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  1. Default Ultimate Summer Trip

    I am from England and for the Summer of 2008 a friend and I are planning to hit the States. We want to land in one of the corners (CA probably best for this) and hit every single mainland state, all 48 of them. We havn't yet decided if we are going to see just each state and then visit cool cities, or see cool cities + every capital, this could add a bit of extra fun to the challenge I think. We are pretty sure that we are going to buy a VW Camper Van or similiar vehicle and try to sell it at the other end. We are expecting to take our time and do exactly what we want to. Preliminary research sets the trip distance to around 15,000 miles which would take about 10 days if you drove non-stop so we are thinking about taking 100 days or more and just see how we do. We are also both musicians and are going to busk in many towns on the way. We will both be 19 at the time with full UK drivers licences.
    I basically wanted to know A) im guessing the costs between the two of us to be around the $10,000 ($5,000 for the vehicle, $2,000 fuel, $3000 living expenses....we plan to spend a lot of nights in the van) plus we hope ot make back some of that on the sale at the end but I wanted to know how realistic this is. B) Are there any busking licence laws in the states that I would need to clear before heading out there? C) What regulations does a foreign 19 year old need to go through before buying a car in the states and how much might it cost to insure both of us on the vehicle for 3-4 months?
    If anybody could help with these questions that would be most appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Underestimation

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you could be underestimating your costs a bit. $5k for a camper van might be possible, but you'll also need a budget for maintenance and potential repairs. Pretty much anything you'll find in this price range will be old enough where you should expect at least one minor mechanical meltdown. (that doesn't mean you will have one, but you should plan for it to be safe.) You also need to plan to spend some money on taxes, registration, and insurance.

    The problem with buying a car as a foreign resident is that you need to establish some sort of home base for purposes of registration and insurance. Also since you are young and will have no US driving record, you're going to pay premium rates for insurance. There are too many variables to give any sort of exact quote (you'll have to find an insurance agent for that) but it wouldn't surprise me to see numbers of around $200 per month.

    As far as your other costs go, a van is probably only going to get 15-20 mpg. If gas prices remain around $3 in 08 and if you go 15k miles, that's a fuel bill of $3,000. Your Living expenses seem woefully low too. $3000 for a 100 day trip works out to only $30 per day for 2 people. Quite frankly, you have to be pretty frugal just to eat on $15 per day per person. Throwing in even a couple of motel rooms, some truck stop showers, or some cover charges to see some live American Music, and you'll quickly run out of cash.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the welcome.

    Thank you very much for your reply. With reference to the possibility of breaking down, both my friend and I have undertaken mechanics courses and are going to do a further course together before we head out so that minor problems...won't be problems.

    I also have plenty of American family members who would be willing to set up as my place of residence although I still do not really know about how I would set it up, although I assume that one could set up with an English company for insurance and the like...

    As well as this we have obviously decided to expand our living budget a bit to around the $5,000 mark.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default and the like...

    Mechanic's classes are a great idea, and they will save you some money if you do have a breakdown. Just keep in mind, you still will have to pay for parts and there are some cases where you might not have the tools and equipment needed to make the proper repairs.

    As far as getting a car set up after you purchase it, I would suggest contacting the DMV in the state you will call "home." If you have people all over the country, I would recommend using someone who lives close to where you plan on buying the car.

    As far as insurance goes, I don't know if you'll be able to use anyone from England. Since proof of insurance is required to register a car in many states, you many have to use a company that does business in that state. By all means, talk with your insurance company over there and see if they can help, and if they can, be sure to let use know what they tell you.

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