice for us, we'd be glad to hear it! Thanks again for your help.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    A warning, if your friend is traveling on a German passport, then going to Canada or Mexico in the middle is not going to work. The 90 days allowed by the VWP basically includes all time spent in North America - the clock does not restart simply by crossing the border. You would actually have to leave North America to get a new 90 days.

    I can't tell you exactly the process in those states, and that's exactly why purchasing a car is so challenging as a non-resident. The biggest issue is vehicle registration - so basically you need to look at the DMV websites of each state you are considering as a starting point for your trip, because each state's rules will be different (The reason I mentioned Washington State is because other RTA Forum visitors have had success there). Insurance is the other thing that is a challenge without a US drivers license, but that item seems somewhat easier to overcome with some work and research, that can be done in advance.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    I wouldn't even bother with trying California. We have so much bureaucracy here, including a very stringent smog test. You have to have a smog test done before you buy a vehicle, then you'll have to have it done when you sell it -- even if it's 3 months later. Even if your seller just did the smog test, you'll have to get it done again -- that's what a colleague just went through when he bought a used vehicle (private party). Not to mention that we have about the highest license/registration fees and the highest insurance costs in the US. It used to be that if you purchased a vehicle across the state line, you'd have to pay the sales tax to California (even if you paid the sales tax in another state) when you imported the vehicle, but they've since dumped that extortion.


    Donna

Similar Threads

  1. Rent a car bookers and rent a car comapnies - difference in price
    By Maja in forum RoadTrip Costs and Research
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 08-01-2011, 11:11 AM
  2. To rent a car or not rent a car...
    By anderton6 in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-14-2008, 09:36 AM
  3. To Buy or to Rent
    By iainpettitt in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-29-2007, 08:47 PM
  4. Rent or Buy
    By Ruthless66 in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 01-10-2007, 09:24 PM
  5. Rent or Buy???
    By Unhinged Kiwi in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 10-05-2006, 12:13 AM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES