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  1. Default Danish guys roadtrippin'!


    We're two Danish guys (20 and 21 years old), and we are trying to plan a roadtrip in the great U.S.! Hopefully, by September we will have scraped enough money together to make it. We can propably get around 3500 each (where part of it will have to be spent on a car, gas and insurance). We are planning on driving around the conutry for three months. There are a few things we would like to ask you experienced people:

    - We are planning on buying a used car, $1000-2000 max. So here's the question: Is it even possible to get a decent car at that price, and then sell it, possibly with a few 100 dollar's loss? And what about insurance? Is it possible to insure a car for three months or how does it work? And the price?

    - Sleeping: We realize that staying in a motel or hotel every night is going to be way too expensive, so what are the alternatives? We are not afraid of sleeping in a tent or in the car something like that...

    We just wanna have a great time, see the USA like we have been wanting to for years, drive around without a real porpuse other than seeing citys like L.A. and N.Y. and such...

    Is this possible or do we have to keep dreaming? (or postpone :-)


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

    Default Budget Problems

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I think you would have a very very tough time finding a car for a roadtrip of this size for just $2,000. In this price range, you'd almost certainly be looking at a car that's more than 15 years old with very high miles. That's not the car I'd want to trust to take me across country, especially when you aren't really going to know the history of the car.

    Getting insurance can also be difficult if you don't have some sort of US address, as buying the license and registration and paying the taxes on the car.

    If you figure out how to pay for a car, camping can be a great way to save money. A tent and other basic camping gear could cost you as little as $100, and would quickly pay for itself, as camp ground fees usually rund about $20, while even cheap hotels can be $50 or more.

  3. Default

    So what do you think we should do? renting a car for three months is just so expensive... how about if we bought a better, more expensive car and then of course take a risk by having to sell it at about the same price?

    You do have to insure your car for it to be legal to drive, right?

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

    Default tough one

    There is never a great answer in these situations. Renting can be very expensive when you are under 25, so buying might be the only practical option.

    Personally, I would be very suspicious of any car that cost less than about $4,000. Even there, you will likely be looking at a car that is approaching 10 years old, but you should be able to find one that is suitable for a cross country trip. And no matter what car you get, you should have extra funds available in case you suffer a breakdown while on the road.

    However, If you do go this route, you have to expect to lose a fairly substaintial amount of money selling it at the end of your trip. There's no free lunch by purchasing a car. In addition to the loss of value from the extra miles you will have put on the car, you will have to sell a car by the time you fly back, so you will be at the mercy of whoever might be interested in buying your car, so you won't be able to hold out for the best possible price.

    And yes, Insurance is required to legally drive. It is not something you should think of as optional.

    Sorry that I don't have a better answer for you. The sad reality is that traveling across the US, especially when you are below the age of 25, can be quite expensive.

  5. Default

    I totally see your point, but as you said, buying is the only real option. I just gotta say, I have a hard time believing that we wont be able to find a decent car at that price. Of course, we will loose money on it when it is time to sell it again, but it's a lot cheaper than renting a car. What we If we spend a few days, or a week, going through different dealerships, say in L.A. if that's where we want to start our trip, is there no chance we will find a car?

    Of course the hardest thing is the insurance....... Do you know if there is ANY way around it, and how much it might cost?

    Also, what about tax and what-not on the car, do you know of a website I can read about it, my mind is a total blank when it comes to these things... Like what would the real end price be on a car.

    Sorry for asking all these questions :-)

    Thanks for helping, and a great site

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Looking online

    I'm sure you can find a car for under $2000, but I'm also as certain that any car in the price range would not be a car I would want to take on a cross country trip.

    What I would recommend is looking online at places at autotrader or just so you have an idea of what cars will cost in the US.

    As for insurance, you can't get around it. Its hard to say exactly what it will cost, especially since it will depend in part on what car you get. I would try contacting an Insurance Agent, or at least look at one of the online sites like Progressive or Esurance just to get a ballpark of what you'll have to pay.

    If you buy a car in California, you'll be looking at a 7% sales tax. I had a car worth around $5 when I lived there, and my registration cost was about $100, but you'll also have to get your car smog inspected, which costs another $50 or so. I'd be checking with the California DMV's website for more info.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default More insurance info

    Actually, the year/make/model of car shouldn't be a factor in the cost of insurance. If you're buying an inexpensive car, there is no need to get collission or comprehensive insurance on it. Well, I guess you could. But I think it's a waste of money once the car gets down to about $3000 or less in value.

    Also, the cost of your insurance will depend on your deductible. We have a high deductible and have definitely saved enough over the years to pay that higher deductible out of pocket if we need to make an insurance claim.

    The only thing that you're legally required to have is liability insurance so that if you do get in a wreck, the people you hit and their car/property is protected. You are not required to protect yourself.

    I don't know how medical insurance works for Europeans traveling in the US. You might want to check out medical insurance to cover you in the event of an accident as part of your car insurance, and then look into other traveler's insurance options. And get what is the best price/best coverage.

    Also, be aware that males under age 25 have the highest insurance costs in America. Maybe it's the same in Denmark? So it won't come cheap. And I believe the minimum period you can purchase it for is 6 months. I could be wrong but that's the rule in my state. It can very from state to state. But you do need to buy in whatever state your purchased/registered it in.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default To Disagree

    I have to disagree with Judy.

    Even for liability coverage, the kind of car you get will be a factor in how your rate is calculated. I've got 3 cars on my policy, and the cost of the liability insurance is different for each one of them. The difference is smaller than the Comp/Collision differences, but it still varies somewhat.

    You can go without Comprehensive and Collision, and usually I would agree that the cut off for it being worthwhile is somewhere around $3000, however when you are looking short term, it is something at least worth considering. Since you would be planning to sell the car when you are done with it, you would essentially be risking losing all of that money if you were in a crash without that coverage.

    Liability insurance is essential, Comprehensive and Collision coverage is not. However, you would be taking a gamble without it, so I would at least think about the costs vs. the risk when you make your insurance purchase.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Maybe it's different in different states.

    I won't argue this because I'm not an expert. However, my son is age 21 and has only had older cars and has only carried liability insurance. He's on our policy designated as the driver for these specific cars. He's gone from a 68 Chevy Bel-Air to a 1993 Nissan Maxima to a 1989 VW Jetta. His liability insurance hasn't changed a cent from car to car. I figure it must be different in different states?
    Last edited by PNW Judy; 06-04-2007 at 10:25 PM.

  10. Default

    In Denmark, young males also pay the highest insurance rates, I think it's like that pretty much everywhere. I pay $1800 a year on a '91 VW Golf (I'm 21), that's with comprehensive insurance. And that's about half of what males my age usually pay, because I have other insurances in that company and so on. So I know that the rate is going to be high. I also know, that usually it's not worth it getting comprehensive insurance on a car that cheap.
    If you for example are required to buy a year's insurance, won't you get a refund for the remaining 9 months, if you denounce it after 3 months?

    I intend on getting a traveller's insurance, where everything is covered if I should get hurt.

    The only thing I don't know, is whether it's even possible to buy an insurance if you don't have your home adress in the U.S.?

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