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  1. Default 6 months to 1 year road trip

    Hey everybody, My name is Lucas, i'm 27 and i'm start to plan a really big roadtrip over the USA with my fyance. I've been a couple times in USA driving from Miami to Orlando only.

    I'm not sure if we are gooing to make a 6 months travel or 1 year yet, first because i don't know if we will have enough money for a whole year and second, as far as i know, the USA doesn't give brazilian tourist visas for more than 180 days.

    My plans so far are to buy a car in Florida, meet a lot of places in florida, visit everything on the way to New york, stay a bit more in NY than the other places , go to Massachussets, see everything from there to Seattle, Then From Seattle to Los Angeles, and end the trip somewhere in texas or lousiana and sell the car when travel is over.

    Or maybe do the anticlockwise, Florida, see everything from there to CA, then all the way up to Seattle, check everything i can from Seattle to massachusetts, and end the trip in NY.

    No luxury in this trip, the lower the better, afterall, it's 1 year without any income, so i have to make everything as cheap as possible, staying in hostels, campgrounds, also, instead a regular sedan, i might buy a minivan and spend some nights in the car if this can save me some money.


    I know it's not much planned yet, but well, it's a start and i will be planning the trip this whole year to start in the road in the next year.

    As for the car, i'm probably buying it arround Fort Lauderdale, FL, because i know some people over there that would allow me to use their address for the license and insurance.

    I appreciate all tips and information you guys can give me, about which routes to take, states and cities that are MANDATORY to visit, ways to lower the expenses, should i start my trip in january / february or like june (i ask this because weather).

    Also if anyone can post estimated daily expenses and something about how much i will spend in the car would be nice.

    Thank you, and sorry if something is messy/confusing, i don't have the best english.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    First and foremost, you need to get your visa straightened out before you can do any real planning. Three months (90 days) Visa is the normal; 180 day visas under certain circumstances and the year-long ones are virtually unknown in this day-and-age unless there are a lot of extenuating circumstances (educational visa, for instance). One of our members here gets 180 day visas because she has children who live here. That's what I mean about "certain circumstances".

    A non-resident purchasing a car is also not easy...it's very difficult. You may have a friend in FL that can loan you his address for license, registration and insurance, but you are also leaving him vulnerable and possibly liable. However, Florida is one of the easier states for license and registration by a non-resident. But they are known for high priced insurance, too. And then if you are only allowed to be here for 3 months, you won't want to spend most of it trying to find a reliable vehicle to purchase and then the time to sell it later, leaving your friend holding the responsibility. It also isn't financially smart to buy a vehicle for only 3 months, not even for 6 months.

    If you look around this website and the forums enough, you'll find out that we don't really do "Must sees" or "Mandatory" sights to see. That's because my idea of a "must see" might be your idea of a "must pass". Once you get the visa issue straight, and you've shared with us about the things you enjoy, we would love to share ideas with you about things to see and do in the states. It's a beautiful country, there's so much to see, you can't see it all in a lifetime much less in one trip.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Honestly, I would recommend you plan for a 3 month trip using a rental car.

  4. Default

    About the visa, i already have it. 180 days, valid up to 2018

    About what to see, i love to travel and meet new places, i like everything that is different from my day to day, so it is like everything, i don'tdon't want to miss the pies in small towns, met as many cities i can. From National Parks to the world biggest rock chair and toillet :)


    About the car, you really think it is not financially smart to buy for 6 months and resell it cheap? Would be cheaper to rent? Because here in Brazil i would loose like 2.5 to 3k usd AT MOST in insurance plus resseling the car cheaper. And for rent a crap car for 6 months here would cost me something arround 5 to 6k usd.

    About the licensing and insurance, i don't think it would be a problem, i have many friends living or who lived over florida, all brazilians and everybody bought cars over there without any problem

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default A worst case scenareio.

    In the US, if you cause an accident, it is very likely that the address where the vehicle is registered, or the person to whom it is registered is the one who could be sued - possibly for many millions. It is not you. It is a burden you would want to be sure the friend understands. It is a very risky thing to do. When you buy a 'cheap' vehicle for a road trip, you are buying a vehicle which is near the end of its use, and each time it needs repairs (as it definitely will) you will be off the road till it is fixed. On top of that when you are ready to go home, you will be wanting to sell it before you leave. In the end you will sell it for very little, so that you can leave.

