Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1

    Default Buying a car for UK Citizens

    Hi everyone,

    In March me and a friend are starting a trip lasting three months stretching from Austin, TX up to New York, NY and we have decided that buying a cheap car and driving ourselves would make our trip all the better.

    Only thing is we are 19 years old and British Citizens so it may have more than a couple of obstacles... however we are pretty much fully unprepared to take no for an answer at this point and will do almost anything for this opportunity.

    I am just looking for some simple advice and if anyone knows it, the bare minimum requirements for driving a car at least semi legally in the United States.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default It's difficult being patient when you are young.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    There's no soft way to say this, but your plan is not possible. Sure you can purchase a vehicle, but it will be almost impossible to register it and insure the vehicle. Neither of which would be cheap, and could possibly cost as much as a 'cheap' car. Then there is the concern of purchasing a 'cheap' car. You are basically buying another's cast off, with all the problems as to why it was sold. So you would likely spend as much - if not more - on repairs. Add to this the extra cost and frustration of being stuck in some place because they haven't got the part, and your holiday is gone down the gurgler.

    All that for three months is simply not worth it. If you were coming over for much longer, or more frequently, it may be something worth considering. I know at 19 you have great difficulties in renting a vehicle, with very few companies prepared to make a vehicle available to 19 year olds. Those that do have strict geographical limitations, meaning you can only drive it where they tell you to, and definitely not half way across the country.

    [I should mention that I have succeeded to purchase a vehicle and have it registered and insured. That was after more than a decade of research to find a way around the law in the US. There are firms of attorneys who facilitate it for non citizens, but neither the vehicle nor the process were cheap or quick - taking many months to organise. But then I travel to the US almost every year, and stay for six months to visit my children and grandchildren. Having the vehicle there for each trip has been a great convenience, but each trip has cost me a couple of thousand in repairs and maintenance.]

    But I have another thought for you, which you might not like, but I'd like you to take it on board. At 19 there are many decades yet in front of you. Why not live frugally, save your money and build up a nice nest egg so that when you are of the age to be able to rent a vehicle, you will be able to enjoy a roadtrip like no other.

    Remember not everything needs to be achieved before you are 25 - leave a little for future adventures. The first time I hit the road I had been on this planet for more than six decades, and I am currently planning my eighth roadtrip in the US. And there have been a couple of roadtrips at home during those years.

    (BTW. I would not entertain doing anything 'semi-legally' or worse, as it could jeopardise any future plans to visit the US.)

    Lifey

    P.S. I have met several tourists on the road who brought their own vehicle across. If one of you has a vehicle, that would be a much more reliable and probably a much cheaper way to go, but it does take forward planning and organising.
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 01-07-2016 at 04:43 AM. Reason: add another thought.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,987

    Default

    I have to ask, how much money are you going to have available for your proposed trip?

    Driving a car in the US legally is as a non-resident not difficult - your UK license is valid to operate a car. Even "buying" a car isn't hard, as you can get someone to give you the title. As Lifey explained quite well based on her own experience, It's the getting that car registered and then getting insurance, which are both required for it to be on the road legally, that are extremely difficult if you are not a resident of the US.

    Perhaps just as importantly, even if you can find a way to do it, it is not by any means cheap.

    First, you've got the problem of buying a "cheap" car that would actually be in good enough condition to keep you on the road for a few months (Trying to "save" money by buying a $1000 car will likely cost you several thousand dollars in repairs, towing, and lost time). Then finding insurance for a non-resident is close to impossible, but even if you were a resident, insurance costs for 19 year old drivers are extremely high. A basic liability insurance policy will likely cost you over $1000 because of your ages. And since you're non-residents who have to leave a specific date, you're going to have to sell the car wholesale just to get rid of it, which means you will only get back a fraction of what you paid to buy the car in the first place.

    I understand it can be frustrating, but trying to do a roadtrip in the US as a non-resident under the age of 21 is just extremely challenging (mostly because renting a car is often not an option). When you factor in the costs of obtaining a car, along with the costs of being on the road for 3 months, I can't imagine this trip costing you any less than $10,000 - and much more likely the costs will be closer to $15k.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default And a bit more....

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    When you factor in the costs of obtaining a car, along with the costs of being on the road for 3 months, I can't imagine this trip costing you any less than $10,000 .....
    Forget about the trip....,everything associated with obtaining a car and having it on the road legally as a non resident, especially at your age, could very well take most of that. Insurance for non residents is only provided by one company that I know of, and only for 12 months. It would be well into the four figures. (With my good driving record it is almost that much, and that does not include comprehensive insurance.)

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    142

    Default

    Hope you dont me butting in for my own info but if you own a house in the USA, can that work. it would be a permanent address. Wondering if that would allow someone to own there own car.

    Keith

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default Maybe, maybe not.

    Why Keith, you planning on purchasing one?

    It would give you an address, so long as you could also get hold of the utility bills in your name, you'd have all you need. But if you don't live there, you may not have access to all of that. On the other hand I could see it making things a lot easier. Probably no need to get attorneys involved.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,987

    Default a boatload of cash can solve a lot of problems

    Owning a house would probably make it easier to buy a car, but that makes the assumption that it would be easier to purchase a home. I can't imagine that there would be many banks eager to offer a mortgage to a non-resident without a visa (and it probably wouldn't be legal anyway.)

    If you have enough money to pay cash for a home, and maintain it, despite only being able to visit for 3 months at a time (and assume that purchase doesn't impact the status as under the visa waiver program), then you probably could find a way to then purchase a car.

    But if you've got that kind of money, you're also probably not that worried about the cost of a rental car.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default They were widely advertised.

    I can't imagine that there would be many banks eager to offer a mortgage to a non-resident without a visa (and it probably wouldn't be legal anyway.)
    Michael, some years ago,there were firms advertising all over the place to invest your money in real estate in the US. That it was a better investment than buying locally, or shares. They would do all the paper work and permits, etc. Of course, these were assumed to be bought cash or a local mortgage/line of credit. Designed to be rented, they would arrange for the tenants as well. It emphasised the high rate of return, nut never mentioned what would happen if the tenants did not pay the rent, or trashed the residence - or simply just left.

    Not that I was going to buy one, but I did some research, and almost without exception they were in very run down and undesirable parts of cities. Of course they would always have people on their ads sprouting about how much money they were making for how little investment.

    But I agree with you, if you had money to throw around like that, you would not be travelling on a budget.

    Lifey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    142

    Default

    There has been sales conventions in Brisbane here over the last few months trying to get people to buy house's in USA. I didnt go but had been thinking about it for a while. I have some relations from a couple of centuries ago living in California and they wanted us to buy and checked a couple out just so the could show me and try and convince us hahaha. It was a forclosure, good area and less money than a new Ford Falcon. But, my grandson is 4 and he would miss me. :) Just have to make more trips.

    Keith

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    302

    Default

    Lyrics to the song "Thousand Dollar Car"

    http://www.songlyrics.com/the-bottle...ar-car-lyrics/

Similar Threads

  1. Buying a budget car for a road trip
    By jp887 in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-13-2015, 11:12 PM
  2. Buying a budget car for a road trip
    By jp887 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-13-2015, 08:57 PM
  3. Buying a car for a 6-mths period
    By Pavlester in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 09-15-2009, 02:29 AM
  4. Buying a car for a road trip
    By racheluk in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-21-2006, 10:58 AM
  5. Car insurance for two Danes buying a car
    By Jostig in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-27-2005, 10:41 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