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Thread: Rent or Buy

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Rotorua, New Zealand

    Default Rent or Buy

    I am travelling from Boulder, Colorado to Los Angeles in August 2007.

    I have been tossing up whether to rent a convertible, approx cost for 2 weeks $1000 US, ($300 one way extra cost)
    or should I buy an old car, then ship it back to New Zealand with me? That way I always have a souvenir of my road trip.

    At this stage I am thinking of spending more time,(another 2 weeks driving around) so my rental cost will double I guess.

    Is it relatively hassle free to buy and insure a vehicle if you are non resident?

    Have fun this New Year.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default No Go

    Sorry, but we drive on different sides of the road, which means our 'driver's side' is the left side of the car, whereas yours is the right. Our cars are simply not compatible with your roads. Rent.


  3. #3


    There is no problem with where the drivers side is. We drove on left side in Sweden until 1967, and when I was a kid there were a lot of cars with drivers seat on the "wrong" side.

    But, to ship a car from US to NZ will cost 1500-2000$, and therefor it is a much better idea to rent. Old 1000-2000$-cars will also be a little bit risky and unpolited since their best days was several years ago. Instead of trying to fix the non-working A/C by yourself, it´s better to just call the rental company.

    Bernt Bergkvist
    Stockholm, Sweden

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default And there are other obstacles to buying

    First, it's difficult to find a good, dependable, yet cheap car. You will spend hundreds more dollars doing a good tune-up, probably buying new tires since most old cars have dreadful tires on them, etc. Plan for a good 2-3 days to search for the car and get it ready for a roadtrip. I wouldn't want to waste that time myself. I'd rather be playing.

    Second, you will need to license the car and this requires a US address to send the permanent license to.

    Third, insurance is required. However, you can't purchase insurance without a US address. Insurance is also based on things like your credit history and, since you're not a US citizen, you won't have a US credit report.

    Some folks choose to do this and get around the second and third problems by using the address of a friend or relative who live in the US, but it's still a hassle.

    For the timeframe you're talking about, definitely rent. These hassles might only be worth it for folks who might be traveling in the US for several months or more.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Rotorua, New Zealand

    Default Thanks for the info

    Thanks everyone for your info.

    I didn't know about having to have a US address to licence the car. I forgot about that. Insurance is a hassle, regardless of what country you live in!

    Looks like I will rent a car, then maybe buy a vehicle in LA, then ship it back to New Zealand. That way I don't have to drive it on the roads.

    In NZ, if the car you are importing is over 20 years old, you do not have to convert it from left hand drive to right hand drive. (ie save lots of $$$) My friend bought back an old 71 Porsche, (he bought it 2 days before flying back to NZ) and this prompted me to ask the question regarding should I rent or buy.

    Have fun driving.

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