    On the other hand, if you rent a vehicle you will get a near new vehicle, if it has any problems, the rental company will take care of it. You will be given another car to continue on your trip. Rental cars, being new cars, are also more economical in fuel consumption, whereas an old vehicle you buy will likely use much more fuel.

    Do the sums. Even for six months, renting could come out on top. When checking rental prices, don't just stick to the standard rental companies, be sure to also check with consolidators, and places such as Adventures on Wheels.

    Does your fiance also have a 180 day visa?

    Lifey

  6. Default

    My fiance also have the visa, 180 days is the standard visa for brazilian tourists and it's valid for 10 years from issue date.

    About the car, i wasn't expecting to get something too cheap, i was planning to get something arround 10k and sell it for bit less after the trip, but this was my starting idea because i already did something similar before in brazil.

    About the address, i would register the car under my name, in a friends address, they already told that's ok, but since they are not americans, i am not sure if they know all the risks involved. I will check this very carefully, but as i can see so far i'm in the way to rent the car instead of buying.

    Is there any place i can go to find aproximated prices of food, hotels and etc in each state? That would help a lot to set my budget.
    Also, does the prices varies too much from cities/states?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Actually, if you are going to be here for 6 months, and you've got an address you can use, I think you are in the rare situation of being in a good position to buy a car. You'll be here long enough to make purchasing worthwhile (generally not true for most people who can only visit for 3 months) and because you'll have an actually visa (not just the Visa Waiver Program) you'll have one of the documents you need to get the car licensed and registered.

    Simply sharing an address shouldn't be enough to make your friend liable, as long as you have everything done in your name and your name alone. It may make sense to use a different insurance company, just to make sure there is no confusion or complications, but if you do it right, there should be no more issue than if you were roommates. Where people run into problems is if they use family members or if they are doing any of the paperwork in a friends name to get around the residency requirements - something that can be practically mandatory if you're a short term visitor..

    Food costs don't vary too much by state, but they can vary tremendously depending upon how you approach your trip (cooking yourself vs. restaurants, fast food vs. gourmet meals, etc). Hotels will vary by location - with major cities typically being significantly more expensive, if you want to be near downtown. They will also vary by time of year and demand, etc. You can get some ideas for hotel costs with RTA's hotel search by clicking the Lodging tab at the top of this page.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Not to my knowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    ... because you'll have an actually visa (not just the Visa Waiver Program) you'll have one of the documents you need to get the car licensed and registered.
    Not sure where you got that from Michael, but it certainly did not help me.... neither in the registering and especially not with insurance.

    For insurance most companies want a SS number, which I could not supply. Others had requirements such as a US driver's licence and even a limit as to how long the vehicle could spend outside the State of insurance. To my knowledge there is only one company which focuses on car insurance for the non-resident.

    That said, some time ago there was a member here who just went down the street and walked into the various insurance agencies. It was successful for him. Being there and stating your case and being able to answer any queries beats doing it over the web. That was in Florida. So good luck, but you have to register the vehicle before you can apply for insurance. Florida is the only State where you can give TWO addresses to register a motor vehicle. I am not sure if this includes a foreign address. If it does, then give your own address and that of your friend.

    Lifey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    For insurance most companies want a SS number, which I could not supply. Others had requirements such as a US driver's licence and even a limit as to how long the vehicle could spend outside the State of insurance.
    The Social Security Number could be an issue, especially for insurance. The advantage the Visa is that it makes it easier to get a US Drivers License. Several States will allow the use of a Visa as one of the required forms of Identification, and not every state requires a Social Security number to get a License. For example, in Florida, while a SSN is listed as a requirement to get a license, there are also ways to still get a license without one.

    Don't get me wrong, it's still a time consuming, and complicated process, with lots of potential pitfalls, but it looks like it would at least be a possibility.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Not all visas are the same.

    Yes, Michael, you are correct. But the visas they refer to are the type of visas issued for students, au pairs, journalists, etc. I doubt that the B1/B2 would be sufficient. I think I would have been told by now, after all the enquiries I made.

    Lifey

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