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  1. Default Christmas / New Year road trip

    I am looking for some advice on planning a road trip from Portland to San Francisco. Four of us are flying into SF from London on the 20th of December and aim to explore, flying out to Portland on Christmas day. WE then have till our flight out of SF on the 2nd of January to plan where we go and what we do. Having looked at this fab website there are lots of options and the coast road appeals. My question is whether or not this is a feasible option for 5 days (27th to the 31st, we'd like to celebrate NY somewhere, again not too sure where!) and if there is enough to see or if we would be better off going the inland route. Our fear is weather conditions and if we hit snow inland!

    Any advice appreciated and if anyone has advice about hiring a car in terms of cost effectiveness also appreciated.

    many thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Car rental fees.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    When renting a car you need to be aware of the costs on top of the base rate. If you are not related, there is likely to be a fee for every person wishing to drive. Even if they only drive for two hours, this fee will apply for each and every day of the rent. If any of you are under 25, there will be another substantial daily fee. Then of course there are the taxes and insurance, which you need to pay no matter what. However, it is nearly always cheaper to rent from an outlet away from the airport. But the best thing is to shop around, and contact as many rental agencies you can.

    Choosing to pick up a car in Portland and drop it in SF will also incur a fee, which could be hundreds of dollars. It is always more economical to do a loop trip.

    To overcome or minimize some of the above fees, you might look at booking the car before you leave home and go through one of the consolidators. I know that quite a few members of this forum have had good deals through the various consolidators.


  3. #3


    Hi, and yes, welcome to the GRTA Forum.

    I have rented twice from Thrifty in Portland and the price was reasonable, but then, I did loop trips so there was no drop-off fee. Last year I had a Prius for a week for $265.

    One thing you must do while in Portland is take the scenic Columbia River Gorge Highway, and while you're at it, if weather cooperates, go up to the Sherrard Point Lookout. The guides at Vista House can give you directions.

    As for the routes to SFO, the coastal highway would be your best route. The ski area at Bend would be open, but Crater Lake will be closed for the winter as will most inland sightseeing places. Go up to Astoria and visit the column there and the Lewis and Clark site, then head south. You should be able to get to SFO in five days and still see a lot along the way. Your only foe will be the weather, but just keep informed. If all else fails, you can always cut over to I-5 and take it partway.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    You could drive from SF to Portland in a day and a half so why not consider driving there and back and get rid of the one way rental fees and flight costs, and you'll see more on the ground ! Travelling in winter means there is a risk of travel disruption but the Interstates are a priority to keep clear and open at the worst of times, if the weather is good you can wander a bit more.

    I agree that booking your rental from the UK is the most likely way of getting a good deal. You just need to price compare and make sure you get the price with everything included. are quite competitive. If your dates are still flexible why not spend a couple of nights in SF at the beginning of your trip, hit the road and then 2 or 3 at the end of it, seeing the new year in in the City.

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