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  1. #1
    john g Guest

    Default big road trip

    hi - my friend and i having finished our degrees want to do a big (maybe up to 6 months) road trip right across the states, but we have a couple questions.

    first - we are definitely going to buy a big V8 soft-top to travel in. are we realistic in looking for a rusty but reliable one for under $800? also, how easy would it be to insure, we'll be 23 and 24. i have friends in the US - could they insure a vehicle for us?

    also, how long can we stay - what's the deal with visas - i heard that you can stay up to 3 months and then you need a visa. are these easy to get - what conditions do you need to satisfy to get a visa, and how long do they last for?

    lastly, is it legal to park in a carpark etc. and sleep in your car overnight? not every night of course...but is it legal?

    also, can anyone recommend any comprehensive on-line travel guides, and specifically, on-line road trip USA guides?

    thanks in advance
    john g

  2. #2
    Guest

    Default Depends

    No - you will not be able to buy a reliable V8 soft-top for $800.

    As far as insurance goes, if you're under 25, the insurance rates could be higher. Depends on where the car is registered and what insurance company you insure with.

    Visas- depends what country you're from. Check with the US Consulate in your country.

    Parking in a car park - it depends. There are places along the interstates - truck stops - and service areas - where they would not care too much if you slept in your vehicle. There are rest stops on desolate areas of the interstate highways where you might be able to do so legally but there are safety issues I'd be concerned about.


  3. #3
    imported_Angus Bangus Guest

    Default


    You are going to have to invest alot more than $800 into a travel vehicle. Check travel sites such as orbitz.com or travelocity.com for good deals on rental cars. You're going to want to find a good monthly rate on the car and UNLIMITED miles. You should also pick up the rental company's insurance on the car. This will run you an additional $10 per DAY, but it is well worth it if you aren't otherwise insured.

    This will be the cheapest way for you to get a reliable vehicle, and get it insured. A friend will not be able to 'get insurance for you' because a car really has to be insured under YOUR name if you intend to be covered for most accidents.

    My advice in general is not to take the accessibility and security of being in the United States for granted. When roadtripping here, you have to keep your personal safety in the forefront of your priorities. Even on the amenity laden interstate highways, things can get pretty desolate in rural or mountainous areas. You don't want to take any chances with a cheap, beat-up car.

    You should consider these extra costs before you embark on a trip like you described. A much larger investment of money and PLANNING are necessary.


    ab



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Other considerations

    John,

    The postings from the other roadtrippers are well-stated -- here are a couple more:

    There is an excellent guide to road tripping written by an Englishman that answers many of the questions you raised in your query. For more information about "Drive USA" and other resources geared to non-native-Americans check out: http://www.roadtripamerica.com/links/international.htm

    $800 is insufficient purchasing a vehicle, but there are leasing options (also discussed on the previous link) that might work. What probably won't work to your advantage is using one of the national car rental companies. As much as I would prefer to have you rent a car from us (www.roadtripamerica.com/travel.htm) all rental cars are "rented" on an in-state or regional basis. If you rent a car on an extended basis and don't make arrangements for authorized travel outside of the renting location's region you could be in for a rude shock when you drop off the vehicle and pay for it. Nearly all rental cars these days are equipped with telematics chipsets that keep track of where the car went, how fast it drove and other salient facts. Driving to un-authorized destinations will cost when you return the vehicle.

    Sleeping in carparks -- at most public rest stops the maximum time is 4 hours for automobiles. At some stops it is illegal to sleep for any stretch of time -- ThruWay in New York comes to mind. Private property parking lots are generally not a good idea either unless you seek and obtain permission from the night security folks. On the other hand, parking in truck stops in the appropriate places for private vehicles is OK.

    On-line travel guides -- Very hard (& very expensive) to create good ones. We are working on some now. There are 4-5 companies also developing such tools that should debut sometime in 2003. I know of four now available, but they are clunky and irritating to use. So get a paper map, stick in pins and do your own routing!

    Mark

  5. #5
    john g Guest

    Default

    thanks for the replies. the latest thinking is to buy a station-wagon / pick-up with hard top / van with a mattress in the back and park it in proper campsites overnight, and yeah, i realise now that $800 is pretty unrealistic! plus, we'll need 4x4 for the mountains and an ok engine to pass emissions in california.

    we are going to fly into seattle, drive down the rockies doing a little (or a lot, depends if i can pick it up easily!) snowboarding down the rockies, into san francisco, across the bottom (possibly into mexico) to florida, and up to new york, and fly out of there. my friend reckons we'll need 6 months, i reckon 4 - i know there are so many variations, but does 6 months seem too long or 4 too short?

    many thanks
    john

    PS i picked up the drive usa book, thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default A couple more ideas

    John,

    I think the van is the best idea. A 4x4 is not necessary unless you are really planning on going off-pavement in remote areas. Plus the cost of a 4x4 will add at least $1000 to your vehicle. Also unless you are planning for some odd reason to register the car in California --- emission standards will not be a concern for the short time you are on the road.

    As far as time goes -- I've driven about 180,000 miles around the USA and only see about 20% of what there is to see. If you have six months you will never get bored. If you only have six weeks -- same thing. Time expands to fill the space of any road trip. To really explore the USA you would need to dedicate a year or two for each state. So I think either 4 or 6 months will be equally sufficient.

    I am curious -- did you buy the "Drive USA" book through the RTA site? The purchase has not been recorded on our records and so just wondering... Thanks.

    Mark


  7. #7
    john g Guest

    Default

    mark, thanks for your help. i must have misunderstood the emissions regulations with regards to california, i thought that you couldn't even enter with a smoky vehicle.

    6 months it is then - i am pretty sure we won't get bored over 6 months (well, maybe of each other!).

    as for the drive usa book, i saw the recommendation from your site, but bought it from a uk store, an affiliate of amazon.

    thanks again
    john

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default California would like that!

    John,

    I am sure California would like that interpretation -- except they would never turn down tourists.

    Six months of traveling with the same group of friends could lead to death and destruction or even better friendship.

    Thanks for letting me know about the Amazon purchase. For the future and any friend referrals -- RTA IS an UK Amazon affiliate -- I should have sent you the UK link. Oh well. Have a wonderful adventure!

    Mark

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